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: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 / Matsuev
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Mariinsky  
Catalog: 548   Number of Discs: 1
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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: Eugene Onegin / Netrebko, Beczala, Gergiev, Met
Release Date: 03/04/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 1994309   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Moscow Cantata, Marche Slave / Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Orchestra
Release Date: 10/13/2009   Label: Mariinsky  
Catalog: 503   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Rococo Variations

Browse 1-25 of 108 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Tchaikovsky Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94650 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Derek Hammond-Stroud,  Janis Kelly,  Nikolai Vassiliev,  Alexander Arkhipov  ... 
    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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  • 2.
    Mstislav Rostropovich  - Three Classic Albums
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001999802 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Luigi Boccherini,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Paul Sacher,  Herbert von Karajan,  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Collegium Musicum,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Romeo & Juliet, Rococo Variations / Nakariakov, Temirkanov
    Label: Bel Air Classiques   Catalog: 88 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Sergei Nakariakov
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Greatest Cello Concertos / Truls Mork [9-CD Set]
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 158102 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Truls Otterbech Mork
    Conductor:  Iona Brown,  Mariss Jansons,  Paavo Järvi,  Eiji Oue  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Norwegian Chamber Orchestra,  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 6.
    Elgar: Cello Concerto; Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations / Queyras, Belohlavek
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 902148 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Jean-Guihen Queyras
    Conductor:  Jiri Belohlávek
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 7.
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: MELCD1001938 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Shafran,  Anton Ginsburg,  Felix Gotlib,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Arvid Yansons,  Neeme Järvi,  Kiril Kondrashin
    CD: $74.49
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  • 8.
    Prokofiev: Sinfonia Concertante; Tchaikovsky: Variations On A Rococo Theme; Andante Cantabile
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 755652 Release Date: 07/09/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    CD: $8.99
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  • 9.
    Yo-Yo Ma Plays Great Cello Masterworks
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5438572 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Edouard Lalo,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Sir William Walton  ... 
    Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma,  Margaret Faultless,  Emanuel Ax
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  André Previn,  José L. Garcia,  Pinchas Zukerman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  ORTF National Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 10.
    10 Classic Albums / Mischa Maisky [11-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001801402 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod,  George Frideric Handel,  Jean-Baptiste Lully  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Maisky,  Pavel Gililov,  Daria Hovora,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $61.49
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  • 11.
    Dvorak: Cello Concerto; Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 352972 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Terje Tonnesen,  Truls Otterbech Mork
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
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  • 12.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 2, Rococo Variations, Andante Cantabile / Elschenbroich, Kitayenko
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 669 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Leonard Elschenbroich
    Conductor:  Dmitri Kitayenko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations; Gloriana Excerpts / Rostropovich, Pears, Britten
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5025 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Peter Pears
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Aldeburgh Festival Chorus
    DVD: $24.99
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  • 14.
    Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto; Rococo Variations
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002013 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky
    CD: $18.99
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  • 15.
    Saint-Saens & Tchaikovsky / Gabel, Tetreault / Orchestre Symphonique De Quebec
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 29881 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Stéphane Tétreault
    Conductor:  Fabien Gabel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quebec Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.49
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  • 16.
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: MELCD1001302 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 17.
    The Very Best Of Paul Tortelier
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 21730 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johannes Brahms,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Paul Tortelier,  Maria de La Pau,  Max Rostal,  Shuku Iwasaki  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Tortelier,  Jörg Faerber,  Rudolf Kempe,  Sir Adrian Boult  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    Daniil Shafran - Cello
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001938 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Luigi Boccherini,  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Daniil Shafran,  Felix Gotlib,  Anton Ginsburg,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra,  Academic Symphony Orchestra Of The Moscow State Philharmonic
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  • 19.
    Sergei Nakariakov - Trumpet & Orchestra  [6-CD Set]
    Label: Teldec   Catalog: 993672 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johann Nepomuk Hummel,  André Jolivet,  Henri Tomasi  ... 
    Performer:  Sergei Nakariakov
    Conductor:  Jesús Lopez-Cobos,  Hugh Wolff,  Jörg Faerber,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lausanne Chamber Orchestra,  St. Paul Chamber Orchestra,  Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn  ... 
    CD: $39.99
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  • 20.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1, Rococo Variations / Eschenbach, Barto, Maslennikov
    Label: Capriccio Records   Catalog: 5065 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Dmitri Maslennikov,  Tzimon Barto
    Conductor:  Christoph Eschenbach
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
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  • 21.
    The Russian Archives - Mstislav Rostropovitch Plays Russian Cello Concertos
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9240 Release Date: 10/25/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Glazunov,  Aram Khachaturian,  Nikolay Myaskovsky,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    CD: $16.99
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  • 22.
    Bbc Legends: Rostropovich
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 50052 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Aram Khachaturian,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  George Hurst,  Sir Colin Davis,  Benjamin Britten,  Yevgeny Svetlanov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  USSR State Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 23.
    Schubert, Tchaikovsky, Bruch / Maxim Rysanov, Muhai Tang, Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1843 Release Date: 08/23/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Max Bruch
    Performer:  Maxim Rysanov
    Conductor:  Muhai Tang
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Chamber Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $21.49
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  • 24.
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 8020 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Giovanni Bottesini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Ovidiu Badila,  Keng Yuen Tseng
    Conductor:  Marco Zuccarini
    CD: $12.99
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  • 25.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Works For Cello And Orchestra
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94188 Release Date: 05/31/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Alexander Rudin
    Conductor:  Nikolai Alexeev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musica Viva Instrumental Ensemble
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