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: Complete Works for Violin & Orchestra / Koh, Vedernikov, Odense Symphony
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Cedille Records  
Catalog: 166   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 2 & Concert Fanatsia / Nebolsin, Stern, New Zealand Symphony
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573462   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Eugen Onegin / Levine, Allen, Freni, Von Otter
Release Date: 10/25/1990   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 423959   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame / Didyk, Magee, Boder
Release Date: 07/26/2011   Label: Opus Arte  
Catalog: 1050   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin / Bychkov, Hvorostovsky, Focile
Release Date: 02/15/1994   Label: Philips  
Catalog: 438235   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Marche slave, Op. 31

Browse 101-107 of 107 Available Recordings
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  • 101.
    Tchaikovsky: Tchaikovsky Festival
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550500 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 102.
    Classical Kids - Tchaikovsky Discovers America
    Label: Children's Group   Catalog: 84240 Release Date: 09/14/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Traditional
    Performer:  John Arpin
    Conductor:  Walter Babiak
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Studio Arts Orchestra,  High Park Girls Choir
    CD: $14.99
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  • 103.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, March Slav, Etc / Antal Dorati
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 434305 Release Date: 03/10/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 104.
    Tchaikovsky - Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60845 Release Date: 09/06/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Arthur Fiedler,  Erich Leinsdorf,  Wilhelm Schüchter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Pops,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 105.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca Victrola   Catalog: 60492 Release Date: 06/21/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    CD: $6.99
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  • 106.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812, Marche Slave, Etc / Järvi, Gothenburg So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 429984 Release Date: 03/08/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Chorus,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 107.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812, Etc / Dutoit, Montreal So
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417300 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Chorus,  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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