Francesca da Rimini — Tone poem of Chaikovskij in three parts
andante lugubre – andante cantabile – allegro vivo
Moskow Radio Symphony Orchestra
Conductor – Vladimir Fedoseyev
Recorded live at the Alte Oper Frankfurt, 1991
(From You Tube)
Francesca da Rimini (op. 32) is a tone poem in E minor by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The theme is drawn from the episode of Paolo and Francesca in Canto V of Dante Alighieri’s Hell. Composed in fewer than three weeks after a journey to Bayreuth during which Tchaikovsky had listened for the first time to Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelungen, the score was finished on November 17th 1876 and was performed for the very first time in Moscow on February 25th 1877 under the baton of Nikolai Rubinstein.
The score, which contains the dedication to his pupil Sergei Ivanovich Taneief, was edited by Jurgenson in Moscow in 1878.
The tone poem is in three parts based on an ABA structure.
The initial section represents La bufera infernal che mai non resta (“the hellish storm which never pauses” – Hell, V, 31), which is the gale which violently blasts the damned souls of the lascivious hither and thither.
The central section is Francesca’s love song entrusted first of all to the solo clarinet and then developed, in typical Tchaikovsky fashion, by a crescendo of musical material right up to the thunderous conclusion.
The sound of the horns finally recalls the protagonists to their hellish reality: the time for confession and remembrance is over; eternal torment begins again for the lovers.