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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Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake / Jarvi, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5124   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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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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Historical - Tchaikovsky: Complete String Quartets / Borodin
Release Date: 01/23/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9871   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 35

Browse 26-50 of 222 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos; Sarasate / Gerhard Taschner
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 6421797 Release Date: 04/23/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Pablo de Sarasate
    Performer:  Gerhard Taschner,  Michael Raucheisen
    Conductor:  Arthur Rother,  Fritz Lehmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 27.
    Ashkenazy - 50 Years on Decca
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820202 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Boris Belkin,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fou Ts'ong  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Wind Soloists  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 28.
    The Art Of The Violin
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 7010 Release Date: 03/28/2013   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Edouard Lalo,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Arthur Grumiaux,  Clara Haskil
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Eduard Van Beinum,  Jean Fournet,  Bernhard Paumgartner  ... 
    CD: $38.49
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  • 29.
    EMI Eminence - The Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 393872 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  William Byrd  ... 
    Performer:  David Nolan,  Jonathan Small,  George Malcolm,  William Bennett  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Anton Rickenbacher,  Vernon Handley,  George Guest,  George Malcolm  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Cambridge St. John's College Choir  ... 
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  • 30.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1; Violin Concerto
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 320152 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  György Cziffra,  Leonid Kogan
    Conductor:  André Vandernoot,  Constantin Silvestri
    CD: $7.99
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  • 31.
    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
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  • 32.
    The Art Of Valery Gergiev
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 1083441 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  Olga Borodina,  Lang Lang,  Sergei Levitin,  Alexander Toradze  ... 
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Chorus,  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra  ... 
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  • 33.
    The Art Of Giuseppe Sinopoli - Concerto Recordings
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 2029964 Release Date: 07/17/2012   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Max Bruch,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Performer:  Martha Argerich,  Gil Shaham,  Mischa Maisky,  Maurizio Pollini  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 34.
    The Great Violinist Endre Wolf - The Complete Danish Tono Recordings 1949-1951
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 714 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Endre Wolf
    Conductor:  Thomas Jensen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Late Romantic Masterpieces / Charles Munch
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 899792 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Henryk Szeryng,  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Maureen Forrester
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Nielsen, Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos / Frang, Jensen, Danish Radio Symphony
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 602570 Release Date: 06/05/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Carl Nielsen
    Performer:  Vilde Frang
    Conductor:  Eivind Gullberg Jensen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Great Violin Concertos
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8501058 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Louis Spohr  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Simone Lamsma,  Ilya Kaler,  Misha Keylin  ... 
    Conductor:  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Oliver Dohnányi,  Patrick Gallois,  Kenneth Jean  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Sinfonia Finlandia,  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 38.
    L'Art de Ferenc Fricsay
    Label: Tahra   Catalog: 732 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Irmgard Helmis,  Hans Schmitz,  Yehudi Menuhin
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
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  • 39.
    Dedicated to the International Tchaikovsky Competition
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001860 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Van Cliburn,  Valery Klimov,  A. Amentaeva,  Natalia Shakhovskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Maxim Shostakovich,  Mark Ermler,  B. Haikin,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  State Academic Bolshoi Theatre Sextet
    CD: $74.49
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  • 40.
    Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn: Violin Concertos / Ray Chen
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 798410 Release Date: 02/07/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn
    Performer:  Ray Chen
    Conductor:  Daniel Harding
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Icon - Young Genius Of The Violin / Michael Rabin
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 6790602 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Henri Wieniawski,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Rabin,  Leon Pommers
    Conductor:  Lovro von Matacic,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Sir Adrian Boult,  Alceo Galliera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Etc / Ehnes, Ashkenazy, Sydney Symphony
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4076 Release Date: 01/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  James Ehnes
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sydney Symphony Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Michael Rabin -  Studio Recordings 1954-1960
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1471 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Alexander Glazunov,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Rabin,  Leon Pommers
    Conductor:  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Lovro von Matacic,  Alceo Galliera,  Felix Slatkin  ... 
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  • 44.
    Korngold, Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos / Laurent Korcia
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 5280 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Erich Wolfgang Korngold
    Performer:  Laurent Korcia
    Conductor:  Jean-Jacques Kantorow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Liège Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 45.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 46.
    Bartok, Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos / Valeriy Sokolov, David Zinman
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 42017 Release Date: 11/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Béla Bartók,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Valeriy Sokolov
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Anne-Sophie Mutter - The Complete Musician [40-CD Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B001587372 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Max Bruch  ... 
    Performer:  Anne-Sophie Mutter,  Mark Zeltser,  Yo-Yo Ma,  Antonio Meneses  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Paul Sacher,  Witold Lutoslawski,  James Levine  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 48.
    Icon: William Steinberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 26486 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Rudolf Firkusny
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $63.99
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  • 49.
    The Art of Salvatore Accardo - Una Vita per il Violino
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 959877 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Niccolò Paganini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Margaret Batjer,  Douglas Boyd
    Conductor:  Salvatore Accardo,  Charles Dutoit,  Sir Colin Davis,  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chamber Orchestra of Europe,  I Solisti di Napoli,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 50.
    Tchaikovsky, Sibelius: Violin Concertos / Oistrakh, Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7858162 Release Date: 09/20/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Jean Sibelius
    Performer:  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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