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
Dvorak, Tchaikovsky & Borodin: String Quartets / Escher String Quartet
Release Date: 01/05/2018   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 2280   Number of Discs: 1
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Schumann & Saint-Saens: Cello Concertos; Tchaikovsky: Rococo Variations / Meneses, Cruz, Royal Northern Sinfonia
Release Date: 08/18/2017   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2373   Number of Discs: 1
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Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin / Ermler, Bolshoi Theatre
Release Date: 01/05/2018   Label: Melodiya  
Catalog: 1002418   Number of Discs: 2
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Mozart, Beethoven, Bruch & Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos / Varga
Release Date: 01/05/2018   Label: Urania Records  
Catalog: 363   Number of Discs: 2
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Tchaikovsky: Ballet Music Highlights / Petrenko, Et Al
Release Date: 12/18/2007   Label: Avie  
Catalog: 2139   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23

Browse 201-210 of 210 Available Recordings
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  • 201.
    Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Pierné: Piano Concertos / Pöntinen
    Label: Bis Twins   Catalog: 375/381 Release Date: 09/23/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Gabriel Pierné,  Edvard Grieg,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Dag Achatz,  Roland Pöntinen
    Conductor:  Jacques Houtmann,  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lorraine Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 202.
    Tchaikovsky, Grieg: Piano Concertos / Pöntinen, Segerstam
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 375 Release Date: 09/23/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Edvard Grieg
    Performer:  Roland Pöntinen
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
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  • 203.
    Tchaikovsky: Concerto No 1, Rachmaninov: Concerto No 2 / Cliburn
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 55912 Release Date: 01/12/1993   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Van Cliburn
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Kiril Kondrashin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  RCA Victor Symphony Orchestra
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  • 204.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Works For Piano & Orchestra / Ponti
    Label: Vox Box   Catalog: 5024 Release Date: 11/04/1992   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Michael Ponti
    Conductor:  Richard Kapp,  Louis de Froment
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Symphony Orchestra,  Luxembourg Radio/Television Symphony Orchestra
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  • 205.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano & Violin Concertos / Gilels, Oistrakh
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 46339 Release Date: 04/05/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Emil Gilels,  David Oistrakh
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 206.
    Schumann, Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos / Byron Janis
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 432011 Release Date: 02/08/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Byron Janis
    Conductor:  Herbert Menges,  Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 207.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 1, Etc / Graffman, Szell
    Label: Cbs Great Performances   Catalog: 37263 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Gary Graffman
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 208.
    Tschaikowsky: Piano Concerto No 1, Etc / Kissin, Karajan
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 427485 Release Date: 09/10/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Evgeny Kissin
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 209.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concertos 1 & 3 / Feltsman, Rostropovich
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 45756 Release Date: 07/26/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Feltsman
    Conductor:  Mstislav Rostropovich
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Symphony, Washington, D. C.
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  • 210.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 1, Etc / Gutiérrez, Zinman
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80193 Release Date: 07/13/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Horacio Gutierrez
    Conductor:  David Zinman
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
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