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Peter

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Submitted By blackrose
Words 1963
Pages 8
Ashley Stoica
Music Appreication
Mrs. Gaskill
Tuesday November 30,2010
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is a Russia composerof the Romantic Era.He was born on May 7,1840 in Kamsku-Votkinsk, Russia, in the western Ura; Vyatka province of Russia, 630 miles from Moscow. He shares his birthday with another famous Romantic composer, Johanes Brahm, born seven years ahead of him. Tchaikovsky as the son of a enginer/ Mine Inspector, which allowed them to live comfortably. His mother greatly influecned his educational and cultrual upbringings because of her French and Russian hertiage. He was the oldest of four children. Tchaikovsky and his brothersand siste had a sound eduacation from thier French goveness. His parents sometimes took him to concert. One time after a conert, he would complained that he could not fall asleep because of the music stuck in his head. At age 4, he and sister composed a song for thier mother. At age 6, he was able to read in French and German. He reguraly received piano lessons from his nanny, Fanny Durbach. He was devoted to his mother, when she died when his was 14, it devasted him greatly. That same year he turned to serious compostion.
He attented law school in St. Peterburg, Russia, and while studying law and Governement, he took music lesson, including some composing from Gabreial Lomerkin. He graduated at the age of nineteen and took a job as a burea clerk. He worked hard, but he hated his jobl by the time he was totally absorbed by music. He went on to study at the St\. Petersburg Conversatory from 1891-1865. His training at St. Peterburg Conservatory "westernized" his musical tequingue seprating him from the more traditional and nationalistic school of Russia music. He was rgred as one of the greatest Russian composers of the late Romantic period, he also produced theClassical beauty of the 18th Century. His music is professioanl in sound and tequinue. His music has come to be known and loved for its distinctive Russian Character as well as its richharmonies and stirring meoldies. His work, however, were much more western than his Russian contemories as he effectivily used both natinialistic folk melodies and international element. Of all composers, Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart, was his lifelong idol he respected and admired as one of "passinate worship(Tchaikovsky by David Mountfield, 1990) In 1866, he was appoimted prfessor of Therory and Harmony at the Moscow Converstory established that year/ He geld that position til 1878.
The musical poems Fatum and Romeo and Juliet that he wrote in 1869 were the first works to show the style he became famousfor. In 1875 he composed what is perhaps his most iniverally known and loved work, the Piano Concerto No.1. Anton Rubunsteun (a Russian compser and pianist) mocked the pece, although he himself often performed it years later as a concert pianist. Also popular was Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake (1876). It is the most succesful of his work.

In 1876 Tchaikovsky became acquainted with Madam Nadejda von Meck, a wealthy widow, whose enthusiasm for the composer's music led her to give him an annual allowance of 600 pounds.made. plus whatever "bonuses" he could manage to get out of her. He was free to quit the conservatory, and he began a series of travels and stays abroad. She was attracted by his music and the possibility of supporting his creative work, and he was interested in her money and what it could provide him. Fourteen years later, however, Madame von Meck, believing herself financially ruined, abruptly terminated the subsidy. Although Tchaikovsky's other sources of income were by then adequate to sustain him, he was wounded by the sudden defection of his patron without apparent cause, and he never forgave her. The period of his connection with Madame von Meck was one of rich productivity for Tchaikovsky. To this time belong the operas Eugene Onegin (1878), The Maid of Orleans (1879), Mazeppa (1883) and TheSorceress (1887), the ballets Swan Lake (1876) and The Sleeping Beauty (1889), the Rococo Variations for Cello & Orchestra (1876), the Violin Concerto in D Major (1878), the orchestral works Marche Slave (1876), Francesca da Rimini (1876), Symphony #4 in F minor (1877), the overture The Year 1812 (1880), Capriccio Italien (1880), Serenade for string orchestra (1880), Manfred symphony (1885), Symphony #5 in E minor (1888), the fantasy overture Hamlet (1885) and numerous songs.Von Meck and Tchaikovsky purposely never met, except for one or two accidental encounters. In their correspondence Tchaikovsky discusses his music thoughtfully; in letters to his family he complains about her cheapness. He dedicated his Fourth Symphony (1877) to her. Tchaikovsky finished Eugene Onegin in 1879. It is his only opera generally performed outside the Soviet Union. Other works of this period are the Violin Concerto (1881), the Fifth Symphony (1888), and the ballet Sleeping Beauty (1889). Meanwhile, in 1877, Tchaikovsky, perhaps hoping to still the sexual identity conflicts, had married Antonina Milyukova, a music student at the Moscow Conservatory who had written to the composer declaring her love for him. In 1877 Tchaikovsky married the twenty-eight-year-old Antonina Miliukova, his student at the conservatory. It has been suggested that she reminded him of Tatiana, a character in his opera Eugene Onegin. His unfortunate wife, who became mentally ill and died in 1917, not only suffered rejection by her husband but also the vicious criticism of his brother Modeste Tchaikovsky.Tchaikovsky never stuck around to find out what she was like. Within a few weeks he had fled Moscow alone for an extended stay abroad. He made arrangements through his relatives to never see his wife again.This union was his attempt to adhere to social conventions, but it should also be noted that Antonina was soon going to receive an inheritance, and since he was prone to outspending his income, this possibility of financial gain could also have been a factor. Unfortunately, however, after two weeks of marriage, he found himself to be incompatible with Antonina and his situation to be unbearable. Fearing his wife would drive him insane, he fled to his sister’s estate in the Ukraine.

A short time later, he returned to his wife in Moscow, but fell ill within ten days. His brother Modest, concerned about his deteriorating health, took him away to St. Petersburg where Tchaikovsky soon had a nervous breakdown. The marriage was a disaster and they separated after only nine weeks, but he continued to support her for the rest of his life. In 1896, three years after Tchaikovsky’s death, Antonina was placed in an insane asylum and that was where she lived out the remainder of her days. In his correspondence of this period—indeed through a large part of his career—he was often morbid (gloomy) about his wife, money, his friends, even his music and himself. He often spoke of suicide. This, too, has been reported widely by Tchaikovsky's many biographers. Even during his life critics treated him unkindly because of his open, emotional music. But he never sought to change his style, though he was dissatisfied at one time or another with most of his works. He also never stopped composing. n Moscow Tchaikovsky enjoyed success. By 1866 he had completed his Symphony in G minor and by 1868 he had completed the opera The Voyevoda. He was a social celebrity and lived a lavish lifestyle slightly beyond his means.

In an 1868 visit to St. Petersburg, he spent time with members of The Five. He played his symphony for them from the manuscript, which they thought was “Russian” enough to pass their standards, but they still regarded him with some suspicion. As Rimsky-Korsakov noted “Our former opinion of him changed to a more favorable one, though this conservatory education still placed a considerable barrier between him and us.” Tchaikovsky likewise held The Five in dubious regard. In a letter written some ten years later he stated “…all of the newest Petersburg composers are very gifted persons, but they are all afflicted to the marrow with the worst sort of conceit and with a purely dilettantish confidence in their superiority over all the rest of the musical world.” He did, however, have high regard for Rimsky-Korsakov.

However, his personal life during this period was not as successful as his professional one. Tchaikovsky’s intimate relations throughout his lifetime are difficult to verify, but it is generally accepted that he was gay. It is from his letters to his brother Modest that we can infer that he experienced no unbearable guilt over his sexual orientation, but did take the negative social implications seriously. It was particularly important to him that he did not impact his family with any potential scandal. Despite his preference for male companionship, he seriously courted the diva, Désirée Artôt, who was performing in Moscow in 1868. Initially Artôt was interested, but she ended up marrying his rival, another singer from the opera company, which left Tchaikovsky heartbroken.

While his career continued to grow, his health was failing through much of 1886-1887. Believing that the end was near, he drafted his will and prepared for the inevitable. But it turned out that it was not his time. Instead, he continued to write music in his last years, staying very busy and in 1888, was awarded a lifetime pension for his work from Tsar Aleksandr III. His last work, Symphony No. 6 (Pathetique), premiered a week before his death. Now regarded as one of his best pieces, it unfortunately received a rather icy reception at the premiere.

Tchaikovsky died on October 25, 1893. The circumstances of his death are still a topic of debate. The original report was that Tchaikovsky unknowingly drank unboiled water and contracted cholera. Another theory is that he rather arrogantly drank unboiled water expecting to be impervious to it. Still a further conjecture put forth by some recent scholarship is that he committed suicide by arsenic poisoning, this being the respectable solution to avoid a scandal for engaging in a relationship with a nephew of the Tsar. Though the last theory makes for exciting reading, it is nearly impossible to substantiate with the surviving evidence.
Tchaikovsky's fame and his activity now extended to all of Europe and America. To rest from his public appearances he chose a country retreat in Klin near Moscow. From this he became known as the "Hermit of Klin," although he was never a hermit. In 1890 he finished the opera Queen of Spades, based on a story by the Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin (1799–1837). Tchaikovsky was happy when, despite the criticism of "experts," the opera was well received. In late 1890 Von Meck cut him off. He had reached the point where he no longer depended on her money, but he was still upset by her rejection. Even his brother Modeste expressed surprise at his anger. Tchaikovsky had an immensely successful tour in the United States in 1891.

The Sixth Symphony was first heard in October 1893, with the composer conducting. This work, named at Modeste's suggestion Pathétique, was poorly received—very likely because of Tchaikovsky's conducting. Tchaikovsky never knew of its eventual astonishing success, for he contracted cholera (a disease of the small intestine) and died, still complaining about Von Meck, on November 6, 1893.
In 1884, spurred by the composer Balakirev, Tchaikovsky entered a final productive period, completing his last three symphonies and the ballets The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker. His final work, the Sixth Symphony, deals powerfully with nothing less than the ideas of life, struggle and death. Nine days after its premiere, Tchaikovsky died. The circumstances of his death are still a matter of conjecture.

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