Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in f Op. 36
The subject of fate, and fate itself, had haunted Tchaikovsky since 1876, when the composer saw Carmen and was struck by the “death of the two principals who, through fate, ultimately reach the peak of their suffering and their inescapable end.” Fate, not unlike Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, was the subject of Tchaikvosky’s Fourth Symphony, compelted in 1878. The composer wrote, “The introduction is the seed of the whole symphony… this is fate…” In this sense, the symphony is programmatic, but the program isn’t one that can be formulated into words. Tchaikovsky surely had a hard time expressing his emotions in words, thus turning to the symphonic form as an outlet.