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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: Nutcracker Suite, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty
Release Date: 10/17/1995   Label: Emi Seraphim  
Catalog: 69036   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich: String Quartets / Borodin Quartet
Release Date: 11/18/2008   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2072298   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky, Ellington/Strayhorn: Nutcracker Suites
Release Date: 10/08/2013   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 907493   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: 18 Piano Pieces / Konstantin Shamray
Release Date: 02/28/2012   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8572225   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Queen Of Spades Suite; Voyevoda Suite / Breiner, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 05/28/2013   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573015   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: 1812 Overture, Op. 49

Browse 101-125 of 155 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Great Conductors Of The 20th Century - Nikolai Golovanov
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 75112 Release Date: 06/04/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Alexander Glazunov
    Conductor:  Nikolai S. Golovanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 102.
    101 Great Orchestral Classics
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550001 Release Date: 01/25/2002   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Erik Satie,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
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  • 103.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies, Overtures /Abravanel, Utah
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 3603 Release Date: 10/16/2001   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $23.99
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  • 104.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Et Al / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 70541 Release Date: 09/04/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  Greater Cincinnati Children's Choir,  Kiev Symphony Chorus
    DVD Audio: $24.99
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  • 105.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 1, Swan Lake, Etc
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469271 Release Date: 08/14/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Lorin Maazel,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Minnesota Brass Band,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 106.
    Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Mussorgsky, Et Al / Hollreiser
    Label: Vox Allegretto   Catalog: 8022 Release Date: 07/30/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Heinrich Hollreiser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 107.
    Westminster - Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov / Scherchen
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471215 Release Date: 06/12/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Performer:  Rudolf Streng
    Conductor:  Hermann Scherchen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra
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  • 108.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Et Al / Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80541 Release Date: 05/22/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  Kiev Symphony Chorus,  Greater Cincinnati Children's Choir
    CD: $16.99
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  • 109.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Marche Slave, Etc /Kunzel, Et Al
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 60541 Release Date: 05/22/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  Kiev Symphony Chorus,  Greater Cincinnati Children's Choir
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  • 110.
    Eloquence - Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Etc / Ozawa, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 469611 Release Date: 03/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 111.
    Karajan Conducts Tchaikovsky / Ferras, Berlin Po, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 463774 Release Date: 03/13/2001   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Michel Schwalbé,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Christian Ferras,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Don Kossack Choir
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  • 112.
    Merit - Stokowski Conducts Music From Russia Vol 3
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 4847 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Anatole Liadov,  Alexander Scriabin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 113.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Etc / Nikolay Golovanov, Et Al
    Label: Boheme Music   Catalog: 1 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Nikolai S. Golovanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  All-Union Radio/TV Large Symphony Orchestra
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  • 114.
    The Best Of Tchaikovsky / Mackerras, Zinman, Slatkin, Et Al
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80539 Release Date: 06/27/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Horacio Gutierrez
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Erich Kunzel,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Leonard Slatkin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 115.
    Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherezade; Tchaikovsky / Karajan
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 463614 Release Date: 06/13/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Performer:  Michel Schwalbé
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Don Kossack Choir
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  • 116.
    Borodin, Mussorgsky, Et Al / Heinrich Hollreiser, Vienna So
    Label: Tuxedo Music   Catalog: 1009 Release Date: 04/15/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Heinrich Hollreiser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $13.98
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  • 117.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Etc / Claudio Abbado, Berlin Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453496 Release Date: 02/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 118.
    Greatest Masterpieces Of The Millennium - Tchaikovsky
    Label: Platinum Disc   Catalog: 1736 Release Date: 01/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 119.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Etc / Domingo, Philharmonia
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 73297 Release Date: 04/20/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Ofra Harnoy,  Randall Behr
    Conductor:  Placido Domingo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    CD: $7.99
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  • 120.
    Cinema Classics 6
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 556626 Release Date: 09/29/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jean de Sainte-Colombe,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Marie Knight,  Alison Crum,  Elizabeth Liddle,  Susanna Pell  ... 
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper,  Bohdan Warchal,  Alexander Rahbari,  Anthony Bramall  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Spectre de la Rose,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Capella Istropolitana  ... 
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  • 121.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 2, 1812 Overture, Fate / Pletnev
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 453446 Release Date: 06/29/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
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  • 122.
    The Tchaikovsky Album / Solti, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 455810 Release Date: 06/09/1998   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $16.99
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  • 123.
    Symphonic Battle Scenes / Maazel, Bayerischen Rundfunks
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 68471 Release Date: 11/11/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 124.
    The Best Of Tchaikovsky
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8556652 Release Date: 09/11/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Ilona Prunyi,  Takako Nishizaki,  Maria Kliegel,  Bernd Glemser
    Conductor:  Antoni Wit,  Philippe Entremont,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Adrian Leaper  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra Katowice,  Vienna Chamber Orchestra,  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava  ... 
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  • 125.
    Tchaikovsky Spectacular / Litton, Dallas Symphony Orchestra And Chorus
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3196 Release Date: 05/21/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Svetlana Furdui,  Vassily Gerelo
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Chorus
    CD: $17.99
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