1 Andante – Allegro Con Anima
The first movement opens with the clarinets introducing a slow, sombre motto-theme that leads to the main body of the movement. With a steady pace, the solo clarinet and the bassoon continue with a surging main theme and later, creates a wealth of thematic material. A lengthy movement, it consists of three separate-theme groups filled with soaring and sumptuous melodies unique to Tchaikovsky.
2 Andante Cantabile
The second movement opens with deep string chords and introduces one of the great solos for French horn and later, the oboe as the graceful second subject. The relaxing spirits are shattered twice when the music returns to the motto-theme, which blazes out dramatically in the trumpets.
3 Valse: Allegro Moderato
It is surprising to hear a lovely waltz instead of the expected scherzo in this movement. As this movement concludes with a beautiful extended coda based on the waltz tune, the motto-theme makes a fleeting appearance, triggering the impression of a figure seen through the mists.
4 Finale: Andante Maestoso – Allegro Vivace – Moderato Assai – Presto
The finale opens with the motto-theme that leaps to life in the main body when it breaks in more often as it proceeds, driving to a great climax before breaking off in silence. Out of the ensuing silence, the real coda is sounded, and later, the motto-theme leads in a constantly-accelerating tempo towards the (true) conclusion in E major.