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Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky


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
The Romantic Cello Concerto, Vol. 7: Fitzenhagen, Tchaikovsky
Release Date: 10/09/2015   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 68063   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker - Complete Ballet Arranged For Solo Piano / Stewart Goodyear
Release Date: 10/09/2015   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30040   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Salenko, Walter, Berlin Staatsballet (DVD)
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Bel Air Classiques  
Catalog: 125   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker / Salenko, Walter, Berlin Staatsballet (Blu-ray)
Release Date: 11/13/2015   Label: Bel Air Classiques  
Catalog: 425   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6 / Jansons, Oslo Philharmonic
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8446   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: None but the Lonely Heart

Browse 76-84 of 84 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    Prima Voce - Prima Voce Party
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7839 Release Date: 04/16/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Marcel Delannoy,  H. de Fontenailles,  Moritz Moszkowski  ... 
    Performer:  Richard Tauber,  Hugues Cuénod,  Rosa Ponselle,  Miliza Korjus  ... 
    Conductor:  Frieder Weissmann,  Maurice Jaubert,  Bruno Seidler-Winkler,  Lawrence Collingwood  ... 
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  • 77.
    Russian Songs - Tchaikovsky, Et Al / Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Label: London/Decca Double Decker   Catalog: 443024 Release Date: 03/14/1995   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Anonymous,  Alexander Dargomizhsky,  Anton Rubinstein  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov,  Zlatina Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Atanas Margaritov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kaval Orchestra,  Kaval Chorus
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  • 78.
    The Maiden's Prayer - Leaves From Grandmother's Piano Album
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550646 Release Date: 12/13/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Zdenék Fibich,  Christian Sinding,  Leon Jessel,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Balázs Szokolay,  Péter Nagy,  Ilona Prunyi
    CD: $12.99
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  • 79.
    Romances Of The Russian Masters / Linn Maxwell, Robert Mccoy
    Label: Albany Records   Catalog: 72 Release Date: 12/12/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Mikhail Glinka,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Linn Maxwell,  Robert McCoy
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  • 80.
    The King's Singers - Original Debut Recording
    Label: Chandos Collect   Catalog: 6562 Release Date: 05/10/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ron Goodwin,  Traditional,  Burt Bacharach,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  King's Singers,  Gordon Langford Trio
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  • 81.
    Romantic Piano Favourites Vol 4 / Peter Nagy
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550141 Release Date: 02/15/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Franz Liszt,  Claude Debussy,  Ignace Jan Paderewski  ... 
    Performer:  Balázs Szokolay,  Péter Nagy
    CD: $12.99
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  • 82.
    The World's Most Beautiful Melodies / Phillip Mccann
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 4501 Release Date: 07/29/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arthur Sullivan,  Franz Schubert,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Iain Robertson,  Phillip McCann
    Conductor:  Major Peter Parkes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Black Dyke Mills Band
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  • 83.
    Lullaby / Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60876 Release Date: 02/11/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Engelbert Humperdinck,  Johannes Brahms,  Claude Debussy,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 84.
    Pops A La Russe / John Williams, Boston Pops
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 426247 Release Date: 03/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Conductor:  John T. Williams
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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