The Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was composed during 1888 placing the piece in the Romantic period of music.
The horn is a brass instrument made of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. It is often called the French Horn and is thought by many to be the most beautifully sounding instrument in an orchestra.
The horn’s mellow sound can turn a simple tune into something that both soothes and lifts the spirit. Horns can also be tremendously powerful and when the whole section plays loudly the sound will break through any orchestral texture. Today’s piece contains perhaps the biggest horn solo in orchestral horn repertoire and demonstrates the above description perfectly. The horn solo (see below) is marked ‘dolce con molto express.‘ which is Italian for sweetly with much expression. Listen out for how the soloist interprets this and how he also adds much expression through the use of crescendos and diminuendos.