P.I. Tchaikovsky Symphony "Manfred": history, video, content, interesting facts

P.I. Tchaikovsky Symphony "Manfred"

This masterpiece of the great Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky is deservedly called opera without words. The Manfred Symphony, created by a Russian composer according to a program based on the philosophical tragedy of the eminent English poet George Byron, is not only beautiful music, but also an instructive story. Telling the dramatic story of the unfortunate Manfed with music, the composer intended to warn future generations about the danger to humanity that is fraught with heartlessness and lack of spirituality. The music of this brilliant work, which unwittingly makes one think about the fateful fate of the main character, leads to thinking about the meaning of life. After all, life lived without good for people is lived in vain.

History of creation

The idea of ​​creating a symphony "Manfred" originally belonged to an outstanding Russian composer. Mily Alekseevich Balakirev. Chapter "Mighty handful"inspired by program symphonies Hector Berliozwho in 1867 honored Russia with his visit, made a plot on the philosophical dramatic poem - the tragedy of Lord Byron and asked the French maestro to carry out his plan. However, Berlioz, referring to age and feeling unwell, categorically refused this offer.

More than ten years have passed, but Miliy Alekseevich did not back down from his intentions and in 1882 turned to the request of writing a symphony. Tchaikovsky, because he believed that only his talent can cope with this task. Balakirev sent Peter Ilyich a carefully designed program, with a brief explanation of its essence. At first, the plot and vague reflections of Balakirev about the loss of human ideals did not inspire Pyotr Ilyich, but Mily Alekseevich did not give up and two years later began again to persuade his Moscow colleague, sending him an updated version of the program to the Manfred symphony, edited by V.V. Stasov. This time, Tchaikovsky agreed in the hope that the upcoming trip to Switzerland and walks through its mountains would inspire the composer with interesting motifs.

Before the trip to Petro Ilyich in Davos in 1885, first of all I went to the bookstore to buy Manfred and read it right after arriving in Switzerland. Acquainted with the drama, the composer made for himself a lot of new discoveries, about which the program of Balakirev and Stasov did not say a word, for example, about the power of a person and at the same time his impotence, about comprehending various secrets, but the impossibility of using them. Reflecting on this, Tchaikovsky came to the conclusion that the program needed to be changed, so much so that in the foreground was not the plot line, but the torment of the protagonist. And despite the fact that "Manfred" at that moment was already very fascinated by the composer, the work on the work progressed very slowly. He made a symphony outline in April in Switzerland, and then sat over it for four months without straightening his back, and graduated at the end of September, already in the "Maidanovo" estate.

In February 1886, the P. Yurgenson Music Publishing House printed the score of the work, and the following month, the successful premiere performance of the Manfred Symphony took place in Moscow. Behind the conductor's stand at a concert held within the framework of the RMI, was a German conductor Max Erdmansdorfer.

Interesting Facts

  • "Manfred" was the first symphony of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, all parts of which the composer connected with a leitmotif.
  • Tchaikovsky deservedly dedicated the Manfred symphony to the Russian composer Balakirev, since it was Mily Alekseevich who initiated the creation of this outstanding masterpiece.
  • When Peter Ilyich finished "Manfred", he estimated him as his best creation. However, six months later, the attitude to the work of the composer changed dramatically. Now he considered this work disgusting and even expressed that he hated him, the exception was only the first part.
  • The philosophical drama "Manfred" by the English poet George Byron inspired many talented people. One of them was the outstanding choreographer Rudolf Nureyev, who composed his first original ballet in 1979, using the music of the same program symphony by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The performance choreographer put under him, so the main male role was very difficult. For more than an hour, the dancer must perform complex pirouettes at a very fast pace on the stage without stopping. The premiere of the ballet took place in the fall of 1979 in the Palais de Spor in Paris.

  • Despite the fact that the symphony “Manfred” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is considered to be the least-performed work by the great composer, today there are about twenty remarkable recordings of this work. For example, in 1940, 1949 and 1953 disks were produced on which this composition is performed by the NBC symphony orchestra conducted by the outstanding Italian conductor Arturo Toscani, and in 1967 and 1971 the USSR State Orchestra conducted by Evgeny Svetlanov made sound recordings. There are also excellent recordings of the London, Vienna and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras.


The symphony "Manfred" (h-moll) Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky set out in four parts, each of which is interconnected by a storyline. The content of the program of the first part of the work, as compared to its other sections, is the most developed and its essence is as follows. Count Manfred, leading a reclusive life, devoted himself to science and the mysteries of magic, managed to master the secret of immortality, to grasp what is inaccessible to the ordinary person. In his youth, Manfred dreamed of bringing enlightenment to the popular masses, but afterwards disillusioned with people with whom he could not find mutual understanding, he condemned himself to a lonely existence. He learned to recognize enemies and destroy their insidious plans, and also to summon spirits with special spells and communicate with them. Henceforth, the graph is oppressed by dark thoughts: his life is broken, he is sinful and guilty of the death of his beautiful sweetheart, the resurrection of which is not in his power. The bitter despondency of a proud hermit leads him to desperately seek oblivion.

First part symphonies - Lento lugubre, written by the composer in a large three-part form, with incredible force reflects the spiritual suffering of Manfred, his grave repentance and grief about irretrievably lost happiness. The initial section includes three topics, each of which accurately conveys the painful ordeal of the protagonist. The first topic, sounding like a question to which there is no answer, is very brief and concise. Low-sounding wooden instruments give it a dark and intense character (bass clarinet and three bassoon) whip up altos, cellos and double basses. The second theme, performed by a group of strings, in an octave, constantly moves upwards with its movement, but it is held back by descending motifs of the bassoons and brass. The third theme, filled with intonations of bitter sighs and groans, sounds against the background of a tense triangular background. All motives of the initial section are constantly alternating. Their intensive variational development leads to a climax, painted in tones of gloomy hopelessness.

The middle section of the character contrasts strongly with the music that sounds at the beginning of the piece. An agitated lyrical theme is opposed to agitated drama here, which conveys the fond memories of the protagonist about his lost beloved girl Astarte. The motive is given by the moody sound violins, but then, when woodwinds take over the baton, which the violin group supports with their backs, the music becomes more emotional and excited.

The final section of the first part of the symphony is relatively small, but it is in it that the composer leads to the highest climax, showing the tragedy of the life situation of Manfred. The theme of the main character here is presented in the most open form.

The second part of. Vivace con spirito. "The Alpine Fairy is Manfred in a Rainbow of Waterfall Spray."

Manfred, walking through the mountains, stops at the waterfall and with the help of a spell causes the image of the beautiful fairy of the Alps. He tells her his sad story and asks for help: to see his lost beloved for a moment. The fairy replies that the dead are beyond her control and disappears.

The second part of the symphony is a light and elegant scherzo written in a minor, which is filled with amazing magical hues. In the extreme sections of Tchaikovsky, using a transparent orchestral texture: light staccato woodwind, airy sound of violins and crystal modulations harp, very expressively draws pictures of mountain nature and sparkling waterfall splashes. Further, the nature of music changes dramatically. The trio begins, where the tender theme comes to the fore with a beautiful melodic line depicting a mountain fairy. However, such a bright mood does not remain unchanged: the gloomy shade of it brings the sound of the horn, performing the dismal motive of the protagonist from the first part.

The third part. Andante con moto. "Pastoral. A picture of a simple, poor, but free life of mountain inhabitants". Manfred from the height of the mountain is watching the peaceful measured life of the villagers. Their cares and joys are alien to him.

The music of this part, painted with folk motifs, reflects not only the splendor of the Alpine nature, but also all the charm of rural life. It all starts with a simple, but expressive theme performed by an oboe, which is very similar to the shepherd's tune. Next take the baton motifs of the horn and clarinet. Then, the subsequent intensive development of previously heard themes leads to a large dynamic expansion, at the peak of which, destroying the idyllic mood, Manfred's strongly transformed theme reappears.

Part four. Allegro con fuoco. Ahriman, the ancient Persian deity of evil, death and darkness, sits on a red hot ball in an underground palace. Near the fiery throne, evil spirits have gathered who glorify their master and entertain him with hellish dances. Breaking the orgy, Manfred appears in the palaces of the lord of the dark forces, he asks Ahriman to help him and resurrect Astarta. Appears ghost girl. Manfred begs his beloved to forgive him, but in response he hears only his name and the word “Farewell”. The ghost disappears, and Manfred, who has felt himself forgiven, returns to the earth and waits for a speedy death, like deliverance from agonizing spiritual suffering.

In the finale of the symphony, which is the culmination of the whole work, the music clearly distinguishes the scenes that are marked in the program. At the beginning of the part, the composer colorfully depicts an enchanting binge of evil forces by means of two themes, which first follow each other, then unite and become inseparable. The rampage of evil spirits is interrupted by a small choral episode that prepares the appearance of the main character.

The appearance of the ghost of Astarte is accompanied by a theme that initially sounds in the first part, but this time, in the frame of the harps, it becomes softer, although at the same time it is much sadder, and thus reflects the emotional distress of the girl. The last of this topic, which is different in character from the previous ones, conveys a state, and symbolizes Manfred's forgiveness. The work ends with a solemn choir, based on the theme of the main character. His enlightened sound is decorated with a motif from the medieval chant "Dies irae", reminiscent of the Terrible Judgment, which awaits the sinner.

"Manfred" Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky - This is a brilliant work in which the suffering of a person, his heartache are depicted with such power that it is perhaps very difficult to find something similar among the works of world musical culture. I am glad that this creation of the great maestro is included in the repertoire of many famous symphony orchestras, because it is very relevant at the present time, because today many young people for the sake of their pride and career are not afraid to darken even very bright relationships.

Watch the video: Tchaikovsky Symphony Full Length : Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (November 2019).

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