Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 Op. 36 – The Story Behind The Music

coldstock @ deviantart.com
coldstock @ deviantart.com | Source
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky | Source
 Patroness, Nadezhda von Meck.
Patroness, Nadezhda von Meck. | Source

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 is dedicated to Nadezhda von Meck

Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36, written between 1877 and 1878 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky contains an engrossing story told in four movements. Tchaikovsky dedicated this symphony to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck.

It is important to know that in Russian society the artist and the patron/patroness of the artist were considered to be equals. Therefor proving gratefulness was not Tchaikovsky’s intention when he dedicated this symphony to Nadezhda von Meck; the dedication was simply the confirmation of their artistic partnership. On the title page of the score of Tchaikovsky Symphony No 4 Op 36 is the inscription: "Dedicated to my best friend".

Tchaikovsky‘s words in a letter to Nadezhda von Meck: “… you will find this to be an echo of your most intimate thoughts and emotions.”

Source

Tchaikovsky's crises and trauma

We must keep in mind that music composed at that time by all composers was dramatic, emotional and autobiographical. Despite Tchaikovsky's successes he had to cope with many personal crises and trauma. Depression, unsuccessful marriages, homosexuality and the death of his mother were some of the feeders of his melancholy.

Source

Tchaikovsky provided a detailed programme of the Symphony No 4 Op 36 to his patroness, summarized as followed:

  1. The First Movement starts with a fanfare that states FATE as the fundamental idea of the entire symphony. Tchaikovsky saw ‘fate’ as the power that prevents people from attaining true happiness. According to him people should merely submit to this power and “lament in vain.” The first movement represents the alteration of hard reality and dreams of happiness. In Tchaikovsky’s own words, “No haven exists…. (people just) drift upon that sea (of hard reality and dreams of happiness) until it engulfs and submerges them in its depths.”
  2. The Second Movement expresses melancholy – that sad feeling which sometimes overpowers us at sunset, when we long for people and things we don’t even know. Our mind normally provides sad memories and regrets and we mourn what could/should have been.
  3. The Third Movement expresses the feeling of tranquility, when nothing matters anymore. We are neither sad nor cheerful. Our mind just wandered; our imagination provides scenes stored in our subconscious minds.
  4. The Fourth Movement represents joy. In Tchaikovsky’s own words, “… if within yourself you find no reasons for joy, then look at others.” But before we can experience pure joy, Fate reminds us of reality. (Here we must again remember that Tchaikovsky’s reality was miserable.) But then, in spite of miserable reality, we look at others who are enjoying life and we realize that it is actually not that difficult to be happy. In Tchaikovsky’s own words, “…Joy is simple, but powerful. Rejoice in the rejoicing of others. To live is still possible.”
  5. The Finale of the symphony employs the Russian folk-song ‘Во поле береза стояла’. (In the Field a Birch Tree Stood.)

Reviews

Unfortunately the symphony was initially harshly criticized. The composer, pianist, music teacher and theorist, Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev, considered it to be: “...excellent in parts but less impressive overall.” He also considered the first movement overlong. In 1890 the New York Post considered it to be “…. the most thoroughly Russian (semi-barbaric) composition ever heard.” And in German a reviewer wrote, “…. The composer’s twaddle disturbed my mood…”

NB: Today the symphony is regarded as one of Tchaikovsky's bests.

Source

Tchaikovsky's own opinion:


Tchaikovsky stressed in letters to his patroness:

  • "…. I can say with confidence that this is my best composition. I am very pleased with this symphony—it’s undoubtedly the best that I’ve written, but it's not come without hard work, particularly the first movement"
  • “None of my previous orchestral works ever cost me such labor, yet I have never felt such a love for one of my own pieces.”
  • “Perhaps I am mistaken, but I think that this symphony is something out of the ordinary, and that it is the best thing I have done so far.”
  • “Now I can wholly devote myself to work in the knowledge that I am bringing forth something which, in my opinion, shall not be forgotten..."
  • “…. it seems to me that these (first) three movements represent the crowning glory of all my musical achievements"
  • Ten years later Tchaikovsky wrote, "… it turns out that not only have I not cooled towards it, as I have cooled towards the greater part of my compositions, but on the contrary, I am filled with warm and sympathetic feelings towards it. I don’t know what the future may bring, but presently it seems to me that this is my best symphonic work".


kallini2010 @ HubPages
kallini2010 @ HubPages | Source
Vincent Moore @ HubPages
Vincent Moore @ HubPages | Source

DEDICATION

I dedicate this hub to -

  • My dear Russian friend kallini2010 aka Svetlana Ivanova and
  • My dear brother (in Cyberspace) Vincent Moore aka Ken M Snowdon

An interesting comment by kallini2010:

"...the word FATE and the word life (as in life story) is the same in Russian. There is no distinction between what should or could have been and what was and the word is "Soud'ba". It does not make us more fatalistic than the others yet maybe it only shows the awareness of the fact that life follows only one path - the path of reality."



© Martie Coetser

Copyright :: All Rights Reserved
Registered :: 2013-01-03 05:00

Title :: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 Op. 36 – The Story Behind The Music

Category :: Article Hub
Fingerprint :: 9e7f5796cbe868be09f66dc088f08e51b681a5892d2ae38b07679fdcd2f37b6f
MCN :: CY385-J1GSP-0D553

One of my favorite Tchaikovsky's

More by this Author


Comments 53 comments

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

It has been a long time since I was a patron of the classics. Thank you for this.


kallini2010 profile image

kallini2010 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

Thank you, my dear Martie, for the dedication. As you know I am not the best judge of the classical music and

FATE has it

that I can only listen to the symphony itself after Jan. 8th (the internet access limitation problem), but

according to the description, I made a conclusion that Tchaikovsky loved his work so much because he managed to express his own true self more than in his other, maybe more beautiful work.

Genuine is not always equivalent to beautiful and for others to accept it, the music should have resonated with their own feelings. If they did not perceive their life as miserable and did not go through the inner torment all the time, maybe it only sounded UNTRUE. Unnecessary harsh...

One thing, you probably don't know - I only recently paid attention to a very simple yet a curious "hiccup" of the Russian language -

the word FATE and the word life (as in life story) is the same in Russian. There is no distinction between what should or could have been and what was and the word is "Soud'ba". It does not make us more fatalistic than the others yet maybe it only shows the awareness of the fact that life follows only one path - the path of reality.

Thank you again for an interesting hub and the dedication - it was mostly unexpected and very flattering!

What can I say?

The hand of FATE!


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

One of the reasons I joined HubPages was to challenge myself to struggle through any impasse--whether due to feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, or intimidation--in order to learn and grow and partake of life. I'm exercising "new muscles" as I indulge in this masterful hub that you've written. I have my headphones on as I listen to Tchaikovsky's self-proclaimed favorite work, and I can actually (I think) discern the four distinct movements, thanks to your synopsis of each in the article. I'm also wondering if Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von Meck were more than just friends. She reminds me of Cher...


LastRoseofSummer2 profile image

LastRoseofSummer2 3 years ago from Arizona

Very nice! I love Tchaikovsky. Thanks for this hub.


Vincent Moore 3 years ago

The summary of Tchaikovsky’s detailed program through to the Finale for this majestic work leads me to believe even further that his life was in such constant turmoil. “By seeing ‘fate’ as the power that prevents people from attaining true happiness” I often struggled with attaining true happiness myself. I was constantly afraid to give all of myself, I couldn’t let go somehow to something that held me back and tightly in it’s grip. Happiness seemed to always keep it’s distance from me.

It brought on the melancholy in my soul, lashing out at life and people, afraid to give all of ME to anyone. Thus all the sad memories and much regret in my life. I wandered as he did trying to find meaning to ones life, it was a very difficult task in my young life and even into adulthood, which I struggle with still today.

Finding pure joy would never come to me as my FATE I always believed was cast from the beginning To help me with my Joy I had to as well look into others and find theirs as mine was often cast in sorrow. My dear friend Martie I thank you for including me in this dedication, I sense you see me in some ways through his music, I have always been an admirer of this great composer and often cried listening to it as I mentioned watching the Music Lovers….

Pyotr was in many cases a misunderstood artist as were many throughout history. We are a truly complicated lot, I know I am so. I find most of his compositions stirringly sad and they leave me spent yet fulfilled. Thank you my sweet genius for sharing his work with us. It’s truly one of his finest symphonies and one of your very stirring hubs. Peace and blessings I send to you this eve. Hugs


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 3 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

I did not think my esteem could rise higher for your accomplishments, yet here I stand in awe. Maestro. I envy some people their words. Mine are sparse but two of the nicest words I have seen conjoined are 'artistic partnership'.

Martie you did a nice job with this.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Mhatter99 ~ always good to say hello to another patron of the classics. My perceptive on classics: While some music is like milk for babies and others like soda-pop for teenagers, and others like liquor for adults, the classics is like vintage wine for the connoisseur. Thank you for coming by for a taste of Tchaikovsky.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

kallini2010 ~ what a perfect way to stress this fact: “Genuine is not always equivalent to beautiful and for others to accept it, the music should have resonated with their own feelings.” Brilliant!

And so very interesting, I HAVE to quote you (again): “.... the word FATE and the word life (as in life story) is the same in Russian. There is no distinction between what should or could have been and what was and the word is "Soud'ba". It does not make us more fatalistic than the others yet maybe it only shows the awareness of the fact that life follows only one path - the path of reality.” Awesome!

Kallini, I am going to add this to the hub. Thanks for this most interesting comment.

Of course, I've LIVED this symphony myself, and I love the end, because I can confirm that this is true and that this did work for me and is still working: “Joy is simple, but powerful. Rejoice in the rejoicing of others (if you really don’t have anything in yourself to rejoice). To live (and be cheerful and happy) is still (always) possible.”

Cheers to you, Svetlana! May 2013 finally meets all your expectations.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

hawaiianodysseus ~ HubPages is just the place for all writers to challenge their abilities in all sectors. I have overcome so many of my ‘issues’; I’ve actually finally obtained emotional maturity in here as well as knowledge and wisdom to last for the rest of my live.

To be honest, during all researching, which included reading the letters Tchaikovsky wrote to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck, I did not detect any sexual attraction between the two of them. Also consider her stature as businesswoman, born into a family with large landholdings, mother of 13 children and widow of Karl Otto Georg von Meck who has left her vast financial holdings, surely she would not ruin her reputation by having an affair with her case of charity, who were merely supposed to keep her social image formidable and respectful.

Thank you for you support, Hawaii... :)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

LastRoseofSummer2 ~ Hi and welcome to my corner :)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Vincent Moore ~ my dear friend, you have all the reasons in the world not to give all of yourself to someone who might encourage you to drop your shields. What you have experienced in your young most vulnerable childhood were surely enough to keep anyone cautious for the rest of his life.

Unfortunately the hyper-cautious person never allow himself to experience abundant happiness, as he fears all possible disappointments, and therefor melancholy will be his lot.

This symphony was composed for you, Vincent. But the wonder, while keeping yourself save (in your cave), you CAN and MAY rejoice in the rejoicing of others , and this joy is indeed simple and powerful. So death don’t ever have to be an option. This is such an important message to all people suffering melancholy and depression.

Thank you for your continuous support and friendship, Vincent. Out of my heart I wish you the best of the best for 2013.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

mckbirdbks ~ I must admit that I saw those words 'artistic partnership' somewhere during my research, and I, too, was for a moment totally in awe of the perfect description of that kind of relationships - in so many sectors and on so many levels of intensity. Hopefully next time I will be able to make you stand in awe with words I have coined myself. Thank you so much for your most inspiring comment, Mike. Much appreciated :)


drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida

Do you hear that very faint yet audible, 'Brava, Brava' Martie? It is Pyotr himself thanking you for this classic interpretation of his, in his own words, 'best symphonic work.' Brava from me, too, m'luv. This hub is one of your best. Trust me.

Thank you for including this powerful video which I am listening to today in segments ... I mean, movements.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 3 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Very interesting Martie....I love music, musical instruments and performers. I saw The Nutcracker at Powell Symphony Hall and it was fabulous. I really didn't know, sadly, the meaning of much of it then. I had band for a few years later and then it was love!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi my dearest drbj, oh yes, I think Pyotr - who will be 'Pieter' in Afrikaans - will truly appreciate the recognition and admiration he gets today. Thanks for your lovely comment and constant support and encouragement.

Of couse, this is my most favorite Tchaikovsky ~ although I love most of his work - The Swan Lake, Piano Concerto Nr1, etc. But this one provides such a lovely flight for my imagination ~

http://youtu.be/h5P5wGC28E8


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Realhousewife, so good to see you in my corner. The more actively involved we are in music, the more we enjoy it. Music, and especially classics, is a Heaven on Earth. (I suppose it could be a hell too, depending on the genre. Heavy metal is a very scary hell for me.) Thank you, Kelley!


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Ah Sista Martie, my SA better half...

You have made me laugh, you have made me cry, you have inspired me and you have bowled me over in your writing of so many subjects since I have known you but THIS does ALL that and so much more for me...

OK, it has finally clicked that you have quite innocently taken over a huge void filled by one of my dearest friends...Judy. We were mad about so many things... from Johnny Dep to Tchaikovsky...so funny that her favorite was The Nutcracker and mine was Swan Lake. We ditched the old men and sobbed like babies as we saw each show every year as long as I was blessed to be her friend...she sadly died 5 years ago.

I am now listening to the fabulous Symphony No 4, that you have dedicated to two of my favorite friends...Lady Svetlana and Sir Vincent...I believe this is your niche of expertise and I am enthralled.

Voted UP and UABI. Happy New Year. Love you, Maria


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 3 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

The critics were unduly harsh...

I am "hands down" partial to the 4th movement but loved the whole symphony, Martie.

"Joy is simple but powerful. Rejoice in the rejoicing of others. To live is still possible."

Ironic that a man with so many internal demons gave so much joy through his very craft...quite assuredly a life lesson for us to consider.

Thank you again for a beautiful experience and I will revisit...


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

My dearest Sista Maria, we would have had so much fun if.....

But nevermind IF.... We DO have a lot of fun, don't we?

I believe that CyberSpace gives us just as much - if not more - opportunities to enjoy the most wonderful stuff, such as music. In many ways so much better - I can sleep, while you are awake, 'talking' to me and listening to music as if I am right there with you, etc.

I could not see you in the symphony, but I definitely saw you in here ~ http://youtu.be/h5P5wGC28E8

Thank you so much for all your love and support!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Martie...I played the video and listened to the symphony as I read your marvelous hub. I can truly enjoy classical music.....especially on a cold, winter evening, in the quiet and darkness, as the fire flickers in the hearth.

Thank you so much for this, Martie. I see that Tchaikovsky was quite exacting and strong in his love and pride of this particular composition, as he wrote of this repeatedly, to his friend.

Strange...but far too many an ultra-genius, fail in their attempts at true happiness or inner peace. Gives me goosebumps, Martie....UP++++


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Tchaikovsky, to me, was one of the most expressive musicians from his time. Thanks for sharing this Martie, and it's a wonderful breakdown of what each of the movements represents! Passing on.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

My father passed on his love of classical music to me as a child and often played this and other Tchaikovsky symphonies. Thank you so much for sharing the background to the symphony, as well as Tchaikovsky's own thoughts, Martie. As always, your hub is very interesting.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

The information you have written and provided about this amazing and complex composer is brilliant, Martie. I have long admired Tchaikovsky. You have described him, and his symphonic poem, so well in several paragraphs. This hub is like a symphony, itself, with the columniation of hope that resounds in the fourth movement, ‘Joy is simple, but powerful. Rejoice in the rejoicing of others. To live is still possible.” Your dedication to Svetlana and Ken so touches the heart. Thank you, dear Martie, for this superb experience.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

fpherj48 ~ Once upon a time on a cold, winter evening, in the quiet and darkness, as the fire flickers in the hearth, classical music....

What a lovely sentence to begin a story!

It is definitely true, Paula, the higher the intelligence, the more difficult to find happiness or inner peace.

A couple of years ago I was for a couple of weeks the (stupid) victim of a con-artist gospel preacher. He, in fact, tried to convince me that my mind, with all its knowledge, was 'ungodly'. My heart, he reckoned, was godly and should be in charge.....

Was that not more or less what the snake said to Eve? That if she eat the fruit of the Tree of Eternal Life she will become just as clever as God?

Anyway, happy New Year to you :)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi midget ~ With Symphony Nr 4 Tchaikovsky actually expressed his feelings in comparison to Beethoven's Symphony Nr. 5. I so love the stories behind the work of those musicians/composers. Thanks for coming over for the read.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Alicia ~ music is something that grows on us. To genres we are not introduced to, we cannot relate. My parents were not familiar with classical symphonies, but only with classical chorals. I've 'met' classical orchestras and all those classical instruments when my son started to play the tuba in wind- and symphony orchestras at the age of 13. While listening to their rehearsals, those music grew so rapidly on me, calming my (then stormy) soul so much that I cancelled specialized Bible study on Wednesday evenings in order to attend orchestra rehearsals. Thanks for your kind comment, Alicia.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Genna, some music for piano, composed by Tchaikovsky, are technically almost impossible to play. I remember a highly talented student busy doing Trinity College Gr7 piano syllabus saying to me: "That man must have been crazy. No living human can play this!" And he showed me the sheet music and I had no choice but to agree with him. Highly ambitious passages, runs that can only be done by extremely supple fingers. Thank you for your lovely comment.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Hi Martie. Yes, technically very difficult. He shares this honor with other composers as well; for example, Rachmaninoff's third piano concerto; Beethoven’s "Hammerklavier" sonata no.29. Yipes! :-)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Of course, Genna! I am but only on Trinity Gr 4-5 level on piano, so only one look at those sheet music and I shrink into complete awe of them. Becoming an accomplished pianist is one of my dreams I had to bury ages ago. Since then I simply play for the fun of it, easy sight-reading for keyboard, improvising as far as I go... My son always says: "Mom, you are NOT playing Beethoven (or whoever), you are playing Martie Coetser's interpretation of Beethoven. The poor man will turn in his grave when he hears you." My son is a music-puritan, producing the exact sound composed by the composer. For him improvising is humiliating the composer or arranger.

Oh well, I play the piano, while he WORKS the tuba.

Thanks for your most informative input, Genna :)


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

I have no doubt that you play beautifully, Martie. Beethoven would be pleased to hear your interpretation. :-) The piano is a magnificent instrument…one of the miracles of humanity. I experienced a bad wrist break awhile back that did some nerve damage to my wrist, and more so to the inside of my thumb which is numb; it tenses and then freezes and I get a sharp dart through my wrist. I can’t stretch an octave anymore; and it was hard for me to accomplish this without exercise before the accident due to the shape of my hands and shorter fingers. (I have always been in rapturous awe of pianists who can stretch a 10th and make it look so easy.) But I still play a bit in my own way and like to compose melodies and improvise where I can – even a tad little of Beethoven that’s easy on the hand.

Thanks for responding to my comment. Have a great weekend!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Thanks for sharing your experience on the piano, Genna, and so sorry about your wrist. Gosh, that is so bad when physical damage (and age) prevents us from doing something we love doing. So often an compulsive-obsessive urge forces me to get on top of a specific piece - and so often it would be something totally beyond my ability, such as Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor (on a keyboard, pipe-organ setting) - Within 2 days arthritis in my fingers and wrists will put an end to all my ambitious plans. Last year I wanted to send my son a surprise on his birthday - a video recording of one or the other magnificent piano piece - can't remember what it was - but I had to quit my efforts to play it accurately because my fingers just refused to give their cooperation. Oh well.... LOL! Enjoy your weekend, too, Genna :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

My beloved CD - You've again brought intimate feeling for an admired classic to us - or me, at least. I've admired Tchaikovsky, but never have FELT toward his work as I do toward Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini & some others. The man seems so unassailable. You've made him HUMAN. He's more of a sympathetic character now, though I can't agree with his views of life, Fate and reality. But those are the views which produce this wondrous music. I'm listening to it as I'm reading and writing. It speaks loudly and clearly.

You do such magnificent jobs of presenting information so engagingly. And then to dedicate it to folks I just love, makes the entire presentation feel so - personal! This is a treasure! Thank you, darling Martie!

So many of us akin in cyberland love the piano! Must be genetic! :-)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Nellieanna, I feel so honored when you leave me such beautiful complimentary comments. You really makes me feel more successful than I think I am.

I tend to personalize everything - I need to relate. I need to see the Present in the Past, myself and others living and loving in those circumstances, meeting the challenges Life had in stock.

I have read the biographies of those great composers - awesomely interesting. All of them had their personal struggles and so many obstacles in their paths. They were servants of kings and churches, compelled to entertain the elite; they had to enter the palaces and mansions of the elite through back doors in order to give the requested tuition to the children of the elite. (But even today music teachers are the 'servants' of parents cherishing high aspirations for their children.)

On top of this the composers of that time - as today - were in fierce competition for recognition and actually always in the shade of a predecessor or living opponent. The music of Beethoven was seen in the same light as today's Heavy Metal, or Elvis in the 60's; too noisy! The tranquility provided by Mozart and Handel was in demand... and so on.

I think I should write more hubs of this nature, don't you agree, Nellieanna - trying to make it more easier for us to identify with those Maestros. Vincent is in my opinion in many ways a reincarnation of Tchaikovsky, as he is of Poe...

But at a time in my life I, too, saw life/fate just as it is in this symphony. I have changed in the meantime - I just don't yield to Fate anymore. Oh, it still exists, but in the background while I actively grab and enjoy every crumb of Good coming my way, simply ignoring Evil as hard as I can. Oh, I know Fate will knock me down any minute, but I'll face it when it appears... Oh boy, that will be one helluva war all over again. But this time I have all guns oiled.

Like Scarlett O' Hara I have made a decision - never to be depressed and unhappy again. I WILL never again allow anything to keep me jailed in a state of depression. Come hell or high water, I WILL be happy every day of my life. (I suffered depression for 20 years in all its painful facets; it nearly killed me. Never again will I treat that Black Dog as a pet. His place is in the woods, far away from me.)

Lol!

Thanks for your continuous support, my dear CM.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

OH yes - you're intense, passionate and personal. It's who you are and what makes you so lovable!

I have read some biographies of great composers, but your full understanding of their lives and music is something to behold.

I DO think you should write more of these fascinating stories, as only you can! Everyone gets caught up in them, the way you present them - the music, its composition and musicality- and what was going on in the composers' lives at the time. Among my favorite movies (way back) were some about classical musicians' lives. What comes to my mind is "A Song To Remember" - the 1945 story of Chopin, with Cornel Wilde in his role, and Merle Oberon as George Sand. It's so long ago I saw it, but it made an impression on me.

You bring to this your own experience as a musician and music teacher. I've always thought about the fact that at the time the great classic composers were composing - they were upstarts and were not accepted as the greats we know them to be. Same with Shakespeare. He was a wild-eyed writer without honor and respect in his own time and place. All great thinkers are odd-balls when they come out with their progressive ideas! If they didn't believe in them, themselves, they would be squelched quickly.

My view of life, fate, reality is that they're all the same thing - - the present in which people live and in which they make choices which reverberate. Oh, sure, when we're very young, choices are made for us, but the moment we're born, we begin to form our own responses to all the things that happen to and around us. It's in our responses that our lives are formed and carried out. When we learn that we ARE in our driver's seats, we begin to know to direct our courses around 'events' and direct our responses to lead where we want to go. "Things" are neutral. It's people who endow them with meaning and we do it by our responses. Response-ability is what makes the difference. If we think we're helpless - we are - by default. If we're flailing about, we're probably missing the clues to our best choices, especially in these times of things rushing by so fast, though I suspect that if one is facing a wild beast in a more primitive time, the moment of choice zots by just as rapidly!

You're right to decide your course. One must include all the emotions in one's course. One WILL feel sad, angry, frustrated at times. Having a plan to handle it - letting it be but not hanging on to it for dear life, is the response-able way to handle it. All emotions have a finite duration. When they seem to cling, it's our own tenacity which becomes a habit and builds on its own momentum, feeds on its own life. So feel it all as it happens - let it be while its fresh and then let it go when it's stale & beginning to be self-perpetuating. That's how to avoid depression and unhappiness, dear. Blocking or forbidding emotions makes them build momentum in the background. The good news is that there will be fewer probabilities of that.

Thank you for your continuous support too!!


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Reading this piece I could almost imagine that he was sat in your garden right next to you sharing a cup of red bush tea Martie before going on to the theatre to listen to that wonderful classic.

It is a long time since I sat and listened to classical music so thank you for this very pleasant interlude. I tnink my favourite is The Nutcracker (Dance of the Reed Flutes)

You did a wonderful job of personalising this great musician


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

What a thorough article on my favorite composer, Martie. I just listened to the Nutcracker today on my long drive into the city. My favorite has always been the Waltz of the Flowers. Thank you for sharing! Beautiful.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Dearest Nellieanna, you are so right - "Things" are neutral. It's people who endow them with meaning and we do it by our responses."

But as I see it, in spite of our responses to 'things', which lead to a 'course of events', so many 'things' happen without any obvious reason. And that unforeseen things is what I see as 'Fate' or 'God's Plan' or simply as 'Life'.

Just for the record, I was never a music teacher per se; I was responsible for everything else but teaching in the music school. Finance, libraries (music literature & instrumens), all admin, organizing of orchestra rehearsals, concerts, tours, and meetings upon meetings, etc. etc., and sometimes, indeed, I had to handle a crisis by taking care of a sick teacher's student(s), but in the capacity of a 'paramedic'. I know more of music than the beginners up to Gr4, and I can even fool students up to Gr7, and even some teachers will admit that I am able to impress and entertain 'the ignorant' by making music on my instruments, but fact is, I don't have the qualifications to be a teacher. At a time, during a 2-yrs experiment, I even handled without the acquired qualifications two classes (of 30 students each) on recorders, and thank heavens only for 6 months. (Ever since then all my empathy and sympathy belongs to the teachers of teenagers.)

Of course, I would not have done all of that if others as passionate about music as I, and in particular the master brain behind the school, did not give me the opportunity. I don't think I would have had this immense passion for music if Fate/God/Life - whatever we want to call the Ultimate Power in the Universe - had given me the opportunity to develop my own talent for music properly when I was a child. And therefor I believe that 'Fate' often make 'things' happen in order for us to obtain the required passion and even the merest will/desire to serve our fellowman at a later stage. (You know I do believe that the divine purpose of every creation/existence in the universe is to SERVE another creation(s))

Nellieanna, I think I 'talk' too much. Lol! Have a great day!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Rosemary, thank you so much for coming by for the read. Most classical music is not suitable background music, or 'party-music'. It is like a religious sermon. One has to listen to it attentively and allow it to take your spirit to wherever it need to be at that specific time. Take care, my dear girlfriend :)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Denise, I think it is high time for me to listen to the Nutcracker again. Father Christmas brought me the most amazing Home Entertainment System - all round, high quality sound. I will think of you when I listen to the Waltz of the Flowers :)


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

This was so very interesting Martie and I vote up,across and share all around .Have A great weekend my friend.

Eddy.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 3 years ago from TEXAS

There's no disagreement. Fate is the unexpected which is life. Change and new combinations are characteristics of life. As I said initially: life, fate, and reality are the same thing. WHAT happens is what IT is, and it's a living, breathing process - LIFE - real life. Every moment of it is valuable.

We do make things happen by our choices, but sure, the outcomes are subject to the unexpectedness of life. Ours isn't the only influence on the outcomes. But it's simply a blind mistake to suppose that outcomes will or can be in opposition to what our inputs are. They may variegate, but we can't plant one thing and reap another. That's where our choices influence the outcomes, but we're not omniscient and couldn't design a perfect outcome even if our own was the only influence on it. The beauty of LIFE is its liveliness, its surprise, its possibilities, which are by definition, not within our control.

I didn't know your exact experience in music, but as far as I'm concerned, you are knowledgeable and have the innate talent for stirring people's understanding and interest like any good teacher should. Many teachers, no doubt, have all kinds of technical knowledge but lack that spirit and warmth to make it come alive for students and others as you do. I definitely see your reasoning that, had you been more traditionally trained, you might never have developed the passion for music that developed through what DID happen - the reality, the life, the fate of it. Wow.

It's what we experience and how we feel it which makes the difference between lukewarm going-through-motions and fully committed oneness and life with our experience. Yes, I do know that you feel your purpose to serve deeply and passionately. I suspect that IS what each of us can know of divine purpose while here on Earth, each in our own ways.

No, you don't talk too much, darlin'. I love you.


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Martie my reference to you sitting in your garden with Tchaikovsky was merely an observation that you had written this as if he were sat beside you discussing his music. I most certainly do not consider this classic to be ‘background’ or ‘party’ music.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Thank you, Eiddwen. Much appreciated :)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi my dearest Nellieanna - First thing that came to mind when I started reading your comment, was, "Indeed, they say one reaps what he sows." But I have an enormous issue with this 'believe/motto'.

When I review my own life and those of many others, I cannot help but see that so many - too many - of those who had sown many heartaches are living happily ever after, reaping the best of the best that were sown by others. I also have to ask myself what exactly did I sow wrong to have reaped so many heartache, and also, why haven't I reaped appropriate profits for all the many good (and hard work) I have sown? Somewhere in the Bible is a scripture stating that those who were last shall be first and vice versa.

So we are back to Fate.... Living is like gambling. We will never know whether we are going to 'win' good or bad luck.

I think we should accept your statement as the only truth: "The beauty of LIFE is its liveliness, its surprise, its possibilities, which are by definition, not within our control."

You can say that again: Having the legal qualifications - diplomas/degrees - does not mean one can do the job. The fact that one knows how to do something certainly doesn't prove that one can do it. Especially in music, going for an audition, the conductor or manager of the orchestra is not interested in the diplomas and qualifications of the applicant. He will take a look at that AFTER the musician has produced the music he is supposed to be able to produce.

I love you, Nellieanna! Hope you are enjoying a peaceful Sunday :)


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Rosemary, yes, that is how I understood your comment. My reply was actually on your sentence: "It is a long time since I sat and listened...."

One has to sit and listen attentively to classical music...

:)


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 3 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

My apologiemartie I read your comment wrong, and really shouldn't read late at night. Forgive me


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

10:20pm (Sunday) down here, Rosemary, and I've just said the very same thing to myself. Tomorrow it's back to work for me and I've promised myself to be in bed, sleeping, before midnight on weekdays. Enjoy 2013's FIRST Monday :)


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. This is a musical, magical and fascinating hub. Enjoyed much and passing this on. Hugs.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Gypsy, thank you for your encouraging comment and for passing on. Hugs galore to you :)


Tashaonthetown profile image

Tashaonthetown 3 years ago from South Africa

Such great music! Love the hub very interesting!


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

Hi Tasha, my fellow-South African. Glad you enjoyed the music and story behind Tchaikovsky's 4th symphony. Take care :)


artsandlearning profile image

artsandlearning 3 years ago from 1518 Brookhollow Drive, Suite 15, Santa Ana, CA, 92705

Thanks.

I think we should accept your statement as the only truth i seen in my life, that the statement is the beauty of life is its liveliness, its surprise, its possibilities, which are by definition, not within our control on the life .The beauty of life comes in enjoying their lives in culture,art,music, and dancing which gives inner refreshment from the bottom of heart as well.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa Author

artsandlearning, I wonder what would life be like when we have the ability to control it? I guess chaos, while everybody's trying to control it according to their ideas of beauty. We can but only control our reactions on life and all its surprises and opportunities it offers Thanks for your profound comment :)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working