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: 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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Tchaikovsky: Romeo & Juliet, Capriccio Italien, 1812 Overture / Simonov
Release Date: 11/11/2008   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28120   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Serenade Melancolique / Vinnikov, Menuhin
Release Date: 03/08/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28320   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71a

Browse 1-25 of 131 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Herbert Von Karajan: 3 Classic Albums - Tchaikovsky
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002120402 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Claudio Abbado Conducts Tchaikovsky
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   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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  • 3.
    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,  Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Karajan 1949-1960: Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Balakirev, Stravinsky
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 633620 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Mily Balakirev,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  Boris Christoff
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 6.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Karajan, Vienna [Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002009946 Release Date: 03/18/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 8.
    Sir Adrian Boult - The Complete Conductor
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 1927023 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Gustav Holst,  Robert Simpson,  Sir Arthur Bliss  ... 
    Performer:  Felicity Palmer
    Conductor:  Sir Adrian Boult
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $35.49
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  • 9.
    Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite; Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals - Arrangements for Organ 4-hands
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94881 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Ralf Bolting
    Performer:  Emanuele Cardi,  Gianfranco Nicoletti
    CD: $8.99
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  • 10.
    Eugene Ormandy Conducts Tchaikovsky
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 1119166 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 11.
    Tchaikovsky, Ellington/Strayhorn: Nutcracker Suites
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 907493 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edward "Duke" Ellington,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Bob Millikan,  Bill Easley,  Victor Lewis,  Art Baron  ... 
    Conductor:  Steven Richman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harmonie Ensemble New York
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  • 12.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites
    Label: Classical Gallery   Catalog: 7701294 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Peter Stern
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  • 13.
    The Art Of Sir Georg Solti
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 1037609 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 25
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Zoltán Kodály,  Leó Weiner,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alexandru Agache,  Tamás Daróczy,  Julia Varády,  Iris Vermillion  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Hungarian Radio/TV Chorus,  Budapest Festival Orchestra  ... 
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  • 14.
    Hans Knappertsbusch Conducts The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra: Berlioz, Schubert, Strauss
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2386 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Otto Nicolai,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Carl Maria von Weber,  Karel Komzak II  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001707502 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Josef Sivo,  Emanuel Brabec
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 16.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection [84 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 791631 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Nan Merriman,  Jan Peerce,  Norman Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
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  • 17.
    Famous Ballet Music
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9251 Release Date: 05/29/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Adolphe Adam,  Léo Delibes,  Aram Khachaturian,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Lillian Watson,  Christine Cairns
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Carl Davis,  Yuri Simonov,  Enrique Bátiz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $27.49
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  • 18.
    Hans Knappertsbusch - Complete Concert, Berlin, 02.02.1950
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: ARPCD0120 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Karel Komzak II  ... 
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  • 19.
    Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite, Swan Lake Suite / Simonov, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28060 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
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  • 20.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7840072 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 21.
    Voyage Russe / Alliage Quintett
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7853452 Release Date: 03/29/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Mikhail Glinka,  Aram Khachaturian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alliage Quintett
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  • 22.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Nutcracker Suite / Rozhdestvensky, Kogan
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1106 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Pavel Kogan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR Ministry of Culture State Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow State Symphony Orchestra
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  • 23.
    The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra 70th Anniversary - Essential Recordings [12-CD Set]
    Label: Helicon   Catalog: 9614 Release Date: 12/07/2010   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Schubert,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Shlomo Mintz,  Julius Katchen,  Artur Rubinstein,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Kletzki,  Josef Krips,  Sir Georg Solti,  Jean Martinon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ankor Children's Chorus,  Israel Philharmonia Singers
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  • 24.
    Label: Russian Music Society   Catalog: 5637706765 Release Date: 11/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yuri Botnari
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  • 25.
    111 - The Collector's Edition 2 [56-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4779142 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 56
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Maurice Ravel,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Stuart Harling,  Robert Lloyd,  Sherrill Milnes,  Placido Domingo  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  John Nelson,  Leonard Bernstein,  Jerzy Semkow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers,  George Watson's College Boys' Chorus  ... 
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