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Overall, I was very impressed with this part documentary-part staged biopic series on Tchaikovsky's life and music. I didn't love it as much as 2005's Beethoven, but there are many things that compensate. Especially the exquisite production values, with only one or two latter scenes that are a tad dull in terms of lighting and the brilliant music(that by the way is superbly performed), I for one cannot fail to be moved by any scene that features the heart-rending Pathetique Symphony. The sound is also very good, as are the script and direction, and I was impressed with the scenes that speculated on the cause of Tchaikovsky's death, no too-open-and-shut business as far as I could see. Ed Stoppard is a little more comfortable as Tchaikovsky in the second half of this series where he comes across as more heartfelt and passionate but he doesn't do too bad a job here either. Charles Hazelwood is an intriguing presenter and presents informatively with some interesting conversations with some youngsters, a ballerina and an opera singer about how the music affects them, how hard it is to perform and whether it engages with them on a personal level. With me, the latter certainly applies when I hear Tchaikovsky. Especially with the final movement of the Pathetique, Lensky's aria and especially the violin concerto, something about his music strikes a chord with me, and I have never quite put my finger on it, it could be various things, it makes me nostalgic, it makes me think and I suppose it packs an emotional punch with me too. Overall, this is a very good series where its pros outweigh the obvious faults. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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