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Today in 1840 - A Star Is Born: Tchaikovsky

7. May 2010 by Admin 0 Comments

If you use Google, you may have noticed their ballet-themed doodle today celebrating the 170th birthday of Russia’s own Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Born in 1840, Tchaikovsky composed some of the most popular theater and concert pieces including ballets Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty, as well as the 1812 Overture and the opera Eugene Onegin.

Tchaikovsky pursued a musical career against the wishes of his family and enrolled in the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1862. Like many gifted musicians, he was an emotionally troubled man, whose life was crippled by personal struggles and bouts of depression. Some speculate that his sudden death at 53 was a suicide, not cholera as it is generally conveyed. Despite his troubles and critical dismissal by the pundits of his day, Tchaikovsky is considered one of the greatest artists in the history of the music.

Writer Anthony Holden (in his book Tchaikovsky: A Biography) maintains that Tchaikovsky was the first legitimate professional Russian composer, stating that only traditions of folksong and music for the Russian Orthodox Church existed before Tchaikovsky's birth. Holden continues, "Twenty years after Tchaikovsky's death, in 1913, Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring erupted onto the musical scene, [signaling] Russia's arrival into 20th century music. Between these two very different worlds Tchaikovsky's music became the sole bridge."

Source: Wikipedia