Rarity coming soon to the Philharmonie Cologne: Tchaikovsky's "7th Symphony" in E flat major
As with Gustav Mahler's 10th Symphony or Mozart's Requiem, Tchaikovsky also left behind an unfinished work, a composition practically unheard of in this neck of the woods – the Symphony in E flat major “7th Symphony”. Following the reconstruction of the four-movement symphony in the 50s by Russian composer Semyon Bogatyryev, it was premièred on 7 February 1957 in Moscow. While the symphony occasionally resounds in Russian concert halls, listeners in other parts of the world are very seldom able to hear this piece. As part of their Tchaikovsky cycle, Dmitri Kitaenko and the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne will soon be performing the Symphony in E flat major op. posth. on 22, 23, and 24 April in the Cologne Philarmonia.
After completing his Fifth Symphony from 1888 and following multiple false starts Tchaikovsky finally began to compose a symphony in E flat major in May 1892. In October 1892 he continued working on this would-be 6th Symphony. By 4 November he had sketched out the entire work and had orchestrated half of the first movement. Tchaikovsky wanted to conduct the world première himself in a charity concert in Moscow in February 1893, but in the end nothing ever came of it. He was unsatisfied with his work and set it to one side towards the end of the year before its completion. Tchaikovsky turned his attentions to a new symphony which he published only six months later as his Sixth Symphony in B minor “Pathétique”. He even let his nephew, Vladimir Davidov, believe that he had destroyed the material to his unfinished symphony in E flat major, although this was not the case. He reworked the first, second and fourth movements into his Third Piano Concerto in one movement, the Andante and Finale of op. 79 in addition to the Scherzo-Fantasie op. 72/10.