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, Bruch: Violin Concertos / Benedetti, Hrusa, Czech Philharmonic
Release Date: 02/22/2011   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001527102   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philharmonia
Release Date: 09/02/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 627825   Number of Discs: 5
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Songs By Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Etc / Ewa Podles, Garrick Ohlsson
Release Date: 02/24/2009   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 27   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-3 / Valery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 10/09/2012   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 710   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Sacred Choral Music / Ahmann, NDR Chor
Release Date: 07/08/2016   Label: Carus  
Catalog: 83338   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Marche slave, Op. 31

Browse 1-25 of 107 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 & Marche slave / Kobayashi, Czech Philharmonic
    Label: Exton   Catalog: 64 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Ken-Ichiro Kobayashi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $52.98
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  • 2.
    Symphonies & Symphonic Poems / Mehta
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002488802 Release Date: 05/13/2016   Number of Discs: 23
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Hector Berlioz,  Anton Bruckner  ... 
    Performer:  Sidney Harth,  Maureen Forrester,  Daniel Benyamini,  Christa Ludwig  ... 
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $65.99
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  • 3.
    Tchaikovsky Selections / Pletnev, Russian National Orchestra
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186550 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 4.
    The Leonard Bernstein Collection, Vol. 2
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002462302 Release Date: 04/08/2016   Number of Discs: 64
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Alessi,  Glenn Dicterow,  Philip Smith,  Jaap Van Zweden  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Bach Festival Percussion Ensemble
    CD: $202.99
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  • 5.
    Tchaikovsky: The Symphonies And Manfred
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186489 Release Date: 09/11/2015   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $68.99
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  • 6.
    Tchaikovsky: Masterworks Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002362102 Release Date: 09/04/2015   Number of Discs: 27
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Rosemarie Lang,  Anne Sofie von Otter,  Ruthid Engert-Ely,  Mirella Freni  ... 
    Conductor:  James Levine,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Seiji Ozawa,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Staatskapelle Dresden,  Tchaikovsky Choir,  French National Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $78.99
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  • 7.
    Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony... / Nelsons, Birmingham
    Label: Orfeo   Catalog: 895151 Release Date: 06/09/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Andris Nelsons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Seiji Ozawa: The Complete Warner Recordings
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 2564613951 Release Date: 05/26/2015   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály  ... 
    Performer:  Itzhak Perlman,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Michel Béroff,  Masuko Ushioda  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris,  Japan Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 9.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 3
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 002275902 Release Date: 03/23/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Lehár,  Emil Waldteufel,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Rafael Druian,  Georges Miquelle,  Eugene List,  Alfred Mouledous  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski,  Frederick Fennell,  Anatole Fistoulari  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 10.
    Tchaikovsky: Marche Slave; Romeo And Juliet; 1812 Overture; Theme And Variations Suite No. 3; Sleeping Beauty Waltz
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2409 Release Date: 02/03/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Manoug Parikian
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent
    On sale! $15.98
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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    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  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 13.
    Claudio Abbado Conducts Tchaikovsky
    Label: Sony   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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    Beruhmte Marsche
    Label: Da Capo Austria   Catalog: 277 Release Date: 05/20/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Richard Wagner,  Josef Schrammel,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Matthias G. Kendlinger
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  • 16.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection, Vol. 1
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 541497 Release Date: 04/15/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Claude Debussy,  Jacques Ibert,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Berj Zamkochian,  John Weicher,  Philip Farkas,  Jascha Heifetz  ... 
    Conductor:  Charles Munch,  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin,  Arthur Fiedler  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  New England Conservatory Chorus,  New England Conservatory Alumni Chorus  ... 
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    On sale! $125.98
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  • 17.
    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: $117.99
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  • 18.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $38.98
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    Fritz Reiner - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 370198 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 63
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johannes Brahms,  Rolf Liebermann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Jascha Heifetz,  Emil Gilels,  Inge Borkh  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Lyric Theatre Chorus,  Studio Orchestra
    Recommendation
    On sale! $199.98
    CD: $195.99
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  • 21.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22318 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Dimitri Mitropoulos
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  • 22.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Slavonic March / Poppen, Deutsche Radio Philharmonie
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 763 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Christoph Poppen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsche Radio Philharmonie
    CD: $17.99
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  • 23.
    50 Best London Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333092 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Michel Béroff,  Jeanne Loriod,  Simon Preston,  André Previn  ... 
    Conductor:  André Previn,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 24.
    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  ... 
    CD: $154.99
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  • 25.
    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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