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: Piano Concertos 1 & 2 / Matsuev
Release Date: 02/11/2014   Label: Mariinsky  
Catalog: 548   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Serenade Melancolique / Vinnikov, Menuhin
Release Date: 03/08/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28320   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker Suite, Swan Lake Suite / Simonov, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 09/13/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28060   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin / Netrebko, Beczala, Gergiev, Met
Release Date: 03/04/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 1994309   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin /  Netrebko, Beczala, Gergiev, Metropolitan Opera [blu-ray]
Release Date: 03/11/2014   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 1994259  
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Work: None but the Lonely Heart

Browse 1-25 of 106 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    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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  • 2.
    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
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  • 3.
    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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  • 4.
    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
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  • 5.
    Russian Songs
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 1951881 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Alexander Glazunov,  Sergei Taneyev,  Reinhold Gliere  ... 
    Performer:  Ekaterina Sementchuk,  Larissa Gergieva
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  • 6.
    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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  • 7.
    Ernestine Schumann-heink: The 1934 Broadcasts
    Label: Bel Age   Catalog: 7702423 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Spoken Word,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Xaver Gruber,  Alexander MacFayden  ... 
    Performer:  Ernestine Schumann-Heink
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  • 8.
    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
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  • 9.
    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  ... 
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  • 10.
    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  ... 
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  • 11.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 50408 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Frédéric Chopin,  Astor Piazzolla  ... 
    Performer:  Bill Bridges,  Davide Direnzo,  Charles Cozens
    Conductor:  Constantine Hvatynetz
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  • 12.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 55400 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 13.
    Label: Somerset Entertainment   Catalog: 51767 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Claude Debussy,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  George Frideric Handel,  Erik Satie  ... 
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  • 14.
    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  ... 
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  • 15.
    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
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  • 16.
    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
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  • 17.
    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  ... 
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  • 18.
    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
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  • 19.
    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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  • 20.
    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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  • 21.
    Elisabeth Soderstrom - The Russian Songbook
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4802067 Release Date: 08/02/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Alexander Gretchaninov
    Performer:  Elisabeth Söderström,  Vladimir Ashkenazy
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  • 22.
    Peter Anders Singt Arien Und Lieder
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 94214 Release Date: 04/26/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Georges Bizet,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Anders,  Sena Jurinac,  Nata Tüscher,  Heinz Mende  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Ackermann,  Paul Burkhardt
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  • 23.
    Icon - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - Perfect Prima Donna
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 18459 Release Date: 03/22/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gottfried H. Stölzel,  George Frideric Handel,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  J. Edward Merret,  Harold Jackson,  Geraint Jones,  Manoug Parikian  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Gellhorn,  Otto Klemperer,  Thurston Dart,  Josef Krips  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 24.
    Label: Wcj   Catalog: 83448 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Elisabeth Leonskaja,  Maxim Vengerov,  Itamar Golan,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Yevgeny Svetlanov,  Zubin Mehta,  Alexander Lazarev  ... 
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  • 25.
    Essential Tchaikovsky
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 07149 Release Date: 02/15/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Vladimir Spivakov,  Lucia Popp,  Maxim Vengerov  ... 
    Conductor:  Vladimir Fedoseyev,  Riccardo Muti,  Herbert von Karajan,  Mstislav Rostropovich  ... 
    CD: $12.99
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