Author Topic: Tchaikovsky  (Read 59433 times)

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #360 on: February 13, 2018, 06:38:42 AM »
No one?  Great question.

Wonder if San Antone knows of one?
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Offline Biffo

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #361 on: February 13, 2018, 07:30:26 AM »
Can anyone recommend an outstanding biography of Tchaikovsky, especially one that covers the controversy surrounding his death in detail?

You could try 'Tchaikovsky: The Man and his Music' by David Brown. I read it many years ago and recall that it was well-received at the time. I believe it was David Brown who first suggested that Tchaikovsky committed suicide to avoid a scandal. He discusses it in some detail including the stuff about a 'Court of Honour' at his old college. I can't say I was convinced at the time and still aren't.

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Tchaikovsky SWAN LAKE = AUDIO HELL ON EARTH???
« Reply #362 on: February 13, 2018, 07:45:08 AM »

Ten minutes in and I'm in a rage, hearing the worst awful bombastic beat me over the head stereotypical poofty blue hair music I've ever heard. Surely, if this was allowed to go on I would go mad quickly. The bombing starts and never stops!!! It's just awful

awful awful "music"... i     AAAAAAAHAHHHHHHHH >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D  Seriously, I wasn't ready for something so damaging to my delicate sensibilities... ack ???

So reading between the lines, you're saying you don't like this........?

Offline amw

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #363 on: February 17, 2018, 09:14:09 PM »
Can anyone recommend an outstanding biography of Tchaikovsky, especially one that covers the controversy surrounding his death in detail?
I think Poznansky's Tchaikovsky: The Quest for the Inner Man was decent but it's been a while.....

Biographers are in kind of an awkward place since before 1991, and then after 2012, information about Tchaikovsky's sexuality was subject to official censorship, but luckily some previously suppressed letters and documents were made available and translated during those intervening years. I think the suicide theory dates from a time when Tchaikovsky's correspondence was still unavailable to scholars. Poznansky's biography was the first one to come out after the fall of the Iron Curtain but may have been superseded since then; was still recommended reading when I was at uni in 2009-2012 though.

Online Cato

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #364 on: February 18, 2018, 07:39:29 AM »
Amazon has this about a biography which came out c. 18 months ago:

Part of the "Critical Lives" series: Tchaikovsky by Phillip Ross Bullock

Quote
When Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky died of cholera in 1893, he was without a doubt Russia’s most celebrated composer. Drawing extensively on Tchaikovsky’s uncensored letters and diaries, this richly documented biography explores the composer’s life and works, as well as the larger and richly robust artistic culture of nineteenth-century Russian society, which would propel Tchaikovsky into international spotlight.
            Setting aside clichés of Tchaikovsky as a tortured homosexual and naively confessional artist, Philip Ross Bullock paints a new and vivid portrait of the composer that weaves together insights into his music with a sensitive account of his inner emotional life.


Quote
“In his concise but pithy study of the composer, blending biography with a perceptive account of the music itself, Bullock explores the individual characteristics of each of the stage works. . . . The account of the life into which the discussion of the works is so skillfully woven is no less considered and thoughtful . . . Bullock looks at the various possibilities, as he does everything else in this surprisingly comprehensive account, with complete expertise as well as fair-mindedness.”
(Opera Magazine)

224 pages, so nothing like the Mahler biography of Henry-Louis de la Grange!   ;)
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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #365 on: February 18, 2018, 07:47:52 AM »
Around the age of 16, I borrowed from the local library and read Beloved Friend: The Story of Tchaikowsky and Nadejda Von Meck by Catherine Drinker Bowen. They were mainly translated letters from the two of them. Of course, it seemed weird that they were avoiding actually meeting up. (I discovered the music of Tchaikovsky thanks mainly to the lending LP department of said library.)
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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #366 on: February 28, 2018, 06:39:30 AM »
Around the age of 16, I borrowed from the local library and read Beloved Friend: The Story of Tchaikowsky and Nadejda Von Meck by Catherine Drinker Bowen. They were mainly translated letters from the two of them. Of course, it seemed weird that they were avoiding actually meeting up. (I discovered the music of Tchaikovsky thanks mainly to the lending LP department of said library.)


Yes, I had a similar experience in my early years in the 50's and 60's!  Whoever was the Music Department librarian for the Dayton library must have been a person of tremendous knowledge: e.g. the Louisville Symphony's records of contemporary music were always available, Prokofiev's The Flaming Angel (in French in mono, I think, but still...!), DGG records of all kinds, but especially Bruckner, Mahler, and Schoenberg, Composers Recordings Inc. with things like Julian Carrillo's quarter-tone a capella  ??? :o 8) Mass for Pope John XXIII.

Plus, a great library of scores and books on musical theory from Fux through Rimsky-Korsakov and Schoenberg to George Perle!!!  Without those resources, I could never have become an autodidact in Music.

I am reminded of those days more and more because I am currently revisiting the Tchaikovsky symphonies and assorted tone-poems via the performances of Antoni Wit and the Polish National Orchestra.
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Offline BasilValentine

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #367 on: February 28, 2018, 10:37:09 AM »
Can anyone recommend an outstanding biography of Tchaikovsky, especially one that covers the controversy surrounding his death in detail?

There is no controversy. Poznansky's excellent biography covers this nonsense, pp. 605-7. Little detail required because it is such obvious BS. It was a rumor started a couple of years after the composer's death by R. A. Mooser, a critic and hanger on in the Petersburg musical scene who claimed he heard the story from Glazunov and Riccardo Drigo, conductor at the Mariinsky Theater, who were alleged to have heard it from unidentified sources with first hand knowledge. Thus it is at best a third hand rumor started by someone with no credible basis for the story. The story is ridiculous on its face because Tchaikovsky's homosexuality had been an open secret for years.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2018, 10:39:10 AM by BasilValentine »

Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #368 on: May 07, 2018, 12:50:30 PM »
Curiously, two of my all-time favorite composers were born the same day. Happy birthday Piotr!

After the Brahms's Violin concerto, I'll play the incredibly awesome Piano trio in A minor. This work gives me tons of goosebumps.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 12:52:26 PM by SymphonicAddict »

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #369 on: May 08, 2018, 02:16:59 AM »
The Trio is exquisite.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #370 on: May 09, 2018, 04:01:08 AM »
The Trio is exquisite.

I hear I'm going to need the most depressing recording of this to make it work for me. Is that Repin/Berezovsky...??...Erato...

So reading between the lines, you're saying you don't like this........?

Hey, I had no idea I would react this way...



Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #371 on: May 09, 2018, 09:52:29 AM »

Offline kyjo

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #372 on: May 14, 2018, 06:54:20 PM »
After the Brahms's Violin concerto, I'll play the incredibly awesome Piano trio in A minor. This work gives me tons of goosebumps.

The Piano Trio is indeed a masterpiece, and has possibly become my favorite Tchaikovsky work, especially as some of his more overplayed pieces (Symphonies 4-6, Violin Concerto, Romeo and Juliet, and the ballets) have lost their luster to me through over-exposure. I think the sudden, tragic turn back to A minor after such a jubilant celebration of A major near the end of the Trio is a masterstroke and never fails to leave me emotionally shattered.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 06:56:11 PM by kyjo »
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Offline SymphonicAddict

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #373 on: May 14, 2018, 07:17:49 PM »
The Piano Trio is indeed a masterpiece, and has possibly become my favorite Tchaikovsky work, especially as some of his more overplayed pieces (Symphonies 4-6, Violin Concerto, Romeo and Juliet, and the ballets) have lost their luster to me through over-exposure. I think the sudden, tragic turn back to A minor after such a jubilant celebration of A major near the end of the Trio is a masterstroke and never fails to leave me emotionally shattered.

Absolutely yes!! That is the highlight, the nerve center which always amazes me. It's a very strong contrast at that point, really masterful.

Offline Moonfish

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #374 on: June 05, 2018, 10:57:59 PM »
OPERAS
Just wanted to add this current release here on the Tchaikovsky thread. Not sure about the quality and the exact information apart from the box cover (even the Profil/Hanssler page lacks additional information!!!).  Many of these operas are OOP and, if available via a third party, quite expensive. The early operas could be of some interest depending on the recording quality and performance? Does anybody have more info about these performances?

A compilation of older recordings of Tchaikovsky's operas (as well as some fragments/incidental music) from Profil/Hanssler
Available in Germany now
June 15, 2018 - UK and the US

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tchaikovsky-Complete-Operas-Various-PH17053/dp/B07BX51QNZ

« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 08:19:23 AM by Moonfish »
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #375 on: June 06, 2018, 12:38:28 AM »
I think Poznansky's Tchaikovsky: The Quest for the Inner Man was decent but it's been a while.....

Biographers are in kind of an awkward place since before 1991, and then after 2012, information about Tchaikovsky's sexuality was subject to official censorship, but luckily some previously suppressed letters and documents were made available and translated during those intervening years. I think the suicide theory dates from a time when Tchaikovsky's correspondence was still unavailable to scholars. Poznansky's biography was the first one to come out after the fall of the Iron Curtain but may have been superseded since then; was still recommended reading when I was at uni in 2009-2012 though.

... Poznansky's excellent biography..

Poor reviews in NYT at the time..
The first one:
https://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/05/books/outing-peter-ilyich.html

"In "Tchaikovsky," Alexander Poznansky leaves his readers in no doubt that the inner man he seeks is precisely the one who has been censored out of sight. That, of course, produces a difficulty. Since the evidence is not available, conclusions about Tchaikovsky's secret life have to be largely a matter of guesswork. Mr. Poznansky, however, is quite some guesser, and brazen enough even to leave it quite apparent how his guesses are guided by three fixed ideas -- ideas whose motivations and relative priorities in his mind one would have to guess at oneself (the task can be left to those who go in quest of the inner Poznansky)."

"But what is most lacking here is any sense that Tchaikovsky spent a great deal of his life composing music. Not so surprisingly, he too wrote about the existence within himself of an "inner" being, notably in a long letter (of which Mr. Poznansky makes nothing) to his distant patroness Nadezhda von Meck. For him, though, the inner man was the one responsible for the symphonies, concertos, ballets, operas, quartets, songs and so much that Mr. Poznansky skims in quest of something else."


The second one:
https://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/24/books/books-of-the-times-a-life-of-tchaikovsky-but-without-his-music.html

"If this laboriously researched volume helps to shed some new light on Tchaikovsky's life, it also suffers from Mr. Poznansky's decision to focus so insistently on his subject's private life. The composer's musical evolution is virtually ignored, and individual works are discussed in a highly cursory fashion. As a result, the reader is left with little real understanding of the imaginative transactions that took place between Tchaikovsky's life and art."

Kirkus review stated:
"Poznansky concludes, having offered no evidence to support it, that Tchaikovsky's life ``is a generous achievement worth telling for its own sake.'' The evidence he does offer supports an interpretation of the composer as a classic narcissist, a concept relevant to his talent and his music. But, while Poznansky claims to be writing ``historical psychology,'' he seems to show little interest in or knowledge of psychology, nor does he get past the charming facade and effusive letters in his pursuit of what he calls the ``inner man.'' "
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/alexander-poznansky/tchaikovsky/
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 12:50:02 AM by Moonfish »
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Offline Moonfish

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #376 on: June 06, 2018, 09:35:01 AM »
This seems to be the "standard" and most in-depth Tchaikovsky biography?
Any other recommendations?

David Brown's multi-volume Tchaikovsky biography:

« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 09:31:59 PM by Moonfish »
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Offline Maestro267

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #377 on: July 10, 2018, 07:07:07 AM »
So I've just learned that Tchaikovsky used the celesta before the famous Nutcracker appearance. It appears in his symphonic ballad The Voyevoda.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #378 on: July 10, 2018, 07:23:18 AM »
So I've just learned that Tchaikovsky used the celesta before the famous Nutcracker appearance. It appears in his symphonic ballad The Voyevoda.

Hmm, I don't believe I knew that.
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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Boston MA
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[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Tchaikovsky
« Reply #379 on: August 27, 2018, 10:43:09 PM »
I bought this for the Jacob Avshalomov work but just listened to Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony (which I heard live for the first time recently) and thought the performance really gripping (Stokowski, Detroit SO, live concert from Masonic Hall, Detroit, 1952). A nice discovery:


from the notes:

'It...preserves a volatile performance of the Tchaikovsky 5th unlike any of Stokowski's three commercial recordings. Here, in front of an enthusiastic Detroit audience, he is swept up in the passion of the moment to a considerable degree.'
« Last Edit: August 27, 2018, 10:48:58 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).