That Horn Tune

One of the most wonderful and best loved moments of Tchaikovksy’s 5th Symphony, which the orchestra will play on May 20 & 22, is the noble horn tune from the 2nd movement:

horn melody

It is one of the greatest horn solos in the orchestral repertoire and has inspired a great many adaptations and imitations since it was first composed in 1888. Frank Sinatra performed his version, Moon Love, with the Harry James Orchestra in 1939.

The opening of John Denver’s Annie’s Song follows the same progression and rhythm:

Less obvious is the aria Vesti la giubba, from Leoncavallo’s 1892 opera, Pagliacci. The same melody, but a different rhythm creates a very different effect:


That dramatic piece was used by the advertisers of Kellogg’s Rice Bubbles to depict the tragedy of running out of their product. Here’s the American (Rice Crispies) version:

For the advertisers of Winfield cigarettes in the 70’s, Tchaikovsky’s music was the epitome of classys sophistication, with ‘Boris and the band’ setting the scene for a tuxedo clad Paul Hogan to extoll the virtues of the cigarettes with ‘a bit of polish – a touch of class’. Let her rip, Boris!