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: Symphony No 6; Schoenberg / Barenboim, West-Eastern Divan
Release Date: 06/07/2011   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001560702   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky, Grieg: Piano Concertos / Stewart Goodyear
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30035   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake / Jarvi, Bergen
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5124   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty / Jarvi, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5113   Number of Discs: 2
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Historical - Tchaikovsky: Complete String Quartets / Borodin
Release Date: 01/23/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9871   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: 1812 Overture, Op. 49

Browse 26-50 of 172 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien, Marche Slave, Swan Lake Suite / Alwyn
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4805048 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Kenneth Alwyn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Fedoseyev, Rozhdestvensky, Simonov
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94307 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    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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  • 28.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0369 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Elisabeth Höngen
    Conductor:  Mario Rossi
    CD: $9.99
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  • 29.
    Best Of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Label: Tgg Direct   Catalog: 60264 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    CD: $6.99
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  • 30.
    I Am An American / United States Air Force Concert Band & Singing Sergeants
    Label: Altissimo   Catalog: 70412 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Floyd Werlé,  Dudley Buck,  Carmen Dragon,  Morton Gould  ... 
    Performer:  Carol Hawkins Wiley,  Anne Seaton
    Conductor:  Lowell E. Graham
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  United States Air Force Singing Sergeants,  United States Air Force Concert Band
    CD: $17.99
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  • 31.
    Composers Gold
    Label: United Multimedia   Catalog: 53071 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    CD: $10.99
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  • 32.
    Rise Of The Masters: 100 Supreme Classical Masterpieces
    Label: X5 Music Group   Catalog: 107 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  George Frideric Handel,  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Jakob Lindberg,  Yoshikazu Mera,  Finghin Collins,  Dubravka Tomsic  ... 
    Conductor:  Nils-Erik Sparf,  Shigeo Genda,  Bohdan Warchal,  Masaaki Suzuki  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Drottningholm Baroque Ensemble,  Bach Collegium Japan,  Arion Trio  ... 
    CD: $24.99
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  • 33.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philharmonia
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 97999 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Claudio Abbado Conducts Tchaikovsky
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7836722 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture; Liszt, Mendelssohn, Borodin, Mussorgsky / Reiner, Cso
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 70073 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Franz Liszt,  Dmitri Kabalevsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Capriccio Italien, 1812 Overture / Oistrakh, Kondrashin, Reiner
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 24704 Release Date: 02/18/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  USSR Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Bernstein Edition - Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien, Romeo & Juliet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431047 Release Date: 12/18/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Tchaikovsky: The Symphonies / Mikhail Pletnev [7-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001477302 Release Date: 10/19/2010   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Label: Northquest   Catalog: 315005 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Georges Bizet,  Edvard Grieg,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
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  • 40.
    Seiji Ozawa - Anniversary [11-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001464002 Release Date: 09/14/2010   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Trevor Pinnock,  Everett Firth,  Simon Preston,  Kathleen Battle  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 41.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien, Marche Slave / Haitink
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 422469 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Best Tchaikovsky 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 56339 Release Date: 05/04/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Charles Abramovic,  Sarah Chang,  Ayako Uehara,  Olaf Maninger  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons,  Seiji Ozawa,  Lovro von Matacic,  Richard Hickox  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra  ... 
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  • 43.
    Tchaikovsky: Romeo & Juliet, Symphony No 2, 1812 / Slatkin
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 68045 Release Date: 03/12/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Marche Slave, Etc / Bernstein
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 415379 Release Date: 03/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture; Borodin: Polovtsian Dances / Gergiev, Kirov Orchestra
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4782122 Release Date: 01/19/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Aram Khachaturian,  Alexander Borodin,  Anatole Liadov  ... 
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Dutch Royal Military Band,  Kirov Theater Chorus
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  • 46.
    Berlitz Passport - The Music Of Russia
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 47282 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anonymous,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Maurice Jarre,  Aram Khachaturian  ... 
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz,  Leonard Bernstein,  Eugene Ormandy,  Sir Andrew Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 47.
    Yo-Yo Ma - 30 Years Outside the Box
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 752307 Release Date: 10/27/2009   Number of Discs: 90
    Composer:  Sandeep Das,  Traditional,  Kayhan Kalhor,  Zhou Long  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Gramley,  Kim Dong-Won,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Mark Suter  ... 
    Conductor:  Miguel Harth-Bedoya,  John Williams,  Ennio Morricone,  Isaac Stern  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Silk Road Ensemble,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Qi Lin  ... 
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  • 48.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Moscow Cantata, Marche Slave / Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Orchestra
    Label: Mariinsky   Catalog: 503 Release Date: 10/13/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Bernstein Favorites - Tchaikovsky: Capriccio Italian, Marche Slav, 1812 Overture, Romeo & Juliet
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 46711 Release Date: 09/14/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 50.
    Ultimate Russian Classics [5-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001313502 Release Date: 08/25/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit,  Ernest Ansermet,  Riccardo Muti,  Sir Neville Marriner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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