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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 / Gergiev, Mariinsky Ballet & Orchestra [Blu-ray]
Release Date: 12/18/2012   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 4786   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Seasons / Pavel Kolesnikov
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 68028   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Iolanta / Valery Gergiev, Et Al
Release Date: 03/26/1996   Label: Philips  
Catalog: 442796   Number of Discs: 2
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Critics' Choice - Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker; Offenbach: Le Papillon / Bonynge
Release Date:    Label: Decca  
Catalog: 4767220   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Jarvi, Bergen Philharmonic
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5144   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: None but the Lonely Heart

Browse 1-25 of 110 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Phase 4 Stereo - Stereo Concert Series
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002188302 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 41
    Composer:  John Philip Sousa,  Charles A. Zimmerman,  Francis S. Van Boskerck,  George Norton  ... 
    Performer:  Stanley Black,  David Parkhouse,  Alan Loveday,  Robert Merrill  ... 
    Conductor:  Rodney Bashford,  Stanley Black,  Bernard Herrmann,  Edward Downes  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Grenadier Guards Band,  London Festival Orchestra,  London Festival Recording Ensemble  ... 
    On sale! $199.98
    CD: $139.99
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  • 2.
    Voices of Firestone II DVD 4-Pack
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4985 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini,  Pietro Mascagni,  Eduardo Di Capua,  Vincenzo D'Annibale  ... 
    Performer:  Renata Tebaldi,  Franco Corelli,  Eleanor Steber,  Lauritz Melchior  ... 
    Conductor:  Wilfrid Pelletier,  Howard Barlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
    On sale! $79.99
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  • 3.
    Copenhagen Recital / Stefan Schulz
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 2144 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Dargomizhsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Alexei Lebedev  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Schulz,  Saori Tomidokoro
    CD: $21.49
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  • 4.
    David Garrett - The Early Years
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002064902 Release Date: 08/19/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Niccolò Paganini  ... 
    Performer:  David Garrett,  Aleksandr Markovich,  Itamar Golan,  Bruno Canino
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Mikhail Pletnev
    On sale! $51.98
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  • 5.
    Excursion
    Label: Lawo Classics   Catalog: 1052 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Eccles,  Mikhail Glinka,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Franz Anton Hoffmeister  ... 
    Performer:  Nils Lundstrom,  Erling Sunnarvik,  Annika Skoglund,  Stig Ove Ose  ... 
    On sale! $20.98
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  • 6.
    Tchaikovsky Edition
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94650 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Derek Hammond-Stroud,  Janis Kelly,  Nikolai Vassiliev,  Alexander Arkhipov  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Fedoseyev,  Sir Alexander Gibson,  Yuri Simonov,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 7.
    Lotte Lehmann: A 125th Birthday Tribute [4-CD Set]
    Label: Music & Arts   Catalog: 1279 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Charles Gounod,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  Lotte Lehmann
    CD: $44.49
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  • 8.
    Tchaikovsky: Pathetique / Batiashvili, Nezet-Seguin, Rotterdam Philharmonic
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001975702 Release Date: 01/07/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Lisa Batiashvili,  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Conductor:  Yannick Nézet-Séguin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $18.98
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  • 9.
    Amore / Joseph Calleja
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001921802 Release Date: 10/15/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Francesco Paolo Tosti,  Consuelo Velazquez,  Francesco Sartori,  Lucio Dalla  ... 
    Performer:  Joseph Calleja,  Ksenija Sidorova,  Nicola Benedetti,  Charles Mutter
    Conductor:  Steven Mercurio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Concert Orchestra
    CD: $18.99
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  • 10.
    Russian Songs
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951881 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Alexander Glazunov,  Reinhold Gliere,  Alexander Grechaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Larissa Gergieva,  Ekaterina Sementchuk
    CD: $9.99
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  • 11.
    Valentina Levko - Star Of The Bolshoi
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 9406 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Henry Purcell,  Alessandro Stradella,  Andrea Falconieri  ... 
    Performer:  Valentina Levko,  Mark Lubotsky,  Grigory Zinger,  Liya Mogilevskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Adolf Bruk,  Juozas Domarkas,  Alexander Lazarev,  Kurt Masur  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Moscow Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble,  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $48.99
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  • 12.
    14 / David Garrett
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001819602 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Niccolò Paganini,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  David Garrett,  Alexander Markovich
    CD: $15.99
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  • 13.
    10 Classic Albums / Mischa Maisky [11-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001801402 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Charles Gounod,  George Frideric Handel,  Jean-Baptiste Lully  ... 
    Performer:  Mischa Maisky,  Pavel Gililov,  Daria Hovora,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Giuseppe Sinopoli,  Michael Tilson Thomas,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $61.49
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  • 14.
    Lauritz Melchior: The Art Of The Heldentenor In Opera And Song - Vol 1 & 2
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4794 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Charles Gounod,  Sigmund Romberg,  Richard Strauss,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Lauritz Melchior
    Conductor:  Howard Barlow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Icon - Boris Christoff [11-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 829372 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Alexander N. Serov  ... 
    Performer:  Boris Christoff,  Serge Zapolsky,  Alexandre Labinsky,  Gaston Marchésini  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens,  Féodor Potorjinsky,  Georges Tzipine,  Issay Dobrowen  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Féodor Potorjinsky Choir,  French National Radio Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $35.49
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  • 16.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 50408 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Charles Cozens,  Davide Direnzo,  Bill Bridges
    Conductor:  Constantine Hvatynetz
    CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 55400 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    On sale! $15.98
    CD: $13.99
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  • 18.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 51767 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  George Frideric Handel,  Erik Satie  ... 
    CD: $23.99
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  • 19.
    Label: Mood Media Entertainment   Catalog: 60261 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Johannes Brahms,  Johann Pachelbel  ... 
    CD: $23.99
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  • 20.
    Virgins, Vixens & Viragos / Susan Graham
    Label: Onyx   Catalog: 4105 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Hector Berlioz,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Susan Graham,  Malcolm Martineau
    Recommendation
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  • 21.
    Steven Staryk: A Retrospective, Vol. 2 - Violin Gems
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3203 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Fritz Kreisler,  Henri Wieniawski,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Steven Staryk
    Recommendation
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  • 22.
    My First Tchaikovsky Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578214 Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Oxana Yablonskaya,  Maria Kliegel,  Joseph Banowetz,  Ilona Prunyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Michael Halász,  Philippe Entremont,  Gerhard Markson,  Ondrej Lenárd  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 23.
    Goethe Lieder - Das Ewig Weibliche / Marlis Petersen, Jendrik Spinger
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 902094 Release Date: 03/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ernst Krenek,  Robert Schumann,  Walter Braunfels,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Marlis Petersen,  Jendrik Springer
    Recommendation
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  • 24.
    Transfigured Tchaikovsky / Petronel Malan
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98640 Release Date: 02/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Petronel Malan
    CD: $18.99
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  • 25.
    Dedicated to the International Tchaikovsky Competition
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001860 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Van Cliburn,  Valery Klimov,  A. Amentaeva,  Natalia Shakhovskaya  ... 
    Conductor:  Maxim Shostakovich,  Mark Ermler,  B. Haikin,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  State Academic Bolshoi Theatre Sextet
    CD: $74.49
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