The Spectrum – Tchaikovsky’s Sixth evokes emotion with each movement

by JJ Abernathy

I cannot identify the movement, phrase, or notes that struck me most while listening to the Utah Symphony’s presentation of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth at Abravanel Hall last month. As the music plays and replays in my mind, I ask myself — what was the moment of impact and why did this specific symphony hold such sway?

The concert, conducted by Thierry Fischer, honored three prominent composers of the Romantic period of classical music — Richard Wagner (1813-1883), Hector Berlioz (1803-1869), and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893). These writers’ works prove dramatic and awe-inspiring, if not somewhat formidable and remarkable in interpretation, each work passionate and stirring, beginning with Wagner’s majestic Overture to Tannhauser, plus three Berlioz selections for chorus and orchestra. Chorus director Barlow Bradford led the Utah Symphony Chorus and University of Utah Chamber Choir.

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