Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 3 in D major, Op. 29, was written in 1875. He began it at Vladimir Shilovsky's estate at Ussovo on 5 June and finished on 1 August at Verbovka. Dedicated to Shilovsky, the work is unique in Tchaikovsky's symphonic output in two ways: it is the only one of his seven symphonies (including the unnumbered Manfred Symphony) in a major key (discounting the unfinished Symphony in E♭ major); and it is the only one to contain five movements (an additional Alla tedesca movement occurs between the opening movement and the slow movement).
The symphony was premiered in Moscow on 19 November 1875, under the baton of Nikolai Rubinstein, at the first concert of the Russian Music Society's season. It had its St. Petersburg premiere on 24 January 1876, under Eduard Nápravník. Its first performance outside Russia was on 8 February 1879, at a concert of the New York Philharmonic Society.
Its first performance in the United Kingdom was at the Crystal Palace in 1899, conducted by Sir August Manns, who seems to have been the first to refer to it as the "Polish Symphony", in reference to the recurring Polish dance rhythms prominent in the symphony's final movement. Several musicologists, including David Brown and Francis Maes, consider this name a faux pas. Western listeners, conditioned by Chopin's use of the polonaise as a symbol of Polish independence, interpreted Tchaikovsky's use of the same dance likewise; actually, in Tsarist Russia it was musical code for the Romanov dynasty and, by extension, Russian imperialism.
On the symphony's instrumentation, musicologist Francis Maes writes that here, Tchaikovsky's "feeling for the magic of sound is revealed for the first time" and likens the music's "sensual opulence" to the more varied and finely shaded timbres of the orchestral suites. Wiley adds about this aspect, "Is the symphony a discourse or the play of sound? It revels in the moment."
Like Robert Schumann's Rhenish Symphony, the Third Symphony has five movements instead of the customary four in a suite-like formal layout, with a central slow movement flanked on either side by a scherzo. The work also shares the Rhenish's overall tone of exuberant optimism. For these reasons, musicologist David Brown postulates that Tchaikovsky might have conceived the Third Symphony with the notion of what Schumann might have written had he been Russian.[a 1] The Rhenish, in fact, was one of two works that had most impressed Tchaikovsky during his student days at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory; the other was the Ocean Symphony by his teacher, Anton Rubinstein.
The average performance of this symphony runs about 45 minutes.
In his biography and analysis of Tchaikovsky's music, Roland John Wiley likens the five-movement format to a divertimento and questions whether Tchaikovsky wanted to allude in this work to the 18th century. Such a move would not be unique or unprecedented in Tchaikovsky's work; David Brown points out in the 1980 edition of the New Grove that the composer occasionally wrote in a form of Mozartian pastiche throughout his career. (The Variations on a Rococo Theme for cello and orchestra, which Wiley suggests by Tchaikovsky's use of the word Rococo in the title is his "first nominal gesture toward 18th century music," is in fact a near-contemporary of the symphony.) Musicologist Richard Taruskin makes a similar statement by calling the Third Symphony 'the first 'typical' [Tchaikovsky] symphony (and the first Mozartean one!) in the sense that it is the first to be thoroughly dominated by the dance."
In explaining his analogy, Wiley points out how the composer holds back the full orchestra occasionally in a manner much like that of a concerto grosso, "the winds as concertino to the ripieno of the strings" in the first movement, the waltz theme and trio of the second movement and the trio of the fourth movement (in other words, the smaller group of winds balanced against the larger group of strings). The finale, Wiley states, does not decide which format Tchaikovsky may have actually had in mind. By adding a fugue and a reprise of the movement's second theme in the form of a recapitulation to the opening polonaise, Wiley says Tchaikovsky concludes the work on a note "more pretentious than a divertimento, less grand than a symphony, [and] leaves the work's genre identity suspended in the breach."
For other musicologists, the Schumannesque formal layout has been either a blessing or a curse. John Warrack admits the second movement, Alla tedesca, "balances" the work but he nonetheless senses "the conventional four-movement pattern being interrupted" unnecessarily, not amended in an organic manner. Brown notes that if Tchaikovsky amended the four-movement pattern because he felt it no longer adequate, his efforts proved unsuccessful. Hans Keller disagrees. Rather than a "regression" in symphonic form, Keller sees the five-movement form, along "with the introduction of dance rhythms into the material of every movement except the first," as widening "the field of symphonic contrasts both within and between movements."
Tchaikovsky recorded little about the composition of his Third Symphony. He penned the work quickly, between June and August 1875. After its premiere, he wrote Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, "As far as I can see this symphony presents no particularly successful ideas, but in workmanship it's a step forward." Not long before composing this symphony, Tchaikovsky had received a thorough drubbing from Nikolai Rubinstein over the flaws in his First Piano Concerto, the details of which he would later recount to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck. This incident may have influenced Tchaikovsky to be more cautious in following academic protocol, at least in the symphony's outer movements.
The symphony was premiered in Moscow in November 1875 under the baton of the composer's friend and champion, Nikolai Rubinstein. Tchaikovsky, who attended rehearsals and the performance, was "generally satisfied" but complained to Rimsky-Korsakov that the fourth movement "was played far from well as it could have been, had there been more rehearsals." The first performance in Saint Petersburg, given in February 1876 under Eduard Nápravník, "went off very well and had a considerable success," in the composer's estimation. Nápravník, who had conducted the first performance of the revised overture–fantasia Romeo and Juliet three years earlier, would become a major interpreter of Tchaikovsky's music. He would premiere five of the composer's operas and, among many traversals of the orchestral works, conduct the first performance of the Pathétique symphony after Tchaikovsky's death.
The first performance of the Third outside Russia was scheduled for October 1878 with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Hans Richter. Richter, an admirer of Tchaikovsky's work, had already conducted Romeo and Juliet there in November 1876. However, after the symphony had been rehearsed, the Philharmonic Society cancelled the performance, citing the work's apparent difficulty and lack of public familiarity with the composer. The fact that Romeo had been hissed by the audience and unfavorably reviewed by Eduard Hanslick might have also contributed to its decision.
The initial critical response to the Third Symphony in Russia was uniformly warm. However, over the long run, opinion has remained generally mixed, leaning toward negative. Among musicologists, Martin Cooper considers it "the weakest, most academic" of the seven the composer completed. Warrack notes a disjunction between the work's various musical elements. He writes that it "lacks the individuality of its fellows" and notes "a somewhat awkward tension between the regularity of a symphonic form he was consciously trying to achieve in a 'Germanic' way and his own characteristics." Wiley, less polarizing, calls the Third the "least comformative" of the symphonies and admits its unorthodox structure and wide range of material "may produce an impression of strangeness, especially of genre." These factors, he says, make the Third difficult to categorize: "It is not folkish, nor classical, nor Berliozian/Lisztian, nor particularly Tchaikovskian in light of his other symphonies."
On the positive side of the spectrum, Keller calls the Third Symphony the composer's "freest and most fluent so far" and Maes dismisses naysayers of the piece as those who judge the quality of a Tchaikovsky composition "by the presence of lyric charm, and [reject] formal complexity ... as incompatible with the alleged lyric personality of the composer." Maes points out the symphony's "high degree of motivic and polyphonic intricacies," which include the composer's use of asymmetrical phrases and a Schumannesque play of hemiolas against the normal rhythmic pattern of the first movement. He also notes the Third's "capricious rhythms and fanciful manipulation of musical forms," which presage the music Tchaikovsky would write for his ballets (his first, Swan Lake, would be his next major work) and orchestral suites. Wiley seconds the stylistic nearness to the orchestral suites and notes that the creative freedom, beauty and lack of apparent internal logic between movements which is characteristic of those compositions also seems apparent in the symphony.
Occupying the middle ground between these extremes, Brown deems the Third "the most inconsistent ... least satisfactory" of the symphonies and "badly flawed" but admits it is "not so devoid of 'particularly successful ideas' as the composer's own judgment would have us believe." He surmises that Tchaikovsky, caught between the proscriptions of sonata form and his own lyric impulses, opted for the latter and "was at least wise enough not to attempt an amalgamation" of academic and melodic veins, which fundamentally worked against each other. The best parts of the symphony, he continues, are the three inner movements, where the composer allowed his gift for melody "its full unfettered exercise." Brown says the symphony "discloses the widening dichotomy within Tchaikovsky's style, and powerfully proclaims the musical tensions that matched those within the man himself."
Western critics and audiences began calling this symphony the Polish after Sir August Manns led the first British performance in 1889, with the finale seen as an expression by the Polish people for their liberation from Russian domination and the reinstatement of their independence. Since this was the way Chopin had treated the dance in his works and people had heard them in that light for at least a generation, their interpretation of the finale of the Third Symphony in a similar manner was completely understandable. Unfortunately, it was also completely wrong.
In Tsarist Russia, the polonaise was considered musical code for the Romanov dynasty and a symbol of Russian imperialism. In other words, Tchaikovsky's use of the polonaise was the diametric opposite to Chopin's. This context for the dance began with Osip Kozlovsky (1757–1831) (Polish: Józef Kozłowski), a Pole who served in the Russian army and whose greatest successes as a composer were with his polonaises. To commemorate Russian victory over the Ottoman Empire in the Ukraine, Kozlovsky wrote a polonaise entitled "Thunder of Victory, Resound!" This set the standard for the polonaise as the preeminent genre for Russian ceremony.
One thing to keep in mind is that Tchaikovsky lived and worked in what was probably the last 18th-century feudal nation. This made his creative situation more akin to Mendelssohn or Mozart than to many of his European contemporaries. Because of this cultural mindset, Tchaikovsky saw no conflict in making his music accessible or palatable to his listeners, many of whom were among the Russian aristocracy and would eventually include Tsar Alexander III. He remained highly sensitive to their concerns and expectations and searched constantly for new ways to meet them. Part of meeting his listeners' expectations was using the polonaise, which he did in several of his works, including the Third Symphony. Using it in the finale of a work could assure its success with Russian listeners. 
The symphony, without its first movement, was used by choreographer George Balanchine for Diamonds, the third and final part of his ballet Jewels. Created for the New York City Ballet, of which Balanchine was co-founder and founding choreographer, Jewels premiered on April 13, 1967 and is considered the first full-length abstract ballet. Choreographed with ballerina Suzanne Farrell in mind and inspired by the unicorn tapestries in the Musée de Cluny in Paris, Diamonds was meant to evoke the work of Marius Petipa at the Imperial Russian Ballet. Petipa collaborated with Tchaikovsky on the ballets The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, hence the use of Tchaikovsky's music in Diamonds.
Symphony No. 3 may refer to:
Symphony No. 3 (Alwyn) by William Alwyn, 1955–1956
Symphony No. 3 (Arnold) (op. 63) by Malcolm Arnold, 1957
Symphony No. 3 (Badings) by Henk Badings, 1934
Symphony No. 3 (Baird) by Tadeusz Baird, 1969
Symphony No. 3 (Bax) by Arnold Bax, 1929
Symphony No. 3 (Beethoven) in E-flat major (Op. 55, Eroica) by Ludwig van Beethoven, 1802–04
Symphony No. 3 (Bentoiu) (Op. 22) by Pascal Bentoiu, 1976
Symphony No. 3 (Bernstein) (Kaddish) by Leonard Bernstein, 1963
Symphony No. 3 (Berwald) in C major (Singulière) by Franz Berwald, 1845
Symphony No. 3 (Brahms) in F major (Op. 90) by Johannes Brahms, 1883
Symphony No. 3 (Brian) in C-sharp minor by Havergal Brian, 1931–32
Symphony No. 3 (Bruch) in E major (Op. 51) by Max Bruch, 1887
Symphony No. 3 (Bruckner) in D minor (WAB 103, Wagner) by Anton Bruckner, 1872–1889
Symphony No. 3 (Chávez) by Carlos Chávez, 1951–54
Symphony No. 3 (Ching) (Rituals) by Jeffrey Ching, 1997–98
Symphony No. 3 (Clementi) in G major (WoO 34, The Great National) by Muzio Clementi
Symphony No. 3 (Copland) by Aaron Copland, 1944–46
Symphony No. 3 (Corigliano) (Circus Maximus) by John Corigliano, 2005
Symphony No. 3 (Cowell) (Gaelic) by Henry Cowell, 1942
Symphony No. 3 (Davies) by Peter Maxwell Davies, 1984
Symphony No. 3 (Diamond) by David Diamond, 1945
Symphony No. 3 (Draeseke) in C major (Op. 40, Symphonia Tragica) by Felix Draeseke, 1885–86
Symphony No. 3 (Dvořák) in E major (Op. 10, B. 34) by Antonín Dvořák, c.1872
Symphony No. 3 (Elgar/Payne), by Anthony Payne, 1997, from sketches by Edward Elgar, c. 1934
Symphony No. 3 (Enescu) in C major (Op. 21) by George Enescu, 1916–18
Symphony No. 3 (Ficher) (Op. 36) by Jacobo Ficher, 1938–40
Symphony No. 3 (Finney) by Ross Lee Finney, c. 1960
Symphony No. 3 (Furtwängler) in C-sharp minor by Wilhelm Furtwängler, 1951–54
Symphony No. 3 (Garayev) by Gara Garayev, 1964
Symphony No. 3 (Gerhard) (Collages) by Roberto Gerhard, 1960
Symphony No. 3 (Giannini) by Vittorio Giannini, 1958
Symphony No. 3 (Gillis) (A Symphony for Free Men) by Don Gillis, 1940–41
Symphony No. 3 (Glass) by Philip Glass, 1995
Symphony No. 3 (Glazunov) in D major (Op. 33) by Alexander Glazunov, 1890
Symphony No. 3 (Glière) in B minor (Op. 42, Ilya Muromets) by Reinhold Glière, 1911
Symphony No. 3 (Goeb) by Roger Goeb, 1950
Symphony No. 3 (Górecki) (Op. 36, Symphony of Sorrowful Songs) by Henryk Górecki, 1976
Symphony No. 3 (Guarnieri) by Camargo Guarnieri, 1952
Symphony No. 3 (Hanson) by Howard Hanson, 1936–38
Symphony No. 3 (Harbison) by John Harbison, 1991
Symphony No. 3 (Harris) by Roy Harris, 1939
Symphony No. 3 (Harrison) by Lou Harrison, 1982
Symphony No. 3 (Hartmann) by Karl Amadeus Hartmann, 1948–49
Symphony No. 3 (Haydn) in G major (Hoboken I/3) by Joseph Haydn, 1760–62
Symphony No. 3 (Michael Haydn) in G major (Sherman 3, MH 26, Divertimento) by Michael Haydn, 1763
Symphony No. 3 (Henze) by Hans Werner Henze, 1949–50
Symphony No. 3 (Honegger) (Liturgique) by Arthur Honegger, 1945–46
Symphony No. 3 (Hovhaness) (Op. 148) by Alan Hovhaness, 1956
Symphony No. 3 (Ichiyanagi) (Inner Communications) by Toshi Ichiyanagi, 1995
Symphony No. 3 (Imbrie) by Andrew Imbrie, c.1973
Symphony No. 3 (Ince) (Siege of Vienna) by Kamran Ince, 1995
Symphony No. 3 (Ives) (S. 3, K. 1A3,The Camp Meeting) by Charles Ives, 1908–10
Symphony No. 3 (Kabalevsky) (Op. 22, Requiem) by Dmitry Kabalevsky, 1933
Symphony No. 3 (Khachaturian) (Symphony–Poem) by Aram Khachaturian, 1947
Symphony No. 3 (Killmayer) (Menschen-Los) by Wilhelm Killmayer, 1972–88
Symphony No. 3 (Krenek) (Op. 16) by Ernst Krenek, 1922
Symphony No. 3 (Lilburn) by Douglas Lilburn, 1961
Symphony No. 3 (Lloyd) by George Lloyd, 1933
Symphony No. 3 (Lutosławski) by Witold Lutosławski, 1973–83
Symphony No. 3 (MacMillan) (Silence) by James MacMillan, 2003
Symphony No. 3 (Madetoja) in A major (Op. 55) by Leevi Madetoja, 1925–26
Symphony No. 3 (Magnard) in B-flat minor (Op. 11) by Albéric Magnard, 1895–96
Symphony No. 3 (Mahler) by Gustav Mahler, 1896
Symphony No. 3 (Marco) by Tomás Marco, 1985
Symphony No. 3 (Martinů) (H. 299) by Bohuslav Martinů, 1944
Symphony No. 3 (Melartin) in F major (Op. 40) by Erkki Melartin, 1906–07
Symphony No. 3 (Mendelssohn) in A minor (Op. 56, Scottish) by Felix Mendelssohn, 1829–42
Symphony No. 3 (Mennin) by Peter Mennin, 1946
Symphony No. 3 (Milhaud) (Op. 271 Te Deum) by Darius Milhaud, 1946
Symphony No. 3 (Mozart) in E-flat major (K. 18), now attributed to Carl Friedrich Abel, c. 1764
Symphony No. 3 (Myaskovsky) in A minor (Op. 15) by Nikolai Myaskovsky, 1914
Symphony No. 3 (Natra) by Sergiu Natra
Symphony No. 3 (Nielsen) (Op. 27, FS 60, Espansiva) by Carl Nielsen, 1910–11
Symphony No. 3 (Nørgård) by Per Nørgård, 1972–75
Symphony No. 3 (Panufnik) (Sacra) by Andrzej Panufnik, 1963
Symphony No. 3 (Pärt) by Arvo Pärt, 1971
Symphony No. 3 (Penderecki) by Krzysztof Penderecki, 1988–95
Symphony No. 3 (Piston) Walter Piston, 1946–47
Symphony No. 3 (Popov) (Heroic or Spanish) by Gavriil Popov, 1939–46
Symphony No. 3 (Price) in C minor by Florence Price, 1938–40
Symphony No. 3 (Prokofiev) in C minor (Op. 44) by Sergei Prokofiev, 1928
Symphony No. 3 (Rachmaninoff) in A minor (Op. 44) by Sergei Rachmaninoff, 1935–36
Symphony No. 3 (Raff) in F major (Im Walde) by Joachim Raff, 1869
Symphony No. 3 (Rautavaara) by Einojuhani Rautavaara, 1959–60
Symphony No. 3 (Riegger) (Op. 42) by Wallingford Riegger, 1946–47
Symphony No. 3 (Rochberg) by George Rochberg, 1966–69
Symphony No. 3 (Rorem) by Ned Rorem, 1959
Symphony No. 3 (Rouse) by Christopher Rouse, 2011
Symphony No. 3 (Roussel) in G minor (Op. 42) by Albert Roussel, 1929–30
Symphony No. 3 (Rubbra) (Op. 49) by Edmund Rubbra
Symphony No. 3 (Saint-Saëns) in C minor (Op. 78, Organ) by Camille Saint-Saëns, 1866
Symphony No. 3 (Sallinen) (Op. 35) by Aulis Sallinen, 1974–75
Symphony No. 3 (Say) (Universe) by Fazıl Say, 2012
Symphony No. 3 (Scherber) in B minor by Martin Scherber, 1952–55
Symphony No. 3 (Schnittke) by Alfred Schnittke, 1981
Symphony No. 3 (Schubert) in D major (D. 200) by Franz Schubert, 1815
Symphony No. 3 (Schuman) by William Schuman, 1941
Symphony No. 3 (Schumann) in E-flat major (Op. 97, Rhenish) by Robert Schumann, 1850
Symphony No. 3 (Scriabin) in C minor (Op. 43, The Divine Poem) by Alexander Scriabin, 1902–04
Symphony No. 3 (Sessions) by Roger Sessions, 1957
Symphony No. 3 (Shostakovich) in E-flat major (Op. 20, The First of May) by Dmitri Shostakovich, 1930
Symphony No. 3 (Sibelius) in C major (Op. 52) by Jean Sibelius, 1907
Symphony No. 3 (Simpson) by Robert Simpson, 1962
Symphony No. 3 (Spohr) in C minor (Op. 78) by Louis Spohr
Symphony No. 3 (Szymanowski) (Op. 27, Song of the Night) by Karol Szymanowski, 1914–16
Symphony No. 3 (Tchaikovsky) in D major (Op. 29, Polish) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, 1875
Symphony No. 3 (Tippett) by Michael Tippett, 1970–72
Symphony No. 3 (Toch) (Op. 75) by Ernst Toch, 1955
Symphony No. 3 (Tubin) in D minor (Heroic) by Eduard Tubin, 1940–42
Symphony No. 3 (Ustvolskaya) (Jesus Messiah, Save Us) by Galina Ustvolskaya, 1983
Symphony No. 3 (Valen) (Op. 41) by Fartein Valen, 1944–46
Symphony No. 3 (Vaughan Williams) (Pastoral) by Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1922
Symphony No. 3 (Vieru) (Earthquake) by Anatol Vieru, 1978
Symphony No. 3 (Villa-Lobos) (War) by Heitor Villa-Lobos, 1913
Symphony No. 3 (Wagenaar) by Bernard Wagenaar, 1936
Symphony No. 3 (Williams) in F major (Op.58. The Sacred Forest) by Alberto Williams, 1911
Symphony No. 3 (Williamson) (The Icy Mirror) by Malcolm Williamson, 1972
Book:Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky