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: Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48

Browse 1-25 of 101 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.
    Nostalgia & Humility / Burggraaf, Ferschtman, Wiegers
    Label: Challenge   Catalog: 72629 Release Date: 03/11/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Hendrik Andriessen,  Toru Takemitsu
    Performer:  Cora Burggraaf,  Liza Ferschtman
    Conductor:  Bas Wiegers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Youth String Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Tchaikovsky: 8 Symphonies / Rozhdestvensky, Kogan, Ivanov, Russian Federation Ministry of Culture Large Orchestra
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 6003 Release Date: 11/05/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Nina Derbina,  Alexander Polyakov
    Conductor:  Konstantin Ivanov,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Pavel Kogan,  Sergei Skripka  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Russian Federation Ministry Of Culture Large Orchestra,  Russian State Cinematographic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    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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  • 5.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 2, Serenade For Strings / Svetlanov
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1266 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  USSR State Symphony Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Tchaikovsky: Serenade For Strings; Souvenir De Florence / Amoyal, Camerata De Lausanne
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 52182 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Pierre Amoyal
    Conductor:  Pierre Amoyal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata de Lausanne
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  • 7.
    Souvenir / Trondheim Solistene
    Label: Two-l   Catalog: 90 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Carl Nielsen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trondheim Soloists
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  • 8.
    Tchaikovsky: Francesca Da Rimini; Italian Capriccio; Serenade For Strings
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1002031 Release Date: 01/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
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  • 9.
    Label: Supraphon   Catalog: SU3565-2 Release Date: 01/01/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Josef Vlach
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  • 10.
    Tchaikovsky: Famous Waltzes / Masur, New York Philharmonic
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 59354 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
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  • 11.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5; Serenade For Strings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001742102 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Vladimir Ashkenazy
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  • 12.
    Tchaikovsky: Transcriptions Vol 1 / Anthony Goldstone
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 25093 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Anthony Goldstone
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  • 13.
    Souvenir - Music Of Tchaikovsky & Nielsen [Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Two-l   Catalog: 90 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Carl Nielsen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trondheim Soloists
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  • 14.
    Tchaikovsky & Dvorak: Serenade For Strings - Orchestral Favourites Vol. 9
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7084 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  William Boughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English String Orchestra
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  • 15.
    Late Romantic Masterpieces / Charles Munch
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 899792 Release Date: 06/12/2012   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Gustav Mahler  ... 
    Performer:  Eileen Farrell,  Henryk Szeryng,  Gregor Piatigorsky,  Maureen Forrester
    Conductor:  Charles Munch
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 16.
    On Our Way: The Journey Of Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg & The New Century Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Nss Music (Dvd)   Catalog: 11 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hugo Wolf,  Astor Piazzolla,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Alfred Schnittke  ... 
    Performer:  Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Century Chamber Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Souvenir Part 1 / Trondheim Soloists
    Label: Two-l   Catalog: 2L090ALP Release Date: 03/27/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Carl Nielsen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trondheim Soloists
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  • 18.
    Ecco / East Coast Chamber Orchestra
    Label: eOne   Catalog: 7784 Release Date: 03/26/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Francesco Geminiani,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  East Coast Chamber Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Treasures Of Russia [3-CD Set]
    Label: Harmonia Mundi   Catalog: 2908385 Release Date: 02/14/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Brigitte Engerer,  Iris Oja,  Mati Turi
    Conductor:  Daniele Gatti,  Paul Hillier
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir
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  • 20.
    Label: Bayer Records   Catalog: BR100380 Release Date: 01/01/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  David Schultheiß,  Gabriel Faur,  Irene Lachner
    Conductor:  Ruben Gazarian
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
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  • 21.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 22.
    Icon: William Steinberg
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 26486 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Milstein,  Rudolf Firkusny
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $63.99
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  • 23.
    PentaTone - The First 10 Years
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186500 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Aram Khachaturian,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Julia Fischer,  Sa Chen,  Arabella Steinbacher,  Bram Beekman  ... 
    Conductor:  Yakov Kreizberg,  Simon Murphy,  Lawrence Foster,  Marek Janowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra,  Russian National Orchestra,  Chamber Soloists of The New Dutch Academy  ... 
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  • 24.
    Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies / Muti, Philharmonia
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 97999 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Andrei Gavrilov
    Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
    On sale! $57.98
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  • 25.
    Tchaikovsky: Serenade For String Orchestra; Suite No. 3
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 955 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    CD: $14.99
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