2 3 Throwback Thursday and Tchaikovsky | Ballet Webb

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Throwback Thursday and Tchaikovsky

Throwback Thursday and Tchaikovsky

Of all the famous composers, Tchaikovsky is probably the one most dancers know best - if only because of the Nutcracker. But Tchaikovsky is a fascinating person to research, and he remains somewhat of a mystery, even today.

He was born on in Russia on May 7, 1840, and it is said that even as a child he was given to spells of gloom and depression. He became obsessed with playing the family’s piano, and the music of Mozart was influential to him in his youth. In 1854, he produced his first work, a waltz for piano. However, he was apparently not a child prodigy, and his progress in music was slow. He was advised against pursuing a career in music by his piano teacher, Rudolf Kundinger.  

In 1866 he finished his studies at the conservatory in St. Petersburg and was hired as a teacher at the conservatory in Moscow. Here he began to develop himself as a composer. By the mid-1870s he had created three symphonies, three operas and the ballet Swan Lake. He went on to compose many more works including the 1812 Overture, which he said he greatly disliked. By the 1880s he had created The Sleeping Beauty ballet and the opera The Queen of Spades, and had become famous.

The 1890s found Tchaikovsky severely depressed, and this state of mind was heightened in 1891 when his sister, Alexandra died. It was during this dark time that the Nutcracker was composed. In 1893 he created the Pathetique, considered by many to be his finest work. Nine days after it premiered, Tchaikovsky died.

One of the mysteries about Tchaikovsky involves his death. Was it cholera, as many historians have recorded? Or could it have been suicide by arsenic poisoning?

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:

Dance History Factoid #101:  
Pyotr Llyich Tchaikovsky, unlike many famous composers, was not a child prodigy.

                Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.” 
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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