1. Life
2. Selected Discography


Pyotr TchaikovskyPyotr Tchaikovsky (Kamsko-Votkinsk, Vyatka province, 25 April/7 May 1840 – St Petersburg, 25 October/6 November 1893), Russian composer. Although in his lifetime and in the decades immediately after his death his music was considered too superficial by the critics, Tchaikovsky’s popularity was never in question among the audiences and now he is considered the most important Russian composer.

Though educated for a career as a civil servant, Tchaikovsky entered the Saint Petersburg Conservatory and graduated in 1865. While at the Conservatory, Tchaikovsky met Anton Rubinstein, who taught him instrumentation and composition, and their friendship lasted several years, despite their opposite points of view regarding the music. Also, studying at the Conservatory had two important consequences on Tchaikovsky’s musical activity: he was the first composer in his country who seriously considered composition as a professional activity, and it exerted a heavy influence on his style, because in his works Tchaikovsky always assimilated folk traditions with the praxis of Western music, creating a synthesis that has a typical Russian sound.

His “professionalism” was the reason why his relationship with the Mighty Handful and their inspiring leader, Mily Balakirev, was often strained, despite Balakirev’s initial enthusiasm for the young composer. Also Tchaikovsky’s relationship with Rubinstein was difficult and the former teacher’s criticism to the First Piano Concerto is well known.

And yet, Tchaikovsky was able to attain success and now several of his works are worldwide famous: his six symphonies (especially the “Pathétique”, No. 6), his Piano Concertos, his operas (Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades) and especially his three ballets (The Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcraker), which were innovative for the harmonization of music and choreography.

Tchaikovsky is described as a kind and generous man, but his private life was saddened by mourning and divisions. His marriage lasted only six weeks and even his patroness and confidante Nadezhda von Meck, who granted him a pension for more than a decade, broke off relations with him in 1890. Therefore, Tchaikovsky was often depressed and his mood casts a shadow on his death in 1893. Though generally ascribed to cholera, rumour has it that actually Tchaikovsky intentionally put an end to his life.

Selected Discography


Eugene Onegin: Decca, 2008 / Renée Fleming, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Ramon Vargas, Elena Zaremba / Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Chorus & Ballet / Valery Gergiev, conductor / Decca, 2008 View ProductBuy from Amazon

Tchaikovsky Pique Dame Vishnevskaya Resnik Popp RostropovichPique Dame

Peter Gougaloff, Galina Vishnevskaya, Dan Iordăchescu, Regina Resnik, Hanna Schwartz, Lucia Popp
Chœur Tchaikovsky
Orchestre National de France
Mstislav Rostopovich, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 1977, 2002
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Sacred Music

Tchaikovsky Liturgy of St John Chrysostom Matthew BestLiturgy of St John Chrysostom

Corydon Singers
Matthew Best, conductor
Helios, 1997 (2012)
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Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker Symphony no. 4 Valery Gergiev

The Nutcracker – Symphony no. 4

Mariinsky Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, conductor
Mariinsky, 2016
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Tchiakovsky Project Bychkov Pathetique Romeo et JulietteThe Tchaikovsky Project: Pathétique, Roméo et Juliette

Czech Philharmonic
Semyon Bychkov, conductor
Decca, 2016
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Piano Works

Tchaikovsky Chopin Ingolf Wunder Vladimir AshkenazyTchaikovsky & Chopin

Ingolf Wunder, piano
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
Vladimir Ashkenazy, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 2014
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Olga Scheps TchaikovskyOlga Scheps – Tchaikovsky

Piano Concerto no.1 – The Seasons: October, November – Chanson Triste – Concert Suite from The Nutcracker
WDR Sinfonieorchester
Carlos Domíngues-Nieto, conductor
Sony, 2017
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Works for Violin

Higdon and Tchaikovsky Violin concerto Hilary HahnHilary Hahn – Higdon & Tchaikovsky. Violin Concertos

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 2010
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Koh Tchaikovsky Complete Works for Violin and OrchestraTchaikovsky – Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra

Jennifer Koh, violin
Odense Symphony Orchestra
Alexander Vedernikov, conductor
Cedille, 2016
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Julia Fischer Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto, Sérénade MélancoliqueJulia Fischer – Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D, Op. 35 and other Works

Julia Fischer, violin
Yakov Kreizberg, piano
Russian National Orchestra
Yakov Kreizberg, conductor
Naxos, 2006

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