Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky- Greatest Russian Romantic Composer, 19th Century Russian composer Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is famous for ballet music Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker; opera Eugene Onegin; Symphony no.6; and Piano Concerto No.1.
Early Years: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, considered Russia's greatest composer of the 19th century, born on May 7, 840. He was known for his brilliance in orchestration and melody, along with his immense personal expression. He shares birthday with another famous Romantic composer Johannes Brahms, born seven years ahead of him.
Education and Influence: Tchaikovsky was extremely gifted with melodic invention combined with strong orchestration and ability to express his emotions in musical terms. For whatever critics and detractors might scoff at, Tchaikovsky's music is professional in sound and techniques. He formally studied at the St Petersburg Conservatoire. Of all composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was his lifelong idol he respected and admired as one of "passionate worship." (Tchaikovsky by David Mountfield, 1990) Regarded as one of the greatest Russian composers of the late Romantic period, he also produced the Classical beauty of the 18th century which is not surprising when his lifelong devotion for Mozart music is considered. Tchaikovsky's training at St Petersburg Conservatoire 'westernized' his musical technique, separating him from the more traditional and nationalistic school of Russian music.
The Russian Nationalist: He was no less a Russian nationalist than the famous "Mighty Handful" or "The Five" consisting of Balakirev, Borodin, Cui, Mussorgsky, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Like them, he used Russian folksong in his music.
Tchaikovsky's Orchestral Works: • Symphony No.1 "Winter Daydreams" • Fantasy overture "Romeo and Juliet" considered his first masterpiece • Symphony No.2 "Little Russian" closest in spirit with the nationalist 'The Five' • Symphony No.3 in D "Polish" • Piano Concerto No.1 in B Flat minor played by Hans von Bülow established his international fame • Symphony No.4 in F minor, dedicated to Nadezhda von Meck • Violin Concerto in D major, result of his friendship with the violinist Kotek • Manfred, Byron's poetic drama,published in 1817 • Symphony No.5 in E Minor, one of his most dramatic works • Symphony No.6 in B Minor, his greatest and last major work
Tchaikovsky's Ballet Music: His theatrical gifts were primarily for ballet and composed fine dances, with a special fondness for the waltz. He is best remembered for his three ballets: • Swan Lake • The Sleeping Beauty (regarded his masterpiece in spite lyrical beauty of Swan Lake) • The Nutcracker
Tchaikovsky's Operas: He wrote ten operas of which two are successful: On scale of economies, operas are always more expensive to produce than a symphony. Eugene Onegin was based on Pushkin's novel-poem. The Queen of Spades is also based on Pushkin's work, with libretto by Modest Tchaikovsky, Piotr's younger brother, a dramatist, librettist and translator.
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's popular music is often listened to on records and performed on stage. From the cascading notes of Piano Concerto No.1 to the captivating ballet music of Sleeping Beauty, his tuneful and passionate works are wrapped with intense emotional power and immediately appeals. His musical ability is clearly heard in his symphonies, concertos, ballets, operas, chamber music and songs, including that endearing "None but the Lonely Heart." Tchaikovsky died aged 53.