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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: The Nutcracker / Baryshnikov, Kirkland, American Ballet Theatre
Release Date: 09/28/2004   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2925   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: The Nutcracker Suite;  Rachmaninov / Argerich
Release Date: 11/04/2008   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 410616   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Marche slave, Op. 31

Browse 26-50 of 114 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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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  • 27.
    Essential Tchaikovsky
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 07149 Release Date: 02/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Vladimir Spivakov,  Lucia Popp,  Maxim Vengerov  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Fedoseyev,  Riccardo Muti,  Herbert von Karajan,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
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  • 28.
    An Evening With Leopold Stokowski / Richard Egarr, Brussels Philharmonic
    Label: Glossa   Catalog: 922209 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pietro Antonio Cesti,  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Conductor:  Richard Egarr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 29.
    Menuhin: The Album
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28570 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 30.
    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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  • 31.
    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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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5 / Yutaka Sado, Deutsches Symphonie Orchestra
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72356 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yutaka Sado
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  • 34.
    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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  • 35.
    Pomp & Circumstance - Magnificent Marches
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 411954 Release Date: 12/29/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Christoph von Dohnányi,  Richard Bonynge,  Walter Weller  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 36.
    Starlight Fantasie / Rozsa, Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orch
    Label: Emi Studio   Catalog: 63662 Release Date: 12/01/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  Franz Liszt,  Johannes Brahms,  Iosif Ivanovici  ... 
    Conductor:  Miklós Rózsa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6 / Menuhin, RPO
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28110 Release Date: 11/10/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yehudi Menuhin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 39.
    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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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    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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  • 42.
    Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Dukas / Barenboim
    Label: Dg Galleria   Catalog: 453291 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Paul Dukas
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestre de Paris
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 43.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Marche Slav / Ormandy
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38052 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Mason Jones
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Sinfonietta
    Label: Intent   Catalog: 5637349293 Release Date: 03/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Dennis Bathory-Kitsz,  John T. Williams,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    CD: $16.99
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  • 45.
    Tchaikovsky Fantasy / Katia & Marielle Labèque
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 442778 Release Date: 02/18/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Alexander Scriabin
    Performer:  Marielle Labèque,  Katia Labèque
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 46.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Etc / Maazel, Vienna Po
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 37252 Release Date: 01/07/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 47.
    Karajan - Symphony Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001211702 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 38
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Peter Schreier,  Anna Tomowa-Sintow,  José Van Dam
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $95.99
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  • 48.
    We Love A Parade / Mccann, Sellers Engineering Band
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4527 Release Date: 10/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alan Fernie,  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Joseph John Richards,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sellers Engineering Band
    CD: $11.99
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  • 49.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Etc / Friedmann, Russian Po
    Label: Arte Nova   Catalog: 304920 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Samuel Friedmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 50.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812, Marche Slave, Romeo & Juliet / Mehta
    Label: London/Decca Weekend Classics   Catalog: 417683 Release Date: 08/05/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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