Classical & Opera

Tchaik 5 & Brothers in Arts

When: Fri., Nov. 7, 8 p.m. 2014

Little is known about the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s personal inspiration for Symphony No. 5. One notebook entry dated shortly before he began writing it in 1888 describes the first section in a flurry of grandiose words typical of the romantic era. Apparently, he meant for the music to stare down fate, perhaps capitulate to faith, and express something about Providence. The symphony, full of sweeping gestures, ornamentation, and a beautiful recurring theme in each section, reflects such philosophical preoccupations, if you’d like it to. Today, musicians more often cite life’s minutiae as inspiration, which is fantastic. Yet Tchaikovsky’s fifth symphony attests to the emotional resonance of nineteenth century music’s universal questions, even when they lack answers. The Oakland East Bay Symphony, under the direction of Michael Morgan, presents Tchaikovsky’s fifth on the season’s opening night at the Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland).

Sam Lefebvre

Price: $20 and up

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