Facts about Symphony No. 6 (Pathetique)
With his Symphony No. 6 (Pathetique) completed, Tchaikovsky performed the piece in Saint Petersburg in October 1893, just nine day before his death. The 2nd version of this symphony, as we know it today, was performed at his memorial concert only twenty one days later.
Initially, Tchaikovsky wrote the draft in 1891 but only to tore up the manuscript and trashes it. Then two years later, the composer started writing the piece with such a fiery speed and energy, as if he was running out of time. The full score was finished in its entirety in no time, the first movement in just 4 days.
If in deed Tchaikovsky committed suicide, this symphony is kind of a musical farewell note to life, a personal requiem of some sort. In my opinion, all events that took place at the time the composer wrote this symphony may have the clue as to the cause of his death, whether it were suicide, homicide or cholera.
Modest, Tchaikovsky’s brother named the piece Pathetique and the composer dedicated it to his favorite nephew. Under the terms of Tchaikovsky’s will to his nephew, all the royalties from the composer's work helped establish the Tchaikovsky House-Museum at Klin, a small and peaceful countryside house where the composer sequestered himself while working on the manuscript.