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 7, 1840 (Votkinsk), Died November 6, 1893 (Malaya Morskaya Street, 13)
Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1900 - 1950
Roles Represented in DAHR: composer
= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.
Recordings (Results 1-25 of 620 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|
Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich," accessed May 20, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102415.
Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102415.
"Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 20 May 2022.
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