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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Opera In English - Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin / Mackerras
Release Date: 04/24/2001   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 3042   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Complete Suites / Järvi, Detroit So
Release Date: 11/17/1998   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9676   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: String Quartets / Klenke Quartet
Release Date: 04/13/2010   Label: Berlin Classics  
Catalog: 16502   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5 / Jansons, Oslo Philharmonic
Release Date: 10/09/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8351   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Swan Lake Suite, Op. 20a

Browse 1-25 of 59 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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
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  • 2.
    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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  • 3.
    Berlin Philharmonic - Centenary Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001923302 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Hector Berlioz,  Richard Wagner,  Richard Strauss  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Walter Berry,  Gundula Janowitz,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Nikisch,  Alfred Hertz,  Richard Strauss,  Bruno Walter  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Swedish Radio Chorus  ... 
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  • 4.
    Eugene Ormandy Conducts Tchaikovsky
    Label: Imports   Catalog: 1119166 Release Date: 10/22/2013   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 5.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5; Swan Lake Suite / Lindberg, Arctic Philharmonic
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2018 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Mikhail Simonyan
    Conductor:  Christian Lindberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites
    Label: Classical Gallery   Catalog: 7701294 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Peter Stern
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  • 8.
    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
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  • 9.
    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
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  • 10.
    Tchaikovsky: 1812 Overture, Capriccio Italien, Marche Slave, Swan Lake Suite / Alwyn
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4805048 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Kenneth Alwyn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 11.
    My First Classical Music Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578203 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Antonio Vivaldi,  John Adams,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki,  Dong-Suk Kang,  Pascal Devoyon,  Jürgen Schuster  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Stephen Gunzenhauser,  Marin Alsop,  Mats Rondin  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 12.
    Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite, Swan Lake Suite / Simonov, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks   Catalog: 28060 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yuri Simonov
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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.
    Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Suite; Rachmaninov: Symphonic Dances / Temirkanov
    Label: Signum U.k.   Catalog: 229 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 16.
    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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  • 17.
    Label: Ds Classics   Catalog: 37501 Release Date: 09/10/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    CD: $13.99
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  • 18.
    Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake / Ormandy, Philadelphia
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 38292 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 19.
    Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake Suite, Rococco Variations, Symphony No 6 / Ansermet
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4800563 Release Date: 04/10/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Maurice Gendron
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 20.
    The Ultimate Ballet Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8570011-12 Release Date: 01/27/2009   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Adolphe Adam,  Claude Debussy,  Léo Delibes,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Jan Van Reeth,  Josef Bogacz
    Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd,  Alexander Rahbari,  Michael Halász,  Andrei Anikhanov  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra Bratislava,  Belgian Radio And Television Philharmonic Orchestra,  Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 21.
    Peter Tschaikowsky
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10055 Release Date: 09/05/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 22.
    Tschaikowsky: Ballettsuiten
    Label: Delta Ent.   Catalog: 772848 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 23.
    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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  • 24.
    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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  • 25.
    Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker & Swan Lake Suites / Vienna Symphony Orchestra Cello Octet
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 28120 Release Date: 02/19/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Michael Gunther,  Alexandra Mikisch,  Görgy Bognar,  Christoph Stradner  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Acht Cellisten
    On sale! $25.98
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