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, Grieg: Piano Concertos / Stewart Goodyear
Release Date: 06/10/2014   Label: Steinway & Sons  
Catalog: 30035   Number of Discs: 1
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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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Karajan 1949-1960: Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Balakirev, Stravinsky
Release Date: 05/13/2014   Label: Warner Classics  
Catalog: 633620   Number of Discs: 7
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Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Etc / Neeme Järvi, Gothenburg So
Release Date: 03/29/2005   Label: Bis  
Catalog: 1408   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48

Browse 76-100 of 102 Available Recordings
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  • 76.
    The Music Of Tchiakovsky, Mozart And Leniado-chira, Vol. 5
    Label: Music Usa   Catalog: 5637371732 Release Date: 03/26/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Joseph Leniado-Chira,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Joseph Leniado-Chira
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  • 77.
    Dvorak: Serenades For Strings/Tchaikovsky: Serenades For Strings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 470262 Release Date: 12/17/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák,  Edvard Grieg
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
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  • 78.
    Karajan Conducts Tchaikovsky / Ferras, Berlin Po, Et Al
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 463774 Release Date: 03/13/2001   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Michel Schwalbé,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Christian Ferras,  Sviatoslav Richter
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Don Kossack Choir
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  • 79.
    Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto & Serenade - Naxos Musical Journey
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 151006 Release Date: 03/13/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Takako Nishizaki
    Conductor:  Kenneth Jean,  Philippe Entremont
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
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  • 80.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Serenade / Steinberg, Pittsburgh Symphony
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 67568 Release Date: 02/13/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  William Steinberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
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  • 81.
    Tchaikovsky, Dvorak: Serenades For Strings
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8554048 Release Date: 10/06/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Jaroslav Krcek,  Philippe Entremont
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capella Istropolitana,  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
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  • 82.
    String Serenades - Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Elgar, Et Al
    Label: Virgin Classics   Catalog: 61763 Release Date: 06/27/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar,  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Josef Suk,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Chase,  Alexander Balanescu,  Christopher Warren-Green,  Douglas Cummings  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Warren-Green
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Chamber Orchestra
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  • 83.
    Tchaikovsky: Serenade For Strings, The Seasons / Oberlian, Moscow Chamber Orchestra
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3255 Release Date: 02/29/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Chamber Orchestra
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  • 84.
    Russian Orchestral Masterworks
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 1749 Release Date: 01/11/2000   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Igor Stravinsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Conductor:  Tadaaki Otaka,  William Boughton,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky,  Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC National Orchestra of Wales,  English String Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 85.
    Serenades: Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Elgar
    Label: Dux Records   Catalog: 560 Release Date: 01/01/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 86.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 6, Serenade For Strings
    Label: Spj Music   Catalog: 90019 Release Date: 04/07/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
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  • 87.
    Tchaikovsky: Souvenir De Florence, Serenade For Orchestra
    Label: Denon Records   Catalog: 75026 Release Date: 11/29/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Jean-Jacques Kantorow
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Auvergne Chamber Orchestra
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  • 88.
    Tchaikovsky: The Children's Album, Etc / Spivakov, Moscow
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 61964 Release Date: 08/30/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Vladimir Spivakov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Moscow Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra
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  • 89.
    Brahms, Tchaikovsky: Serenades / Rahbari, Entremont, Et Al
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 553227 Release Date: 02/04/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johannes Brahms
    Conductor:  Philippe Entremont,  Alexander Rahbari
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra,  Brussels Belgian Radio & TV Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 90.
    Tchaikovsky, Dvorák: Serenades For Strings /Duczmal, Amadeus
    Label: Arts Music   Catalog: 47287 Release Date: 09/01/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Agnieszka Duczmal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Amadeus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 91.
    Art Of Classics - Beliebte Orchesterwerke
    Label: Intercord Klassische Diskothek   Catalog: 25920 Release Date: 05/23/1995   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Jean Sibelius  ... 
    Conductor:  Siegfried Köhler,  Yan Pascal Tortelier,  Günther Wich,  Gennadi Rozhdestvensky  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Hungarica,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 92.
    Tchaikovsky, Dvorák: Serenades / Berglund, New Stockholm Co
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 243 Release Date: 03/25/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Paavo Berglund
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Stockholm Chamber Orchestra
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  • 93.
    Dvorák, Tchaikovsky: String Serenades
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 57226 Release Date: 02/08/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Alexander Titov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg Conservatory Chamber Orchestra
    CD: $4.99
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  • 94.
    The Best Of Tchaikovsky
    Label: Philips Duo   Catalog: 438386 Release Date: 08/10/1993   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Performer:  Henryk Szeryng,  Midori,  Werner Haas
    Conductor:  Igor Markevitch,  Bernard Haitink,  Antal Doráti,  Pierre Monteux  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
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  • 95.
    Tchaikovsky: Serenade For Strings, Souvenir / Entremont
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8550404 Release Date: 06/30/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Philippe Entremont
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Chamber Orchestra
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  • 96.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5, Serenade For Strings / Ormandy
    Label: Sony Classical Essential Classics   Catalog: 46538 Release Date: 08/19/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 97.
    Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Etc / Dorati, London So
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 432750 Release Date: 08/09/1991   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Hungarica,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 98.
    Grieg: Holberg Suite; Tchaikovsky / Orpheus CO
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 423060 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Edvard Grieg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
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  • 99.
    Pachelbel: Kanon; Et Al / Slatkin, Saint Louis So
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80080 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Johann Pachelbel,  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
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  • 100.
    Tchaikovsky, Dvorak: String Serenades / Karajan, Berlin Po
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 400038 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    CD: $15.99
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