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 Edition
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94650   Number of Discs: 55
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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6; Schoenberg / Barenboim, West-Eastern Divan
Release Date: 06/07/2011   Label: Decca  
Catalog: 001560702   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky & Chopin / Ingolf Wunder, Vladimir Ashkenazy, St. Petersburg Philharmonic
Release Date: 07/15/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002092802   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky, Grieg: Piano Concertos / Stewart Goodyear
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30035   Number of Discs: 1
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Karajan 1949-1960: Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Balakirev, Stravinsky
Release Date: 05/13/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 633620   Number of Discs: 7
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Work: Symphony no 5 in E minor, Op. 64

Browse 76-100 of 189 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies No 4 & 5 / Bernstein
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001227009 Release Date: 11/25/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 77.
    Karajan - Symphony Edition
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001211702 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 38
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  Agnes Baltsa,  Peter Schreier,  Anna Tomowa-Sintow,  José Van Dam
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 78.
    Tchaikovsky: The Symphonies
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4777937 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
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  • 79.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 4, 5 & 6 / Mravinsky, Leningrad Po
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1000688 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 80.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5 / Chailly, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 410232 Release Date: 10/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 81.
    Best Karajan 100
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 15206 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Callas,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Elisabeth Grümmer,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 82.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Capriccio Italien / Van Kempen
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 420858 Release Date: 10/15/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Paul Van Kempen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
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  • 83.
    Reference - Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5 / Siegfried Kurz, Staatskapelle Dresden
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 14072 Release Date: 09/09/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Siegfried Kurz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
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  • 84.
    Peter Tschaikowsky
    Label: Zyx Records   Catalog: 10055 Release Date: 09/05/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 85.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4-6 / Maazel
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470065 Release Date: 09/02/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 86.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5;  Glinka, Mussorgsky / Solti, Cso
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 417723 Release Date: 08/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 87.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 4 & 5, Romeo And Juliet, Piano Concerto No 1
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80732 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 88.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Etc / Friedmann, Russian Po
    Label: Arte Nova   Catalog: 304920 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Samuel Friedmann
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 89.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Hamlet Fantasy Overture  / Svetlanov, State Academic So
    Label: Svetlanov Foundation   Catalog: 75 Release Date: 08/12/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Academic Symphony Orchestra
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  • 90.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Caetani, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4766442 Release Date: 07/21/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Oleg Caetani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $111.98
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  • 91.
    Claudio Abbado & The Berlin Philharmonic Vol 3
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 732537 Release Date: 07/01/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Robert Schumann,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Midori,  Murray Perahia,  Hans-Peter Blochwitz,  Iris Vermillion  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 92.
    Original Jacket Collection - Eugene Ormandy
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 727987 Release Date: 06/24/2008   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Ottorino Respighi,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Anshel Brusilow,  Isaac Stern,  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 93.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies, Romeo & Juliet, Francesca Da Rimini / Rostropovich, London Po
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 19493 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 94.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Jansons, Oslo Philharmonic
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 10392 Release Date: 04/29/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 95.
    Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Etc / Stokowski, Frankfurt Rso, Et Al
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2329 Release Date: 04/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Richard Wagner,  Claude Debussy,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 96.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Hamlet / Dutoit, Montréal Sym
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 425503 Release Date: 04/07/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
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  • 97.
    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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  • 98.
    Triples - Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 4 - 6, Overtures / Muti, Philadelphia Orchestra
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 09435 Release Date: 03/25/2008   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Anthony Gigliotti
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 99.
    Silvestri - Artist Profile - Tchaikovsky, Elgar, Et Al
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 68229 Release Date: 11/27/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Maurice Ravel,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Conductor:  Constantin Silvestri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 100.
    Simply Tchaikovsky
    Label: Union Square   Catalog: 1206195 Release Date: 11/06/2007   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Walther Schulz,  Michael Schnitzler,  Brigitte Engerer,  Jean-Jacques Kantorow
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Vassil Kazandjiev,  Stefan Soltesz,  Emmanuel Krivine  ... 
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