Like the Symphony No. 4, the Fifth is a cyclical symphony, with a recurring main theme. Unlike the Fourth, however, the theme is heard in all four movements, a feature Tchaikovsky had first used in the Manfred Symphony, which was completed less than two years before the Fifth. The theme has a Scherzo for Vehicle in the first movement, but gradually transforms into a triumphant march, which dominates the final movement is very Providence. Tchaikovsky was attracted to this particular theme because the topic of the Last Movement is Providence, according to the composer's notebook page dated 15 April 1888, which was about one month before he began composition of the symphony. The composer stated, in describing the introduction, "a complete resignation before fate, which is the same as the inscrutable predestination of fate." The changing character of the motto over the course of the symphony seems to imply that Tchaikovsky is expressing optimism with regard to providence in their Andante Maestoso and Allegro Maestoso for the finale, an outlook that would not return in his Sixth Symphony.
More pieces by Tchaikovsky
- Serenade for Strings in C major (Op. 48)
- Symphony No. 6, Pathétique
- Violin Concerto