Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Biography

Born: May 7, 1840; Russia   Died: Nov 6, 1893; Russia   Period: Romantic
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky was the author of some of the most popular themes in all of classical music. He founded no school, struck out no new paths or compositional methods, and sought few innovations in his works. Yet the power and communicative sweep of his best music elevates it to classic status, even if it lacks the formal boldness and harmonic sophistication heard in the compositions of his contemporaries, Wagner and Bruckner. It was Read more Tchaikovsky's unique melodic charm that could, whether in his Piano Concerto No. 1 or in his ballet The Nutcracker or in his tragic last symphony, make the music sound familiar on first hearing.
Tchaikovsky was born into a family of five brothers and one sister. He began taking piano lessons at age four and showed remarkable talent, eventually surpassing his own teacher's abilities. By age nine, he exhibited severe nervous problems, not least because of his overly sensitive nature. The following year, he was sent to St. Petersburg to study at the School of Jurisprudence. The loss of his mother in 1854 dealt a crushing blow to the young Tchaikovsky. In 1859, he took a position in the Ministry of Justice, but longed for a career in music, attending concerts and operas at every opportunity. He finally began study in harmony with Zaremba in 1861, and enrolled at the St. Petersburg Conservatory the following year, eventually studying composition with Anton Rubinstein.
In 1866, the composer relocated to Moscow, accepting a professorship of harmony at the new conservatory, and shortly afterward turned out his First Symphony, suffering, however, a nervous breakdown during its composition. His opera The Voyevoda came in 1867-1868 and he began another, The Oprichnik, in 1870, completing it two years later. Other works were appearing during this time, as well, including the First String Quartet (1871), the Second Symphony (1873), and the ballet Swan Lake (1875).
In 1876, Tchaikovsky traveled to Paris with his brother, Modest, and then visited Bayreuth, where he met Liszt, but was snubbed by Wagner. By 1877, Tchaikovsky was an established composer. This was the year of Swan Lake's premiere and the time he began work on the Fourth Symphony (1877-1878). It was also a time of woe: in July, Tchaikovsky, despite his homosexuality, foolishly married Antonina Ivanovna Milyukova, an obsessed admirer, their disastrous union lasting just months. The composer attempted suicide in the midst of this episode. Near the end of that year, Nadezhda von Meck, a woman he would never meet, became his patron and frequent correspondent.
Further excursions abroad came in the 1880s, along with a spate of successful compositions, including the Serenade for Strings (1881), 1812 Overture (1882), and the Fifth Symphony (1888). In both 1888 and 1889, Tchaikovsky went on successful European tours as a conductor, meeting Brahms, Grieg, Dvorák, Gounod, and other notable musical figures. Sleeping Beauty was premiered in 1890, and The Nutcracker in 1892, both with success.
Throughout Tchaikovsky's last years, he was continually plagued by anxiety and depression. A trip to Paris and the United States followed one dark nervous episode in 1891. Tchaikovsky wrote his Sixth Symphony, "Pathétique," in 1893, and it was successfully premiered in October, that year. The composer died ten days later of cholera, or -- as some now contend -- from drinking poison in accordance with a death sentence conferred on him by his classmates from the School of Jurisprudence, who were fearful of shame on the institution owing to an alleged homosexual episode involving Tchaikovsky. Read less
Tchaikovsky, Liszt: Piano Concertos / Alice Sara Ott
Release Date: 10/25/2010   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001477802   Number of Discs: 1
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Leonard Slatkin Conducts Tchaikovsky Ballets
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 1920082   Number of Discs: 6
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Claudio Abbado Conducts Tchaikovsky
Release Date: 08/26/2014   Label: Sony (Nax615)  
Catalog: 836722   Number of Discs: 6
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Tchaikovsky: Yolanta / Rostropovich, Vichnievskaia
Release Date: 05/1993   Label: Erato Libretto  
Catalog: 45973   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony / Pletnev, Russian National Orchestra
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186387   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: 1812 Overture, Op. 49

Browse 1-25 of 167 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    Phase 4 Stereo: Stereo Concert Series [41-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    On sale! $199.98
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  • 3.
    Ferenc Fricsay: Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon, Vol. 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002132602 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 45
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Tibor Varga,  Helmut Krebs,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Riccardo Muti
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 627825 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Claudio Abbado Conducts Tchaikovsky
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   Catalog: 836722 Release Date: 08/26/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Claudio Abbado - The Complete RCA & Sony Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 304505 Release Date: 08/05/2014   Number of Discs: 39
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Claudio Abbado,  Murray Perahia,  Anatoly Kotcherga,  Midori  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
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  • 7.
    Karajan 1949-1960: Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Balakirev, Stravinsky
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633620 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Mily Balakirev,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  Boris Christoff
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1227072 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Gustav Holst,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Ludovico Einaudi,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Nicola Benedetti,  Craig Ogden,  Ji Liu,  Maarten Jansen  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Andrew Litton,  Neeme Järvi,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 9.
    Tchaikovsky Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94650 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Derek Hammond-Stroud,  Janis Kelly,  Nikolai Vassiliev,  Alexander Arkhipov  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Fedoseyev,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Yuri Simonov,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    Bernard Haitink: The Symphony Edition [36-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002010702 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 36
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Lucia Popp,  Carolyn Watkinson,  Peter Schreier,  Robert Holl  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Netherlands Radio Chorus,  St. Willibrod Boy's Choir  ... 
    CD: $113.99
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  • 11.
    Sir Adrian Boult - The Complete Conductor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1927023 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Simpson,  Sir Arthur Bliss  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    Eugene Ormandy Conducts Tchaikovsky
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 1119166 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Tchaikovsky: The Symphonies / Haitink, Concertgebouw [6-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001915402 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Carl Conducts... Classical Festival Favourites
    Label: Carl Davis Collect   Catalog: 20 Release Date: 04/30/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Jean Sibelius,  Giuseppe Verdi,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
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  • 15.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812; Brahms: Symphony No. 4; Borodin: In The Steppes Of Central Asia / Mengelberg, Concertgebouw
    Label: Opus Kura   Catalog: 2104 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Alexander Borodin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Willem Mengelberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 16.
    The Art Of Sir Georg Solti
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 1037609 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály,  Leó Weiner,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandru Agache,  Tamás Daróczy,  Julia Varády,  Iris Vermillion  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Hungarian Radio/TV Chorus,  Budapest Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 17.
    EMI Eminence - The Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 393872 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Jonathan Small,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher,  Vernon Handley,  George Guest,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir  ... 
    On sale! $201.98
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  • 18.
    Icon - Constantin Silvestri [15-CD Set]
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 233472 Release Date: 02/05/2013   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  George Enescu,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantin Silvestri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
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  • 19.
    A Musical Journey: Russia -  A Musical Visit To Moscow And St Petersburg
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 2110296 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Polish Radio National Symphony Orchestra
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  • 20.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 4, Etc / Rozhdestvensky, Et Al
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1212 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yuri Ahronovitch,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Classics For A Summer Evening From Leeds Castle / Carl Davis
    Label: Conifer   Catalog: 51302 Release Date: 11/29/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jeremiah Clarke,  George Frideric Handel,  Léo Delibes,  Edvard Grieg  ... 
    Performer:  Janice Watson,  Ruby Philogene
    Conductor:  Carl Davis
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  King's Division Normandy Band,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
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  • 22.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture; Romeo And Juliet; Marche Slave
    Label: Hi. Q   Catalog: 7 Release Date: 11/20/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  André Previn
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  • 23.
    1812: In The Blaze Of Glory
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002012 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Osip Kozlovsky,  Anonymous,  Dimitri Bortniansky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Victor Kornachev,  N. Mikhailov,  N. Nazarov,  Alexander Rudin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Baroque Soloists
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  • 24.
    The Art Of Valery Gergiev
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1083441 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  Olga Borodina,  Lang Lang,  Sergei Levitin,  Alexander Toradze  ... 
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Chorus,  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra  ... 
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  • 25.
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1300 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  George Frideric Handel,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
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