Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Biography [1840-1893] The greatest Russian composer
Tchaikovsky Trembol Card
- 🗿 Name: It’s written Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in English, Piotr Ilich Chaikovski in Spanish and Piotr Il’ič Čajkovskij in Russian.
- 🎂 Year: He was born in Russia on April 25, 1840 and died on October 25, 1893.
- 👫 Genres: Classical music, symphony, opera and ballet.
- ✍🏽 Signature:
- 🎖️ Highlights: His most important ballets are, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. Also outstanding are, the 1812 Overture, Romeo and Juliet, the First Piano Concerto, the Violin Concerto, the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Symphonies and the operas Eugene Onegin and Lady in Spades.
- 💿 Recordings: According to Tchaikovsky Research, there are more than 14,000 recordings and 43,000 editions of Tchaikovsky’s music 😳
There is no doubt that for some months I have been a bit crazy, and only now, being fully recovered, have I learned to relate objectively to everything I did during my brief period of insanity.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky | Biography & Music
Chapter 1 | Feeling of loneliness in a large family
- His father, Ilya Petrovich Tchaikovsky, was a mining engineer working for the state. His mother, Aleksandra Adréyevna, of French origin, was the second of three wives of Ilya 👪
- His family was very fond of music, in fact, his brother Modest ILich Tchaikovsky, was a playwright, librettist and translator.
- When he was only 3 years old, Tchaikovsky began to be raised by Fanny Dürrbach, a governess of French origin who would come to fill the void left by his own parents.
- In fact, it is said that Aleksandra, Piotr’s mother was a “cold, unhappy and distant” woman with her son, although historians have different theories about this.
- Despite his son’s recognizable talent, it seems that his parents did not want him to be an artist and decided to send him in 1850 to the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in St. Petersburg, an institution that produced state officials.
- Before being able to access this school, whose entrance age was 12 years old, Tchaikovsky had to spend two years away from home and boarded at the preparatory school of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence, where he would spend the next 7 years of his life studying 🏫
- This event made him approach music again composing a waltz as a tribute to Aleksandra.
- Arts were not the strong point of his School, so Tchaikovsky began to go regularly to the theater and opera with friends, discovering his passion for the works of Rossini, Bellini, Verdi or Mozart 🎭
- Given the boy’s preferences, his father again paid for piano lessons for him, this time with the prestigious teacher Rudolph Kündigen.
Chapter 2 | Music and bands
- A year later he follows in the wake of his profersor, Nikolai Zaremba, his teacher at the SMR, and moves to the St. Petersburg Conservatory.
- For 3 years he learned everything related to harmony, counterpoint and fugue, knowledge added to those provided by the director of the institution, Anton Rubinstein, who taught him all about instrumentation and composition.
- The goal? Learning to compose like the great masters of classical music, Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovisky First Symphony
- This is how he began to adapt and modify Western classical standards to his own style, avoiding the path set by his teachers and peers.
- Tchaikovsky graduates in 1865 🎓, moment in which he also presents to his teachers his First Symphony, performed for the first time, with great success, in 1868.
- The purpose of all of them was to enhance the value of Russian musical art, leaving aside the mere reproduction of European music sounds. To do so, they took progressive musicians such as Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt and Robert Schumann as references.
- On the other hand, Tchaikovsky, an advanced student of Rubinstein and the object of numerous criticisms, did make use of popular songs in his works, following certain Western practices when composing.
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovisky Romeo and Juliet
- This led Tchaikovsky to begin a working relationship with Mili Balakirev, which bore fruit with the creation, in 1869, of the Overture Romero and Juliet, one of the composer’s most famous masterpieces
- Thanks to this work, the differences with the members of The Five were smoothed out, although Tchaikovsky never had a close relationship with most of them.
Tchaikovsky and his first relationships1868 was an eventful year for Tchaikovsky also on a personal level. He had a crush on the Belgian soprano Désirée Artôt, with whom he even became engaged. Despite being his muse in compositions such as the Romance in F Minor for piano, a year later their relationship would end suddenly because Artôt left him for another members of his group 😕
- Having independence in their creations was easy, because some time later, Tchaikovsky was admitted to the chair of the Moscow Conservatory and because somewhat later, the members of the group would split up.
- In fact, from this separation arose a new group, the Belyayev Circle, with whose members Tchaikovsky maintained a much closer relationship.
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovisky Romance in F minor for piano
- His 1970s decade was wonderful, including great works such as the First Piano Concerto, Variations on a Rococo Theme or Swan Lake 🦢.
- All his works were well received by critics, but his personal life was a real turmoil. In the midst of that tempest, it is said that his creativity rose to higher levels. From that period of time are the Fourth Symphony and the opera Eugene Onegin.
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovisky First piano concerto
Tchaikovsky and his failed marriageIn 1877, although there were always doubts about his sexuality, Tchaikovsky married Antonina Miliukova, one of his former composition students 💍 Antonina and the composer never really got to be together, as the union produced in Tchaikovsky a state of crisis that even caused him to go to Switzerland to try to recover.
- In fact, the work was booed at its premiere in Vienna and not even its sponsor, Eduard Hanslick, seemed to make sense of it.
- But it was not all bad news, thanks to the violinist Iósif Kotek, Tchaikovsky met Nadezhda von Meck, a wealthy widow of one of the magnates of the railroad industry who would become his patron 💰
- For a time and thanks to his income, Tchaikovsky travels between various cities in Russia and Europe. During this time he puts aside the composition of personal songs for fear of revenge from Antonina, the woman he married a year earlier.
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovisky Overture 1812
A long distance relationship
Incredible as it may seem, Nadezhda, his patron, and Tchaikovsky never saw each other in person. That did not prevent their relationship from going far beyond money. They shared countless confidences through the letters they sent to each other during the more than 10 years of their special friendship ✉️
- This decoration was a demonstration of the support to the composer, whose career was magnificent, as demonstrated by the enormous success of one of his last works, the Third Orchestral Suite, premiered in 1885.
- Motivated surely by this honor, Tchaikovsky returned to his country and began his stay by accepting a new commission from the Tsar, a new production of Eugene Onegin.
- All this work led Tchaikovsky to receive a lifetime pension of 3,000 rubles a year from the tsar 💶
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovisky Eugene Onegin
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovisky Fifth Symphony
- Thanks to this debut, Tchaikovsky was able to gradually overcome his stage fright, thanks in part to the number of cities that demanded his presence.
- Already experienced in conducting, he premiered his Fifth Symphony and Hamlet in St. Petersburg in 1888.
- As a conductor, he also traveled throughout Europe and even reached North America, where he ended up conducting the orchestra of the New York Symphony Orchestra Society in 1891 🗽
- Two years later, Tchaikovsky receives an honorary degree as Doctor of Music from Cambridge University.
- During these years, Tchaikovsky also composed the music for The Sleeping Beauty, a fairy tale consisting of a prologue and three acts.
Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovisky The Nutcrucker
- Tchaikovsky would realize thanks to a letter delivered directly by a servant of Nadezhda’s, as Nadezhda could hardly write anymore.
- In addition to his health problems, Tchaikovsky discovered some time later that his generous benefactress might also be going through financial problems.
- His death came suddenly only six days after the premiere of his Sixth Symphony, the Pathétique.
- Although his death was initially attributed to cholera, the truth is that there have always been rumors that the composer ended his life himself.
- Be that as it may, since that moment his body lies in the Tikhvinskoye Cemetery, in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, resting for eternity very close to companions such as Modest Músorgski or Mili Balákirev.
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