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, Grieg: Piano Concertos / Stewart Goodyear
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30035   Number of Discs: 1
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Opera In English - Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin / Mackerras
Release Date: 04/24/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 3042   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Complete Suites / Järvi, Detroit So
Release Date: 11/17/1998   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9676   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: String Quartets / Klenke Quartet
Release Date: 04/13/2010   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 16502   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty / Jarvi, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5113   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Romeo and Juliet Overture

Browse 26-50 of 224 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky: Romeo & Juliet / Gatti, RPO
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 51343 Release Date: 06/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 7 Release Date: 06/01/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Anton Rubinstein,  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák,  Niccolò Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Ponti,  Iwan Czerkow,  Dubravka Tomsic,  Ivan Cerkov  ... 
    Conductor:  Othmar M. F. Mága,  Heribert Beissel,  Vladimir Petroschoff,  Alfred Scholz  ... 
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  • 28.
    The Art Of Giuseppe Sinopoli - Orchestral Works
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 1986056 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Titus,  Thomas Moser,  Felicity Palmer,  Solveig Kringelborn  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden State Opera Chorus,  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 29.
    Best Overtures 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 27333 Release Date: 05/22/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Gianluigi Gelmetti,  Lamberto Gardelli,  Sir Colin Davis  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    Great Russian Symphonies
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501059 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper,  Gerard Schwarz,  Antoni Wit,  Theodore Kuchar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Katowice Polish Radio/TV Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Seattle Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 31.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4, 5,  6; Romeo And Juliet Overture; 1812 Overture / Barenboim, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 2564663139 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim
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  • 32.
    Icon - Guido Cantelli: Fiery Angel Of The Podium
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog:  6790432 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Schubert,  César Franck  ... 
    Performer:  Dennis Brain
    Conductor:  Guido Cantelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Santa Cecilia Academy Rome Orchestra  ... 
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  • 33.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Fedoseyev, Rozhdestvensky, Simonov
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94307 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Vladimir Fedoseyev,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Yuri Simonov,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 34.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0087 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
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  • 35.
    Best Of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Label: Tgg Direct   Catalog: 60264 Release Date: 11/22/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 36.
    PentaTone - The First 10 Years
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186500 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Aram Khachaturian,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Julia Fischer,  Sa Chen,  Arabella Steinbacher,  Bram Beekman  ... 
    Conductor:  Yakov Kreizberg,  Simon Murphy,  Lawrence Foster,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra,  Russian National Orchestra,  Chamber Soloists of The New Dutch Academy  ... 
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  • 37.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philharmonia
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 97999 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Tchaikovsky: The Great Symphonies / Barbirolli, Halle Orchestra
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 119 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra
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  • 39.
    From Russia With Music / Spivakov, National Philharmonic Of Russia
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7859402 Release Date: 05/17/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Conductor:  Vladimir Spivakov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Of Russia,  Popov Academy Of Choral Arts Choir
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  • 40.
    The Norman And Beard Organ Of Wellington Town Hall, New Zealand
    Label: Priory Records   Catalog: 1030 Release Date: 05/10/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edwin Lemare,  Maewa Kaihau,  Albert W. Ketèlbey,  Marco Enrico Bossi  ... 
    Performer:  Douglas Mews
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  • 41.
    Claudio Abbado Conducts Tchaikovsky
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7836722 Release Date: 04/05/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Tchaikovsky And Shakespeare / Dudamel, Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001529602 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Gustavo Dudamel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
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  • 43.
    Tchaikovsky Symphony No 4, Romeo And Juliet / Pletnev, Russian National Orchestra
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186384 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Tchaikovsky: Orchestral Works, Symphonies 1-6  / Jarvi, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1897 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 104 Release Date: 12/21/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Igor Stravinsky,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
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  • 46.
    Bernstein Edition - Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien, Romeo & Juliet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 431047 Release Date: 12/18/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Waldbuhne 2010 - An Evening With Renee Fleming
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058078 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Ruggero Leoncavallo,  Richard Strauss,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  Ion Marin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Waldbuhne 2010 - An Evening With Renee Fleming [Blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2058074 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Aram Khachaturian,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Renée Fleming
    Conductor:  Ion Marin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 49.
    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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  • 50.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4-6, Serenade, Romeo & Juliet / Gatti
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2907561 Release Date: 10/12/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Daniele Gatti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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