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, Bruch: Violin Concertos / Benedetti, Hrusa, Czech Philharmonic
Release Date: 02/22/2011   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001527102   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philharmonia
Release Date: 09/02/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 627825   Number of Discs: 5
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Suggestions - Grieg, Nielsen, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky / GliArchi Ensemble
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Stradivarius  
Catalog: 33977   Number of Discs: 1
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Songs By Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Etc / Ewa Podles, Garrick Ohlsson
Release Date: 02/24/2009   Label: Wigmore Hall Live  
Catalog: 27   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 1-3 / Valery Gergiev, London Symphony Orchestra
Release Date: 10/09/2012   Label: Lso Live  
Catalog: 710   Number of Discs: 2
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Work: Sleeping Beauty Suite, Op. 66a

Browse 26-47 of 47 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    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
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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    Ultimate Ballet - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000972302 Release Date: 09/11/2007   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Léo Delibes,  Frédéric Chopin,  Charles Gounod,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Conductor:  David Zinman,  Antal Doráti,  Ernest Ansermet,  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra,  Detroit Symphony Orchestra,  Suisse Romande Orchestra  ... 
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  • 29.
    The Glory Of Rostropovich / 8-Disc Set
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000839202 Release Date: 03/20/2007   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Luigi Boccherini,  Robert Schumann,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Giuseppe Tartini  ... 
    Performer:  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Rudolf Serkin,  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Paul Sacher,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Herbert von Karajan,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Collegium Musicum,  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 30.
    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
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  • 31.
    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
    CD: $8.99
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  • 32.
    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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  • 33.
    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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  • 34.
    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
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  • 35.
    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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  • 36.
    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
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  • 37.
    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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  • 38.
    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
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  • 39.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / 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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  • 40.
    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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  • 41.
    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
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  • 42.
    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
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  • 43.
    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:  Alexander Titov,  Stanislav Gorkovenko
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmony Orchestra,  Russian Radio/TV Orchestra of St. Petersburg
    CD: $4.99
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  • 44.
    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
    CD: $12.99
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  • 45.
    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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  • 46.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites / Karajan, Berlin PO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 419175 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 47.
    Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty - Suites / Mackerras
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80151 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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