The Music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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People who listen to classical music can generally be classified into two groups, those who listen to Mozart-styled music, and those who listen to Bach-styled music. The main difference between the two, is being the rhythmic style; Mozart uses “soft” tones, and rhythm. His pieces flow smoothly and calm the listener. Bach on the other hand, uses heavier, driven notes. His work is often classified as being “cinematic” or “suspenseful”. The main point I like about Tchaikovsky is that he combines both styles, and successfully turns it into a single, beautiful piece of true artwork. One example of this is Tchaikovsky’s piece titled 1812 Festival Overture Op. 49. This piece starts very soft, and soothing with a string ensemble. Inwards, it switches between driving Brass/String movements, and back to lighter string ensembles. This continues throughout the piece until the Finale. This Finale is well know by many people, and may be the most recognizable in the world. Tchaikovsky even made it so that he could use live cannons (the heavy weapon of choice in that time period) in his finale rhythmically in time. If you ask me, that’s a pretty awesome feat to accomplish. Contrary to popular belief, many think that Tchaikovsky was a part of “The Five” (The five were Russian composers all from St. Petersburg during the same period as Tchaikovsky); but in fact was the opposite of the group. In mid- to late-19th-century Russia, Tchaikovsky and “The Five” had differing opinions on the nature of classical Russian music, specifically whether it should follow western or native compositional practices. Some of his work includes a symphonic poem titled Romeo & Juliet, (Tchaikovsky was heavily inspired by Shakespeare’s work), The Festival Overture of 1812 (my favorite), and three ballets; The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and Marche Slave. In total, Tchaikovsky wrote four concertos, six symphonies, and eight operas. He has written somewhere around 106 “songs”, and over a hundred piano works,...
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