This paper will discuss the life and work of the Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky in terms of his relationship to the Romantic movement in music. Tchaikovsky was born in 1840 in the town of Votinsk in Russia. Although he learned to play the piano as a child, his family wanted him to pursue a career as a lawyer. For this reason, Tchaikovsky began attending the St. Petersburg School of Jurisprudence at the age of 10, and by the age of 19 he obtained a position as clerk in the Ministry of Justice (Gilder 345). However, at the age of 22, Tchaikovsky decided to give up his life as a lawyer in order to become a composer of music. He went to the Conservatory of St. Petersburg for his musical training, and after graduation he got a job as a music teacher in Moscow.
Unfortunately, Tchaikovsky's change of career was not enough to bring him a life of happiness. Throughout his career as a composer, Tchaikovsky suffered from extreme depression and feelings of doubt. In 1877, he married a fellow student from the Conservatory of St. Petersburg, Antonina Miliukov. During that same period, however, Tchaikovsky also began a battle with his repressed feelings of homosexuality. His marriage to Antonina quickly fell apart when "he tried to drown himself, and nearly lost his reason" (Gilder 345). Nevertheless, soon after his divorce, Tchaikovsky's musical career took a turn for the better when he began receiving the patronage of a wealthy widow named Nadezhda von Meck. Because of her fondness for Tchaikovsky's music, von Meck corresponded with him and sent him money throughout the remainder of his life, even though they never met face-to-face. Under von Meck's patronage, Tchaikovsky became increasingly famous as a composer. Nevertheless, he continued to be depressed and withdrawn in his personal life. In the year 1893, when he was 53 years old, Tchaikovsky died suddenly from a case of cholera that he got from drinking some contaminated water. Some music...
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