Tchaikovsky Francesca da Rimini, Op 32

Paolo and Francesca da Rimini
(Dante Gabriel Rossetti1867)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's symphonic poem Francesca da Rimini: Symphonic Fantasy after Dante, Op. 32, was composed in less than three weeks during his visit to Bayreuth in the autumn of 1876. It is dedicated to his friend and former pupil Sergei Taneyev. In this fantasia, Tchaikovsky presents a symphonic interpretation of the tragic tale of Francesca da Rimini, a beauty who was immortalized in Dante's Divine Comedy. In the fifth canto of Inferno, Dante the narrator meets the shade of Francesca da Rimini, a noblewoman who fell in love with the brother of her cruel husband. After the lovers were discovered and killed in revenge by the husband, they were condemned to Hell for their adulterous passions. In their damnation, the lovers are trapped together in a violent storm, whirled through the air around the second circle of Hell, never to touch the ground again. They are tormented most of all by the ineradicable memory of the joys and pleasures of the embraces they shared in life. In writing Francesca da Rimini, Tchaikovsky expressed a poignant identification with the heroine and her tragic fate, a sympathy which was also dramatically evoked in his ballet Swan Lake and the Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture.


VIDEO: Moskow Radio Symphony Orchestra Conductor - Vladimir Fedoseyev Recorded live at the Alte Oper Frankfurt, 1991


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