Thoughts & Insights

The Art of Vanishing


Those who know Tschaikowsy’s 6th symphony, also known as „Pathétique“, are aware of its final notes dwindling into the silence of nothingness. Like a heart that stops beating. An ending that leads into infinity.

At the sold-out festival hall in Baden-Baden, where this Symphony was played on October 28th by the Marijinsky orchestra under the direction of Valery Gergiev, a breathless silence could be felt after the fading of the final note. Nothing moved. No applause.

What a moment of exception this was, in a world where we are so often surrounded by enthusiastic cheering, often triggered as early as the initial note is played! There was absolute silence. What kind of a force does this magnificent sound exert onto our feelings! Yet it never goes too far! A true balancing act of perfected composing.

The „Pathétique“ was Tschaikowsky’s last work. When he wrote it, death was already close by. He died a few days after its unsuccessful premiere. Perhaps that is why the sound of this piece seems to open a door into another world, a world which leaves us silent with wonder? This Music will certainly be helpful when trying to overcome the fear of disappearing into the transience of all existence.

All four parts of the 6th symphony can be listened to, or downloaded, here.