Tchaikovsky was insane. There are moments in his music when you hear the sound of true manic insanity and among those is the last two minutes of the Swan Lake waltz. But just as you can’t get a good read on a mad person just by watching one of their manic episodes, you can’t just skip to the end of this superlative performance of the piece. You need to listen to the beautiful but sane part and descend with Tchaikovsky, then you get a glimpse of his personal hell.
It’s a piece of music labelled with pleasant things such as waltzes and swans, but it’s also a scary white-knuckle experience that never fails to get my heart racing. It is, quite literally, frighteningly good.