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Mary had a little lamb a la Tchaikovsky

The Russian equivalent of Row, row, you're boat gets thrashed by Tchaikovsky.

When I went to the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 a few weeks ago I didn’t realize how famous the theme of the finale movement is Russia.

The theme is exactly the tune to In a field a little birch tree stood. From what I’ve been told, every single child in Russia knows this song.

It would be like Row, row, row, your boat or Mary had a little lamb being used in a great American symphony--as strange as that sounds.

The Russian song does have a little more tune to it than those two but not by much. It is what this tune becomes when Tchaikovsky uses it that I find incredible.

Tchaikovsky transforms this children’s tune into a towering inferno of angst and agony and, ultimately, triumph. He takes the tune and surrounds it with torrential strings and thundering brass.

We could be led to believe Tchaikovsky is expressing his disillusionment or perhaps the destruction of innocence, which we all face.

This added wrinkle adds depth to what is already a virtuosic tour de force.

The children’s song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvDZQWpJzYU&feature=youtu.be

Tchaikovsky’s version--the tune comes at the 0:17 mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLHj-eekdNU

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When I went to the Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 4 a few weeks ago I didn’t realize how famous the theme of the finale movement is Russia.

The theme is exactly the tune to In a field a little birch tree stood. From what I’ve been told, every single child in Russia knows this song.

It would be like Row, row, row, your boat or Mary had a little lamb being used in a great American symphony--as strange as that sounds.

The Russian song does have a little more tune to it than those two but not by much. It is what this tune becomes when Tchaikovsky uses it that I find incredible.

Tchaikovsky transforms this children’s tune into a towering inferno of angst and agony and, ultimately, triumph. He takes the tune and surrounds it with torrential strings and thundering brass.

We could be led to believe Tchaikovsky is expressing his disillusionment or perhaps the destruction of innocence, which we all face.

This added wrinkle adds depth to what is already a virtuosic tour de force.

The children’s song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvDZQWpJzYU&feature=youtu.be

Tchaikovsky’s version--the tune comes at the 0:17 mark. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLHj-eekdNU

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