Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky's 1840-1893

By Ross Andrew Clem

Early Life

Piotr Ilych Tchaikovsky was born in Russia on May 7, 1840 in the foothills of the Urals mountains in a bright yellow mansion. Vivaldi loved his mother Alexandra very much, but strangely he was haunted by the memory of her hands "Such hands do not exist nowadays and never will again" he once said. Alexandra was self-centered and did not give Tchaikovsky hugs or kisses. Tchaikovsky had two sisters and four brothers. Tchaikovsky's mother hired a French governess to help teach the children, her name was Fanny. Fanny had a calming effect on Tchaikovsky but she was worried that Tchaikovsky's obsession with music was unhealthy.
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Dumped in the Dirt

Tchaikovsky was sent to a preparatory school when he was ten years old. His mother stayed with him for a while to get him settled and as a reward for getting good grades she took him to the opera "A Life for the Tsar". Eventually the time came for his mother to leave, Tchaikovsky was aloud to ride with his mother as far as the Central Turnpike. On the way to the turn pike Tchaikovsky cried a little in the carriage but when the moment came to go back to the school he lost all self control. When he stepped out of the carriage and the door closed behind him, he clung to the handle and refused to let go. Tchaikovsky had to be removed by force, as the coach started to move forward he got ripped off by the increasing speed. Then Tchaikovsky ran after the carriage and grabbed the backboard of the carriage and was dragged along the muddy cobbles until he was shook off.
P. I. Tchaikovsky - Ballet "Swan Lake" (excerpts), Op. 20 (Fedoseyev)

Swan Lake

Swan Lake premiered in 1877 and it did not go well. The dancers said the score was undanceable and the production overall was of poor quality. The ballet did not gain interest until after Tchaikovsky's death. Actually, Tchaikovsky never did see a satisfactory performance of Swan Lake. People think the storyline of Swan Lake from Russian and German folk tales as is the case of Romeo and Juliet. Even though Swan Lake was not fully appreciated during Tchaikovsky's life time, today it is one of the most well known ballets of all time.

Known Pieces

  • Piano Concerto No. 1
  • Swan Lake
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • The Fourth Symphony
  • The Nutcracker
  • The 1812 Overture

More music can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Pyotr_Ilyich_Tchaikovsky

Tchaikovsky's Legacy

Tchaikovsky's died in 1893. Tchaikovsky's legacy is an amazing thing with many pieces and ballets. Today Tchaikovsky's work is among the best in the world with ballets and overtures. Tchaikovsky is well known for his work on Romeo and Juliet and Swan lake. Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker is well respected today for its music and plot. Today many people still like and respect Tchaikovsky's work and hopefully people will still listen to and enjoy Tchaikovsky;s music.


  • Aknin, Joseph. "P. I. Tchaikovsky - Ballet 'Swan Lake' (excerpts), Op. 20
    (Fedoseyev)." Youtube. N.p., 27 Jan. 2012. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.
  • "List of compositions by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky." Wikipedia. N.p., 4 Mar.
    2016. Web. 17 Mar. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
  • TCHAIKOVSKY - House at Votkinsk where he was born.. Photograph. Encyclopædia
    Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 16 Mar 2016.
  • Tchaikovsky / Portrait Photo / c.1890. Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica
    ImageQuest. Web. 16 Mar 2016.