Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
By Holly Shimabukuro
On May 7, 1840, Pyotr Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, Russia. He had one half-sister named Zinaida, an older brother named Nikolay, a younger sister named Alexandra, a younger brother Ippolit, and lastly, twin brothers named Modest and Anatol. His mother's name was Alexandra, and she was a very strict, self absorbed, woman. She did not give Pyotr kisses or hugs, but he grew up to be a very sensitive man who always loved his mother. She was the second wife of Tchaikovsky's father, Ilya. His family was wealthy and they lived on an estate with many serfs working for him. Alexandra was the musical influence on the young child, hosting musical soirees in his home. When Tchaikovsky was only 3, his mother hired a governess to help his education. Her name was Fanny Dürback who was at the time, 22 years old. She preferred him to read, rather than spend to much attention to music. At the age of 8, he moved to St. Petersburg and went to 2 different schools there.
Map of St. Petersburg
Tchaikovsky's mother always was fond of St. Petersburg and always wanted to live there. In 1848, his family finally moved there. Here, he first attended the Schmelling School, and Pyotr hated that one. Then at the age of 10, he was sent away to the School of Jurisprudence, also in St. Petersburg. Here, he did well in school and was able to make friends. He passed his entrance exams! He spent most of his life in the city.
Lang Lang plays Tchaikovsky : Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Opus 23 [HD]
Piano Concerto No. 1
Pyotr wrote many concertos, but his first was the most well-known out of all of them. He wrote it when he worked at the Moscow Conservatory in 1873. The head of the conservatory, Nikolay Rubinstein, immediately disliked it when he heard the concerto. He said it was too difficult to play and it was uneven. When Tchaikovsky heard that, he changed his mind about dedicating it to Rubinstein, and he decided to dedicate it to Hans von Bülow, a virtuoso pianist and conductor from Germany. Ever since the first performance of the concerto, it has been successful. In this video, a famous Chinese pianist, Lang lang, emotionally plays the concerto along with an orchestra.
Tchaikovsky's Other Pieces
Other than his famous Piano Concerto No. 1, here are some other well known pieces by Tchaikovsky.
- "Romance in F"
- "Romeo and Juliet"
- "The Oprichnik"
- "Swan Lake"
- "Nutcracker Suite"
- "1812 Overture"
Ever since he was a small boy, Tchaikovsky had a love for music. He not only created some of the most famous and well-known music to this day, he also went through some of the most miserable and traumatizing events that some people can never start to imagine. He lived through the death of both parents, being sent away to a boarding school at the young age of 10, and was still able to create magnificent music. Although people do admire him for being so brave through his childhood, that is not why Tchaikovsky is so well known today. He created legendary music that people travel from all over the would just to see. This is the ending of the poster, and I thought if would be good to end on a quote said by Tchaikovsky, himself. "Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven's gift to humanity wandering in the darkness."
- Map Of St. Petersburg, Russia, 1899. Photo. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 16 Mar 2016. <http://quest.eb.com/search/300_213686/1/300_213686/cite>
- Mr Osomatsu. “Lang Lang plays Tchaikovsky : Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Opus 23 [HD].” YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W1_shm7vdE>.
- Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) Russian composer.. Photography. Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest. Web. 16 Mar 2016. <http://quest.eb.com/search/300_2279844/1/300_2279844/cite>