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: 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: Swan Lake / Jarvi, Bergen
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5124   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty / Jarvi, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 5113   Number of Discs: 2
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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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Work: Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23

Browse 26-50 of 257 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Label: Audiophile Classics   Catalog: 7706134 Release Date: 05/03/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Edward MacDowell,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Van Cliburn
    Conductor:  Fritz Reiner,  Walter Hendl,  Kiril Kondrashin
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  • 27.
    Ashkenazy - 50 Years on Decca
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001820202 Release Date: 04/02/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Boris Belkin,  Daniel Barenboim,  Fou Ts'ong  ... 
    Conductor:  Kiril Kondrashin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Lorin Maazel,  Uri Segal  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Wind Soloists  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 28.
    Pavel Kolesnikov: Live At Honens 2012
    Label: Honens   Catalog: 201203 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Pavel Kolesnikov,  Johannes Moser
    Conductor:  Roberto Minczuk
    CD: $18.99
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  • 29.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 1, Symphony No 6 / Richter, Mravinsky
    Label: Praga   Catalog: 350069 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    On sale! $25.98
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  • 30.
    70th Birthday Concert / Daniel Barenboim
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001809309 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Elliott Carter,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Staatskapelle Orchestra
    DVD: $29.99
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  • 31.
    Grigory Sokolov Plays Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Saint-saens
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002078 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Grigory Sokolov
    Conductor:  Neeme Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $54.49
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  • 32.
    Label: Abc Classics   Catalog: 4810117 Release Date: 03/05/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Simon Tedeschi
    Conductor:  Richard Bonynge
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  • 33.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto 1; Brahms: Piano Concerto 2 / Anda
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5092 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johannes Brahms
    Performer:  Géza Anda
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti,  Otto Klemperer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 34.
    Tsujii At White Nights / Nobuyuki Tsujii
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059358 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nobuyuki Tsujii,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Nobuyuki Tsujii,  Yuri Vorobiev,  Olga Sergeyeva
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
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  • 35.
    Tsujii At White Nights / Nobuyuki Tsujii [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2059354 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nobuyuki Tsujii,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Performer:  Nobuyuki Tsujii,  Olga Sergeyeva,  Yuri Vorobiev
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
    Blu-ray Video: $39.99
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  • 36.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1; Violin Concerto
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 320152 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  György Cziffra,  Leonid Kogan
    Conductor:  André Vandernoot,  Constantin Silvestri
    CD: $7.99
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  • 37.
    Rachmaninoff: Piano Concerto No. 3; Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 / Argerich, Chailly, Kondrashin
    Label: K2 Hd   Catalog: 651 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Riccardo Chailly,  Kiril Kondrashin
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  • 38.
    Bruckner, Brahms, Mussorgsky... / Gunter Wand
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 12043 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Johannes Brahms,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Jorge Bolet
    Conductor:  Günter Wand
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Richter Plays Tchaikovsky & Rachmaninov
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002017 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Kurt Sanderling,  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    CD: $18.99
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  • 40.
    Emil Gilels Plays Concertos & Sonatas
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   Catalog: 1991362 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Fritz Reiner,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Icon - John Ogdon
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 4637 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  Henri Dutilleux,  Florent Schmitt,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  John Ogdon
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Lawrence Foster,  Paavo Berglund,  John Pritchard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 42.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 1 / Trifonov, Gergiev, Mariinsky Orchestra
    Label: Mariinsky   Catalog: 530 Release Date: 09/12/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Daniil Trifonov
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Clifford Curzon Edition - Complete Recordings [23 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728400 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Clifford Curzon,  Irmgard Seefried,  Horst Günther,  Julius Patzak  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  George Szell,  Benjamin Britten,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 44.
    Van Cliburn: Great Piano Concertos
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 7742852 Release Date: 08/07/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Van Cliburn
    Conductor:  Erich Leinsdorf,  Eugene Ormandy,  Fritz Reiner,  Walter Hendl  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 45.
    A Martha Argerich Celebration - Argerich Plays Tchaikovsky & Prokofiev
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 3079858 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Prokofiev
    Performer:  Martha Argerich
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    DVD: $19.99
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  • 46.
    Lang Lang - Complete Recordings On Deutsche Grammophon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001697972 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Lang Lang,  Guo-Ren Lang,  Wu Yuxia,  Chen Shasha  ... 
    Conductor:  Daniel Barenboim,  Valery Gergiev,  Long Yu,  Christoph Eschenbach  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theater Orchestra,  Central Philharmonic Orchestra of China  ... 
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  • 47.
    Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1; Symphony No. 4
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001707602 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Vladimir Ashkenazy
    CD: $8.99
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  • 48.
    Arturo Toscanini - The Complete RCA Collection [84 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 791631 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 85
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Nan Merriman,  Jan Peerce,  Norman Scott  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Robert Shaw Chorale,  NBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $149.98
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  • 49.
    Label: Archipel   Catalog: 1068213 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz
    Conductor:  Bruno Walter
    CD: $9.99
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  • 50.
    Gunter Wand Edition Vol 20 - Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto; Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 9029 Release Date: 06/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Jorge Bolet
    Conductor:  Günter Wand
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  North German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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