4 December 2008
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Born May 7, 1840 in Votkinsk, Russia, Tchaikovsky was a famous composer during the romantic time period of music and was the most famous Russian composer. Tchaikovsky was born to a small middle class family. His father was a miner and his mom died when he was 14. He started learning to play piano at the age of 5 and soon showed a great talent for it. At age 10 he was sent to the School of Jurisprudence at St. Petersburg where he and his family would live for quite some time. Tchaikovsky originally started studying law, but his involvement in music became a lot greater and therefore he followed his calling by entering the St. Petersburg Conservatory where he studied from 1863 to 1865.
While at the Conservatory he came to know a group of composers, Rimsky-Korsakov and Balakierev, who influenced his second symphony because of their nationalistic beliefs. Eventually, however, he became rejected by the group, because they thought he was too conservatory trained and that his music wasn’t nationalistic enough. While his music was Russian, it was imbued with his love of Mozart and other Western European influences.
Tchaikovsky didn’t really like other composer’s pieces. Tchaikovsky didn’t even like Wagner (pronounced VAg-Ner) or Brahms’s music, who were two leading composers during the romantic period. Tchaikovsky didn’t even like Beethoven’s music, who happened to be one of the most famous composers of all time. He would have this to say about Beethoven and Mozart: "It angers me that that presumptuous mediocrity is recognized as a genius." Regarding Beethoven, "I acknowledge the greatness of some of his works, but I do not love him." Mozart however, was "a musical Christ."
Tchaikovsky was a secretive homosexual and made the mistake of marrying one of his pupils, who unfortunately was not very bright, and a nymphomaniac as well. The marriage lasted nine weeks culminating in...