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
Leonard Slatkin Conducts Tchaikovsky Ballets
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Rca  
Catalog: 1920082   Number of Discs: 6
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Claudio Abbado Conducts Tchaikovsky
Release Date: 08/26/2014   Label: Sony (Nax615)  
Catalog: 836722   Number of Discs: 6
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Tchaikovsky: Yolanta / Rostropovich, Vichnievskaia
Release Date: 05/1993   Label: Erato Libretto  
Catalog: 45973   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky 1, Prokofiev 3 / Abduraimov
Release Date: 09/02/2014   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 002145002   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony / Pletnev, Russian National Orchestra
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Pentatone  
Catalog: 5186387   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a

Browse 1-25 of 50 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002171502 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Pierre Fournier,  Walter Berry  ... 
    Conductor:  David Oistrakh,  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Franz Konwitschny,  Carlos Kleiber  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Dresden Staatskapelle  ... 
    On sale! $159.98
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    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
    CD: $44.49
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    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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  • 6.
    The Sleeping Beauty - Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev Ballet Transcriptions / Huangci
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300548 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Claire Huangci
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  • 7.
    The Sleeping Beauty - Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev Ballet Transcriptions / Huangci [LP]
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: BC0300562 Release Date: 09/20/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Claire Huangci
    LP: $34.99
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  • 8.
    Karajan - 1970s
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001873702 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 82
    Composer:  Arcangelo Corelli,  Francesco Manfredini,  Pietro Antonio Locatelli,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Brandis,  Michel Schwalbé,  Karlheinz Zöller,  Edith Mathis  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Hans Priem Bergrath
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus  ... 
    CD: $313.99
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  • 9.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 3, Sleeping Beauty Suite / Kitajenko, Cologne Gurzenich Orchestra
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 670 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Dmitrij Kitajenko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Rachmaninov: Piano Works For Four And Six Hands / Sollini, Barbatano
    Label: Concerto   Catalog: 2073 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Marco Sollini,  Salvatore Barbatano,  François-Joël Thiollier
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    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
    CD: $8.99
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  • 12.
    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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  • 13.
    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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  • 14.
    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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  • 15.
    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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  • 16.
    Label: Ds Classics   Catalog: 37501 Release Date: 09/10/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 17.
    Brahms, Faure, Tchaikovsky / Anna & Ines Walachowski
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 746 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gabriel Fauré,  Johannes Brahms,  Stanislaw Moniuszko
    Performer:  Anna Walachowski,  Ines Walachowski
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  • 18.
    Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty / Ormandy, Philadelphia
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38293 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Sleeping Beauty / Friedmann, Russian Philharmonic
    Label: Arte Nova   Catalog: 563440 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Samuel Friedmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 20.
    Peter Tschaikowsky
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10055 Release Date: 09/05/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    CD: $12.99
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  • 21.
    Karajan - Complete Emi Recordings 1946-84 Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 12038 Release Date: 04/01/2008   Number of Discs: 88
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  E. Nikolaus von Reznicek,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Karl Leister,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf,  Ernst Haefliger,  Anne-Sophie Mutter  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    On sale! $253.98
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  • 22.
    Karajan - The Legendary Decca Recordings - Brahms, Adam, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001078802 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Josef Strauss,  Gustav Holst  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $71.98
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  • 23.
    Tchaikovsky:  Ballet Suites - Transcriptions / Aurora Duo
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570418 Release Date: 01/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Alina Luschtschizkaja,  Julia Severus
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aurora Duo
    CD: $9.99
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  • 24.
    Label: Relief Classical   Catalog: 991055 Release Date: 01/01/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Vladimir Fedoseyev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 25.
    The Glory Of Rostropovich / 8-Disc Set
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000839202 Release Date: 03/20/2007   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Martha Argerich,  Rudolf Serkin
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Leonard Bernstein,  Myung-Whun Chung,  Seiji Ozawa  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Emerson String Quartet  ... 
    Recommendation
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