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 6 in B minor, Op. 74 "Pathétique"

Browse 176-200 of 243 Available Recordings
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  • 176.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies No 4 & 6 / Erich Kleiber
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1352 Release Date: 08/10/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris
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  • 177.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6; Wagner / Norrington, Stuttgart Rso
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93119 Release Date: 08/01/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Richard Wagner
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 178.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Francesca Da Rimini / Järvi
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1348 Release Date: 07/27/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 179.
    Jordania Conducts Tchaikovsky
    Label: Angelok   Catalog: 9920/21 Release Date: 06/29/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Vakhtang Jordania
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Federal Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $22.99
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  • 180.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6; Stravinsky: Dumbarton Oaks / Rozhdestvensky, Barshai
    Label: Yedang Entertainment   Catalog: 10011 Release Date: 06/14/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Igor Stravinsky
    Conductor:  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Rudolf Barshai
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Moscow Chamber Orchestra
    On sale! $8.99
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  • 181.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6 / Muti, Orchestre National De France
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 4970 Release Date: 04/20/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  French National Orchestra
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  • 182.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Etc / Cantelli, Philharmonia
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1316 Release Date: 02/10/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Guido Cantelli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 183.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies No 4, 5 & 6 / Kubelik, Vienna Po
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1322 Release Date: 01/13/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Rafael Kubelik
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 184.
    Complete Collections - Tchaikovsky: Symphonies / Temirkanov
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 55781 Release Date: 12/16/2003   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 185.
    Original Masters - Ferenc Fricsay - A Life In Music
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000085402 Release Date: 08/12/2003   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Maureen Forrester,  Rudolf Schulz,  Margrit Weber,  Ernst Haefliger  ... 
    Conductor:  Ferenc Fricsay
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin RIAS Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 186.
    Original Masters - Igor Markevitch - Un Veritable Artiste
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000085602 Release Date: 08/12/2003   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Claude Debussy,  Georges Bizet,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Suzanne Cotelle,  Fritz Demmle,  Aurèle Nicolet,  Georges Alès  ... 
    Conductor:  Igor Markevitch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  USSR State Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 187.
    Tchaikovsky: Orchestral Masterpieces Vol 2
    Label: Vanguard   Catalog: 1198 Release Date: 08/12/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Carl Pini,  Vladimir Golschmann,  Pierre Monteux
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Australian Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $14.99
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  • 188.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6;  Rautavaara: Apotheosis / Franck
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 1002 Release Date: 06/24/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Einojuhani Rautavaara,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mikko Franck
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 189.
    Karajan - The Collection - Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4, 5 & 6
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 000005502 Release Date: 04/08/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 190.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Nutcracker Suite / Ozawa
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186107 Release Date: 03/25/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de Paris
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  • 191.
    Original Masters - Wilhelm Furtwängler - Live Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 474030 Release Date: 02/11/2003   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Maurice Ravel,  César Franck,  Paul Hindemith  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilhelm Furtwängler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 192.
    Toscanini Conducts Music From Russia
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1115 Release Date: 01/28/2003   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Mikhail Glinka,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $29.99
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  • 193.
    Legendary Treasures - Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, Etc / Mravinsky
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 7610 Release Date: 11/05/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Hector Berlioz,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  USSR State Symphony Orchestra
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  • 194.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.6 'pathetique', Romeo & Juliet
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471742 Release Date: 08/01/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
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  • 195.
    Westminster - Tchaikovsky, Dvorak / Rodzinski, Royal Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 471272 Release Date: 06/11/2002   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Artur Rodzinski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 196.
    Classics - Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Etc / Dohnanyi, Et Al
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80130 Release Date: 04/23/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 197.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 / Karajan, Vienna Philharmonic
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 48311 Release Date: 03/26/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
    DVD: $11.99
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  • 198.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphonies Nos. 4 - 6
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 443844 Release Date: 11/01/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
    On sale! $37.99
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  • 199.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies, Overtures /Abravanel, Utah
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 3603 Release Date: 10/16/2001   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Maurice Abravanel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Utah Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $23.99
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  • 200.
    Verdi: Messa Da Requiem / Karajan, Zadek, Christoff, Et Al
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90445 Release Date: 05/29/2001   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Margarete Klose,  Boris Christoff,  Hilde Zadek,  Helge Rosvaenge
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Friends of Music Society Chorus
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