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: Romeo and Juliet Overture

Browse 1-25 of 192 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    Bamberg Symphony: The First 70 Years
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002474902 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Kempff,  Carl Seemann,  Pilar Lorengar,  Gottlob Frick  ... 
    Conductor:  Joseph Keilberth,  Fritz Lehmann,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Richard Krauss  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $52.99
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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.
    Deutsche Grammophon: The Mono Era (1948-1957)
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002457272 Release Date: 03/18/2016   Number of Discs: 51
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Askenase,  Shura Cherkassky,  Halina Czerny-Stefanska,  Basile Bolotine  ... 
    Conductor:  Karel Ancerl,  Karl Böhm,  Serge Jaroff,  Leopold Ludwig  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Quartet,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $145.99
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  • 6.
    Orford Six Pianos, Vol. 2: Khatchatourian, Prokofiev, Tchaikovski, Moussorgski
    Label: Atma Classique   Catalog: 2733 Release Date: 02/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Aram Khachaturian,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orford Six Pianos
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Tchaikovsky, Berlioz & Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet / Kondrashin, Monteux, Mravinsky
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350116 Release Date: 02/05/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Hector Berlioz
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Pierre Monteux
    SuperAudio CD: $23.99
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  • 8.
    The Organ Of Rochdale Town Hall: Overture Transcriptions, Vol. 2
    Label: Delphian   Catalog: DCD34143 Release Date: 12/25/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Otto Nicolai,  Louis Spohr,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Timothy Byram-Wigfield
    CD: $19.99
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  • 9.
    The Complete HMV Recordings / Markevitch
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 552546 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Richard Strauss,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Jacques Neilz,  Denyse Gouarne,  Fernand Dufrene,  Henri Bronschwak  ... 
    Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
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  • 10.
    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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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    Tchaikovsky Edition / Berlin Philharmonic [3-DVD Set]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2060968 Release Date: 04/28/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Simon Rattle,  Mariss Jansons,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $64.49
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  • 13.
    Lorin Maazel - The Complete Early Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002251502 Release Date: 02/17/2015   Number of Discs: 18
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Igor Stravinsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Jeanine Collard,  Jane Berbié,  Sylvaine Gilma,  Colette Herzog  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Radio Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $85.99
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  • 14.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture; Capriccio Italien; Romeo And Juliet; Etc.
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 121167 Release Date: 02/03/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Philippe Entremont
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    CD: $29.99
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  • 15.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 16.
    Karajan - 1980s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002187902 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 78
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Jacques Offenbach  ... 
    Performer:  David Bell,  José Van Dam,  Barbara Hendricks,  Gösta Winbergh  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Domenico Bartolucci
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein  ... 
    CD: $245.99
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  • 17.
    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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  • 18.
    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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  • 19.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 1-6; Manfred Symphony; Orchestral Works
    Label: Relief Classical   Catalog: 210307 Release Date: 09/30/2014   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Victor Simon,  Vitaly Tarashchenko,  Marina Mesheriakova
    Conductor:  Vladimr Fedosseyev
    CD: $39.99
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  • 20.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philharmonia
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 627825 Release Date: 09/02/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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    CD: $21.99
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  • 21.
    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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  • 22.
    Tchaikovsky: Capriccio Italien, Francesca da Rimini / Collins, Van Beinum
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 002083002 Release Date: 08/12/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Anthony Collins,  Eduard Van Beinum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Waldbuhne / Fleming, Bronfman, Chailly, Marin, Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 59988 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Igor Stravinsky,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Yefim Bronfman,  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Ion Marin,  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Waldbuhne / Fleming, Bronfman, Chailly, Marin, Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 59984 Release Date: 07/29/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Igor Stravinsky,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Yefim Bronfman,  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Ion Marin,  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $64.49
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