Pyotr Tchaikovsky

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893), was a Russian composer of the romantic period, some of whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States. He was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension.

Although musically precocious, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. There was scant opportunity for a musical career in Russia at that time and no system of public music education. When an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the nascent Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1865. The formal Western-oriented teaching he received there set him apart from composers of the contemporary nationalist movement embodied by the Russian composers of The Five, with whom his professional relationship was mixed.

Tchaikovsky’s training set him on a path to reconcile what he had learned with the native musical practices to which he had been exposed from childhood. From this reconciliation he forged a personal but unmistakably Russian style. The principles that governed melody, harmony and other fundamentals of Russian music ran completely counter to those that governed Western European music, an ambiguity mirrored in Tchaikovsky’s career.

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Vocabulary:

Recommendations:

Listen to some of the most famous Tchaikovsky’s compositions in the following video and see if you can identify them.

Questionnaire:

  • What is the most famous Tchaikovsky’s composition?

Session 1

Welcome to this activity created by Junior Advisor Ms. Zaira Sanchez from Narvarte Branch. Take note of all the pink words, read the text, watch the video and answer the question in the comment section below.

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