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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: Nutcracker Suite, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty
Release Date: 10/17/1995   Label: Emi Seraphim  
Catalog: 69036   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich: String Quartets / Borodin Quartet
Release Date: 11/18/2008   Label: Euroarts  
Catalog: 2072298   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Baryshnikov, Kirkland, American Ballet Theatre
Release Date: 09/28/2004   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2925   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky, Ellington/Strayhorn: Nutcracker Suites
Release Date: 10/08/2013   Label: Harmonia Mundi  
Catalog: 907493   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite;  Rachmaninov / Argerich
Release Date: 11/04/2008   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 410616   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a

Browse 26-50 of 52 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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
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  • 27.
    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  ... 
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  • 28.
    Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite, Et Al / Rögner, Berlin Rso
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 8566 Release Date: 01/02/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Heinz Rögner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 29.
    The Karajan Collection: Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 76899 Release Date: 10/25/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 30.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Seiji Ozawa, Boston So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000130602 Release Date: 10/14/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Ibert, Ippolitov-ivanov, Tchaikovsky, Et Al / Desormiere
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1309 Release Date: 09/09/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Tommasini,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov,  Jacques Ibert
    Conductor:  Roger Desormière
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 32.
    Sibelius: Symphony No 2;  Tchaikovsky, Beethoven / Stokowski
    Label: Bbc Legends   Catalog: 4115 Release Date: 05/20/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Jean Sibelius
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  BBC Symphony Orchestra
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  • 33.
    My Ballerina Album - Favorite Ballet Scenes And Melodies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471744 Release Date: 11/12/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Amilcare Ponchielli  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolas Economou,  Martha Argerich,  Jean-Marc Luisada,  Michel Schwalbé
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Seiji Ozawa,  Neeme Järvi  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 34.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 1, Swan Lake, Etc
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469271 Release Date: 08/14/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Lorin Maazel,  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  University of Minnesota Brass Band,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 35.
    Eloquence - Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Bonynge, Mehta
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 467403 Release Date: 06/12/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Uri Pianka,  Michael Haran
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Richard Bonynge
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,  National Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $8.99
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  • 36.
    Lifestyles For Baby - Tender Moments
    Label: Lifestyles   Catalog: 315012 Release Date: 05/01/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Sir Edward Elgar,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Karajan Conducts Tchaikovsky / Ferras, Berlin Po, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 463774 Release Date: 03/13/2001   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Michel Schwalbé,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Christian Ferras,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Don Kossack Choir
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  • 38.
    Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake & Sleeping Beauty Suites / Mogrelia
    Label: Amadis   Catalog: 7069 Release Date: 10/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Andrew Mogrelia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Cassovia
    CD: $3.99
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  • 39.
    Prokofiev: Cinderella;  Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 554610 Release Date: 02/22/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Brian Cant
    Conductor:  Andrew Mogrelia,  Theodore Kuchar
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra,  Ukrainian National Symphony Orchestra
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  • 40.
    The Greatest Holiday Classics
    Label: Platinum Disc   Catalog: 164 Release Date: 09/28/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    Conductor:  Adrian Leaper
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  • 41.
    Famous Ballet Music / Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Dg Double   Catalog: 459445 Release Date: 09/14/1999   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Frédéric Chopin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Léo Delibes  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Karajan, Wiener Po
    Label: London/Decca Legends   Catalog: 466379 Release Date: 08/10/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 43.
    Classics For The Occasion - Daydreamin' / Oistrakh, Et Al
    Label: Columbia River Entertainment   Catalog: 1061 Release Date: 03/31/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Václáv Smetácek,  Hans Swarowsky,  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Symphony Orchestra,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Tschaikowsky: Ballett-Suiten / Rostropovich, Berlin PO
    Label: Dg The Originals   Catalog: 449726 Release Date: 03/11/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Eberhard Finke,  Leon Spierer
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Alexander Vedernikov, Et Al
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47372 Release Date: 12/17/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Alexander Vedernikov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 46.
    Tchaikovsky Spectacular / Litton, Dallas Symphony Orchestra And Chorus
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3196 Release Date: 05/21/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Svetlana Furdui,  Vassily Gerelo
    Conductor:  Andrew Litton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dallas Symphony Orchestra,  Dallas Symphony Chorus
    CD: $17.99
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  • 47.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Levine, Wiener Philharmoniker
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 437806 Release Date: 09/20/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  James Levine
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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  • 48.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites: Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Etc
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 57241 Release Date: 05/31/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Stanislav Gorkovenko,  Alexander Titov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Radio/TV Orchestra of St. Petersburg,  New Philharmony Orchestra
    CD: $4.99
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  • 49.
    Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty;  Glazunov / Lenard, Csr So
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550079 Release Date: 02/05/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Glazunov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 50.
    Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Etc / Ozawa, Boston So
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 435619 Release Date: 10/13/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $33.99
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