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 Nutcracker / Bolshoi Ballet
Release Date: 11/30/1999   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 62   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Karoui, Balanchine, New York City Ballet
Release Date: 11/18/2016   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 738608   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Karoui, Balanchine, New York City Ballet [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 11/18/2016   Label: C Major  
Catalog: 738704   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 2 & Concert Fantasia / Nebolsin, Stern, New Zealand Symphony
Release Date: 09/09/2016   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8573462   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Previn, LSO
Release Date: 01/26/2010   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 67694   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a

Browse 1-25 of 46 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Purple Classics Presents: Ballet Highlights
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578334 Release Date: 06/17/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Léo Delibes
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Anthony Bramall,  Ondrej Lenárd,  Andrew Mogrelia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $9.99
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  • 2.
    111: The Collector's Editions [111 CDs]
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002422702 Release Date: 12/11/2015   Number of Discs: 111
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  David Oistrakh,  Igor Oistrakh,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Daniel Barenboim,  Lorin Maazel,  Franz Konwitschny  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Amadeus Quartet,  Orchestre de Paris  ... 
    CD: $325.49
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  • 3.
    Tschaikowsky: Complete Symphonies, Etc / Kitaenko
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 27 Release Date: 10/09/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Leonard Elschenbroich,  Lilya Zilberstein
    Conductor:  Dmitri Kitayenko
    CD: $54.49
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  • 4.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Ormandy, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 88697840072 Release Date: 09/25/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Decca Sound  – Mono Years 1944 -1956
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002280602 Release Date: 04/07/2015   Number of Discs: 53
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Wilhelm Backhaus,  Clifford Curzon,  Alfredo Campoli,  Henry Datyner  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Roger Desormière,  Karl Münchinger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  Paris Conservatoire Orchestra,  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris  ... 
    CD: $213.99
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  • 6.
    Tchaikovsky: The Masterworks / Karajan, Richter
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 121245 Release Date: 12/09/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $39.99
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  • 7.
    Seiji Ozawa - The Philips Years: Original Jacket Collection [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002185602 Release Date: 11/18/2014   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Béla Bartók,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz  ... 
    Performer:  Mariko Kobayashi,  Everett Firth,  Hiroshi Arimori,  Sawako Yasue  ... 
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Saito Kinen Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers  ... 
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    CD: $175.49
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  • 8.
    The Originals - Legendary Recordings from DG
    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  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 9.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 10.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites
    Label: Tuxedo Music   Catalog: 1021 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Edouard Van Remoortel
    CD: $13.99
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  • 11.
    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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  • 12.
    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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    Blu-ray Audio: $21.99
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  • 13.
    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  ... 
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  • 14.
    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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    CD: $18.99
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  • 15.
    The Sleeping Beauty / Huangci [Vinyl]
    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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  • 16.
    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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    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 17.
    Rachmaninov: Piano Works For Four And Six Hands / Sollini, Barbatano
    Label: Concerto   Catalog: 2073 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergey Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Marco Sollini,  Salvatore Barbatano,  François-Joël Thiollier
    CD: $17.99
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  • 18.
    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: $6.99
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  • 19.
    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
    On sale! $49.98
    CD: $48.49
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  • 20.
    Label: Urania Records   Catalog: 37501 Release Date: 09/10/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    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
    Recommendation
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  • 22.
    Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty / Ormandy, Philadelphia
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38293 Release Date: 04/22/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    Karajan - Complete Emi Recordings 1946-84 Vol 1 - Orchestral Works
    Label: Warner 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
    CD: $194.99
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  • 25.
    Karajan - The Legendary Decca Recordings - Brahms, Adam, Et Al
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001078802 Release Date: 03/11/2008   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $71.98
    CD: $68.49
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