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16. Tchaikovsky - Tchaikovsky Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky...

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Unformatted text preview: Tchaikovsky Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich, 184093, Russian composer. He is a towering figure in Russian music and one of the most popular composers in history. The son of a mining inspector, Tchaikovsky studied music as a child. At 19 he became a government clerk and at 21 entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied composition with Anton Rubinstein. He graduated in 1865 and taught theory and composition at Nicholas Rubinstein's Moscow Conservatory from 1865 to 1878. An annuity from his wealthy patroness, Mme von Meck (whom he never met though he corresponded with her for 14 years) made it possible for him to devote himself entirely to composition. Tchaikovsky wrote 11 operas, four concertos, six symphonies, a great number of songs and short piano pieces, three ballets, three string quartets, suites and symphonic poems, and numerous other works. His compositions sustained him throughout his continuous battle with his own nature. In 1877, Tchaikovsky made a disastrous marriage in order to defeat the torment of his homosexuality and to deny the spreading rumors of it. The failure of Tchaikovsky's marriage forced him to come to terms with his homosexuality. As he wrote to his brother Anatoly the following year: "Only now, especially after the incident of my marriage, have I finally begun to understand that there is nothing more fruitless than wanting to be other than what I am by nature." His work was again his consolation when Mme van Meck terminated her friendship and support without apparent reason. Tchaikovsky was opposed to the aims of the Russian nationalist composers and used Western European forms although his work instinctively reflects the Russian temperament. His orchestration is rich, and his music is melodious, intensely emotional, and often melancholy. The most successful of his compositions are his orchestral works, notably Romeo and Juliet (1869) the ballets Swan Lake (1877), Sleeping Beauty (1890), and The Nutcracker (1892). None of his operas, however, achieved the popularity of his symphonies, ballets, and concertos. Tchaikovsky toured as a conductor, performing his Marche solennelle at the opening concert in Carnegie Hall, New York City, in 1891. A few days after he conducted the premire of his Sixth Symphony, or Symphonie pathtique, he died, reportedly of cholera. Some experts believe that the cause was really suicide, possibly precipitated by the threatened revelation of a homosexual relationship. ...
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