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Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (English: chy-KOF-skee; Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский, tr. Pëtr Ilʹič Čajkovskij, IPA: [pʲɵtr ɪlʲˈjitɕ tɕɪjˈkofskʲɪj] (listen); 7 May [O.S. 25 April] 1840  – 6 November [O.S. 25 October] 1893) was a Russian composer of the Romantic period. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, which was bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States. He was honored in 1884 by Tsar Alexander III and awarded a lifetime pension.

Although musically precocious, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. There was scant opportunity for a musical career in Russia at the time and no system of public music education. When an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the nascent Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1865. The formal Western-oriented teaching that he received there set him apart from composers of the contemporary nationalist movement embodied by the Russian composers of The Five with whom his professional relationship was mixed. Tchaikovsky's training set him on a path to reconcile what he had learned with the native musical practices to which he had been exposed from childhood. From that reconciliation, he forged a personal but unmistakably-Russian style, a task that did not prove easy. The principles that governed melody, harmony and other fundamentals of Russian music ran completely counter to those that governed Western European music, which seemed to defeat the potential for using Russian music in large-scale Western composition or for forming a composite style, and it caused personal antipathies that dented Tchaikovsky's self-confidence. Russian culture exhibited a split personality, with its native and adopted elements having drifted apart increasingly since the time of Peter the Great. That resulted in uncertainty among the intelligentsia about the country's national identity, an ambiguity mirrored in Tchaikovsky's career.

Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky's life was punctuated by personal crises and depression. Contributory factors included his early separation from his mother for boarding school followed by his mother's early death; the death of his close friend and colleague Nikolai Rubinstein; and the collapse of the one enduring relationship of his adult life, which was his 13-year association with the wealthy widow Nadezhda von Meck, who was his patron even though they never actually met each other. His homosexuality, which he kept private, has traditionally also been considered a major factor though some musicologists now downplay its importance. Tchaikovsky's sudden death at the age of 53 is generally ascribed to cholera; there is an ongoing debate as to whether cholera was indeed the cause of his death and whether his death was accidental or self-inflicted.

While his music has remained popular among audiences, critical opinions were initially mixed. Some Russians did not feel it was sufficiently representative of native musical values and expressed suspicion that Europeans accepted the music for its Western elements. In an apparent reinforcement of the latter claim, some Europeans lauded Tchaikovsky for offering music more substantive than base exoticism and said he transcended stereotypes of Russian classical music. Others dismissed Tchaikovsky's music as "lacking in elevated thought" and derided its formal workings as deficient because they did not stringently follow Western principles.

Birth and Death Data: Born May 7th, 1840 (Votkinsk), Died November 6th, 1893 (Malaya Morskaya Street, 13)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1900 - 1950

Roles Represented in DAHR: composer

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 532 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Berliner 01190 7-in. Apr. 1900 Eugene Onegin : Waltz Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix A-]341 7-in. 10/4/1900 Waltz Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor [Pre-matrix D-]2017 14-in. 1903 1812 overture Victor Grand Concert Band Band composer  
Victor C-2398 12-in. 3/22/1905 Marche slave (Coronation march) Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor C-2638 12-in. 6/15/1905 Pique dame overture Sousa's Band Band composer  
Victor C-2827 12-in. 10/20/1905 Eugene Onegin : Aria Albert G. Janpolski Baritone vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-3013 12-in. 1/17/1906 Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt Ernestine Schumann-Heink Contralto vocal solo, with cello obbligato composer  
Victor B-3403 10-in. 5/23/1906 Chanson sans paroles Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor C-3827 12-in. 9/21/1906 Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt Ernestine Schumann-Heink Contralto vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-3931 10-in. 10/18/1906 Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt Eladio A. Chao Baritone vocal solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-4485 12-in. 5/14/1907 Caprice Italien Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor C-4519 12-in. 5/21/1907 Berceuse Bessie Abott Soprano vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-4955 10-in. 11/20/1907 Serenade of Don Juan Alan Turner Male vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-6057 12-in. 3/26/1908 Sérénade de Don Juan Mario Ancona Baritone vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor B-6392 10-in. 9/3/1908 Chant sans paroles Louis Heine Cello solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-7040 12-in. 5/5/1909 1812 overture Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor C-8245 12-in. 9/21/1909 Festival overture Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor B-8260 10-in. 9/27/1909 Chant sans paroles Vienna Quartet Instrumental quartet composer  
Victor C-8748 12-in. 3/25/1910 Ye who have yearned alone Mrs. McCausland Female vocal solo, with piano and cello composer  
Victor C-8771 12-in. 3/30/1910 Adieu forêts Mrs. McCausland Female vocal solo, with orchestra composer  
Victor C-8800 12-in. 4/6/1910 Nur, wer die Sehnsucht kennt Mischa Elman Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor C-8812 12-in. 4/7/1910 Mélodie Mischa Elman Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor CC-8865 12-in. 4/19/1910 Symphonie no. 6, Pathétique Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
Victor B-8952 10-in. 5/13/1910 Chanson sans paroles Fritz Kreisler Violin solo, with piano composer  
Victor B-9057 10-in. 6/7/1910 Barcarolle Arthur Pryor's Band Band composer  
(Results 1-25 of 532 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich," accessed January 25, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102415.

Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 25, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102415.

"Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 25 January 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102415

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