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 Edition
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94650   Number of Discs: 55
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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: The Oprichnik / Rozhdestvensky
Release Date: 10/30/2012   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94390   Number of Discs: 3
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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: Cherevichki / Rozhdesvensky, Teatro Lirico Di Cagliari
Release Date: 07/31/2012   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94375   Number of Discs: 3
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Work: Marche slave, Op. 31

Browse 51-75 of 125 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    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
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  • 52.
    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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  • 53.
    Russian Favorites - Liadov, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-korsakov / Barbirolli
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2325 Release Date: 11/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Anatole Liadov
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 54.
    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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  • 55.
    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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  • 56.
    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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  • 57.
    Tchaikovsky: 6 Symphonies, Etc / Abbado, Chicago So, Et Al
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88807 Release Date: 11/28/2006   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 58.
    Willem Mengelberg - Beethoven, Schubert, Weber, Et Al
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1078 Release Date: 10/24/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Willem Mengelberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 59.
    Label: Ovidiu Marinescu   Catalog: 5637423653 Release Date: 08/29/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 60.
    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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  • 61.
    Thomas Jensen Conducts The Aarhus Civic Orchestra
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 497 Release Date: 02/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  C. C. Moller,  Svend Erik Tarp,  Johann Strauss Sr.,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Conductor:  Thomas Jensen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aarhus Civic Orchestra
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  • 62.
    Enfants Classiques - Le Meilleur De Tchaikovsky
    Label: Children's Group   Catalog: 84399 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Philippe Entremont,  Theodore Kuchar,  Michael Halász
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra,  Ukranian State Symphony Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 63.
    Niños Clásicos - Lo Mejor De Tchaikovsky
    Label: Children's Group   Catalog: 84405 Release Date: 10/18/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Andrew Mogrelia,  Theodore Kuchar,  Michael Halász,  Ondrej Lenárd  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 64.
    Golovanov Conducts Tchaikovsky / Gilels, Et Al
    Label: Gebhardt   Catalog: 58 Release Date: 09/27/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  Lyudmilla Legostayeva,  Daniel Damianoff,  Georgi Vinogradov
    Conductor:  Nikolai S. Golovanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  All-Union Radio Orchestra,  All-Union Radio/TV Large Symphony Orchestra,  All-Union Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 65.
    Hi-Fi Arthur Fiedler / Boston Pops
    Label: Rca Victor Living Stereo   Catalog: 67895 Release Date: 07/26/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Franz Liszt,  Emmanuel Chabrier  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 66.
    Original Masters - Leopold Stokowski Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000394902 Release Date: 02/08/2005   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Erich Gruenberg,  Alexander Young,  Donald McIntyre,  Heather Harper  ... 
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Chorus,  Royal Philharmonic Chorus,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 67.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies No 1-6, Etc / Antal Dorati, Et Al
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 000337402 Release Date: 11/09/2004   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Anton Arensky,  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 68.
    Classical Kids - The Best Of Tchaikovsky
    Label: Children's Group   Catalog: 84384 Release Date: 10/19/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Andrew Mogrelia,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Theodore Kuchar,  Adrian Leaper  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 69.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Reiner, Chicago
    Label: Rca Victor Living Stereo   Catalog: 61394 Release Date: 09/14/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Dmitri Kabalevsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 70.
    Trio - Tchaikovsky: Symphonic Poems, Etc / Pletnev, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000247602 Release Date: 06/15/2004   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
    CD: $23.99
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  • 71.
    Expanded Edition - Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Etc / Bernstein, Et Al
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 93076 Release Date: 02/24/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
    CD: $8.99
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  • 72.
    Complete Collections - Tchaikovsky: Symphonies / Temirkanov
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 55781 Release Date: 12/16/2003   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 73.
    Stokowski In Rehearsal
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 536 Release Date: 10/21/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 74.
    Katia & Marielle Labèque - Piano Fantasy
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 000122102 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Francis Poulenc,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  George Gershwin,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Marielle Labèque,  Katia Labèque
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa,  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Labèque Sisters,  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 75.
    International Salute / Erich Kunzel, Cincinnati Pops
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 5132 Release Date: 08/27/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Emmanuel Chabrier,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giacomo Meyerbeer  ... 
    Performer:  Jack Wellbaum
    Conductor:  Erich Kunzel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Pops,  May Festival Chorus
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