These are the big names in Hamilton concerts right now.

Country music star Garth Brooks delivered for thousands of fans during five weekend concerts this past March. Only three weeks later Hamiltonians will pack FirstOntario Concert Hall (formerly Hamilton Place) for the HPO’s season closing performance of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony. Whether you favor lush violins or amped-up fiddles, Tchaikovsky and Brooks have more in common than you might think.

It’s been a while
Garth Brooks returned to Hamilton after 19 years. Meanwhile, it’s been nearly 10 years since the HPO played Tchaikovsky’s Fourth.

Cannons clash and the thunder rolls
Boost the bass for The Thunder Rolls — Brooks sings about a bad husband “headin’ back from somewhere that he never should have been” as ominous storm clouds rumble.

Similarly, Tchaikovsky chides Josephine’s husband Napoleon “headin’ back from somewhere that he never should have been” when Russian cannons pound the Grande Armée in the finale of the 1812 Overture.

Big in New York
Tchaikovsky headlined the 1891 opening of New York’s new Music Hall, renamed for tycoon Andrew Carnegie two seasons later. The composer conducted his own works and kept a notebook on his trip to America, in which he wondered, “What kind of hats do they wear?”

Garth Brooks favors Stetsons. In 1997, Brooks held a free concert in New York City’s Central Park. Dubbed “Garthstock” (paying homage to Woodstock), it became the largest concert ever held in the park, with an estimated 980,000 fans in attendance.

Secret third verses and movements
The original version of Brooks’ 1989 hit Friends in Low Places has two verses. In 1991, Brooks added a mysterious “third verse” which was only ever performed live.

Likewise, Tchaikovsky sketched a third (and second) movement for his unfinished Piano Concerto No. 3 — while only the first movement was published before his death.


Make the comparison for yourself and join your HPO Saturday, April 16 as we end the 2015-16 Season with Tchaikovsky’s powerful Fourth Symphony. Get your tickets here.


Special thanks to Andrew Huckman and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for bringing these similarities to light.