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: Swan Lake / Jarvi, Bergen
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5124   Number of Discs: 2
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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: Sleeping Beauty / Jarvi, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5113   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky & Chopin / Ingolf Wunder, Vladimir Ashkenazy, St. Petersburg Philharmonic
Release Date: 07/15/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002092802   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Capriccio Italien

Browse 51-75 of 128 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Jansons, Oslo Philharmonic
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10392 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Highlights Tschaikowsky: Dornroschen; Capriccio Italien; Schwanensee; Eugen Onegin
    Label: Delta Ent.   Catalog: 772807 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 53.
    Orchestral Showpieces - Bernstein, Strauss, Dukas, Et Al
    Label: Emi Seraphim   Catalog: 69104 Release Date: 02/21/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Richard Wagner,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Klaus Tennstedt,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 54.
    Concert Russe - Tchaikovsky, Etc / Steinberg, Pittsburgh So
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67249 Release Date: 12/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
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  • 55.
    Tchaikovsky: Romeo & Juliet / Ashkenazy, Royal Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 421715 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 56.
    A Life In Music - The Anniversary Gala From Leipzig / Kurt Masur
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2056328 Release Date: 11/20/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Paul Dukas,  George Gershwin,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  Middle German Radio Chorus Leipzig
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  • 57.
    Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite, Serenade For Strings / Stokowski
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4428335 Release Date: 10/27/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 58.
    Tchaikovsky: Suite No 3, Capriccio Italien, Etc / Boult, Lpo
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 63095 Release Date: 10/12/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 59.
    Orchestral Masterworks / Steinberg, Pittsburgh Symphony
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 65204 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Mikhail Glinka,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
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  • 60.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-4 / Andrew Litton, Bournemouth
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 59699 Release Date: 10/09/2007   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
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  • 61.
    Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Capriccio Italien / Spivakov
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 63890 Release Date: 09/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Spivakov
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies No 4-6, Etc / Bernstein
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000958502 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 63.
    Tchaikovsky: Capricho Italiano; Marcha Eslava; Vals De Las Flores
    Label: Grafisound   Catalog: 697733 Release Date: 07/17/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Hans-Jürgen Walther
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  • 64.
    Tchaikovsky, Beethoven / Dorati, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000897902 Release Date: 07/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Kamiel Lefévre
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  University of Minnesota Brass Band,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 65.
    Tchaikovsky: Romeo & Juliet; Francesca Da Rimini; Capricio Italien; Overture 1812
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 4643862 Release Date: 05/14/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Federation State Symphony Orchestra
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  • 66.
    The Glory Of Rostropovich / 8-Disc Set
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000839202 Release Date: 03/20/2007   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Martha Argerich,  Rudolf Serkin
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Leonard Bernstein,  Myung-Whun Chung,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Emerson String Quartet  ... 
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  • 67.
    Russian Romantic Transcriptions / Aurora Quartet
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8557717 Release Date: 07/13/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Glazunov,  Mily Balakirev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aurora Piano Quartet
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  • 68.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Etc / Szell, Cleveland So
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 78744 Release Date: 06/06/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 69.
    Evgeni Mravinsky (Box)
    Label: Membran International Gmbh   Catalog: 1073090 Release Date: 04/27/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Tchaikovsky: The Symphonies, Etc / Mehta, Lapo
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000623502 Release Date: 04/11/2006   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 71.
    Nicolai Malko - The Danish Collection
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 549/50 Release Date: 02/03/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Nielsen,  Aram Khachaturian,  Alexander Glazunov,  Anatole Liadov  ... 
    Conductor:  Nicolai Malko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish State Radio Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 72.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Capriccio Italien
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 414 Release Date: 02/03/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein
    Conductor:  Ilya Stupel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artur Rubinstein State Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 73.
    Weekend Classics - A Tchaikovsky Weekend
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000577302 Release Date: 01/10/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Claudio Abbado,  Ferenc Fricsay,  Charles Dutoit  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 74.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 4, Etc / Gatti, Royal Po
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 807393 Release Date: 12/13/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 75.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Etc / Neeme Järvi, Gothenburg So
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1408 Release Date: 03/29/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
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