Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Russian composer (1840–1893)

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky; Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский (25 April/7 May 184025 October/6 November 1893 was a Russian composer of the late-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. Tchaikovsky was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, and awarded a lifetime pension.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1893)

Quotes edit

  • What I need is to believe in myself again— for my faith has been greatly undermined; it seems to me my role is over.
    • Letter to a nephew (9 February 1893) Just prior to composing his "Pathetique" Symphony (No. 6)
  • Just as I was starting on my journey the idea came to me for a new symphony, this time with a program, but a program which will remain an enigma to all— let them guess it who can. It will be called "A Programmatic Symphony" (No. 6). During my trip, while composing in my mind, I frequently shed tears. When I got home I settled down to sketch it, and the work went so furiously that I had the first movement completely ready in less than four days and the remaining movements are already clearly outlined in my head. Half the third movement is already done. There will be much innovation of form in this symphony— and incidentally, the finale will not be a noisy allegro but, on the contrary, a long drawn-out adagio. You can't imagine what bliss I feel, being convinced that my time is not yet passed and I can still work. Perhaps, of course, I'm mistaken, but I don't think so.
    • Letter to a nephew (late February 1893)
  • I played over the music of that scoundrel Brahms. What a giftless bastard! It annoys me that this self-inflated mediocrity is hailed as a genius.
    • Diary entry for October 9, 1886, quoted in Nicolas Slonimsky, Lexicon of Musical Invective (1953), p. 73.
  • After the last notes of Gotterdammerung I felt as though I had been let out of prison.
    • Quoted in Hans Gal, The Musician's World (1965)
  • Generally speaking, the germ of a future composition comes suddenly and unexpectedly. If the soil is ready — that is to say, if the disposition for work is there — it takes root with extraordinary force and rapidity, shoots up through the earth, puts forth branches, leaves, and, finally, blossoms.
    • Quoted in letter to Nadezhda von Meck from Florence (1878) before setting out the "programme" of the Fourth Symphony
  • I am a Russian, Russian, Russian, to the marrow of my bones.
    • quoted in Geoffrey Hindley, The Larousse Encyclopedia of Music (1982) ISBN 0896731014
  • This evening I feel sad and am shedding tears because this morning while wandering in the woods I was unable to find a single violet. What an old sniveller I am...!
    • quoted in Geoffrey Hindley, The Larousse Encyclopedia of Music (1982) ISBN 0896731014
  • Fate... hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles and inexorably distills a slow and deadly venom. One must bend to it and abandon oneself to boundless despair...
    • quoted in Geoffrey Hindley, The Larousse Encyclopedia of Music (1982) ISBN 0896731014

Quotes about Tchaikovsky edit

  • I don't know what life would be like without music. In my lonely times, music has been my closest friend. It has also been my doctor-and my lover, in the sense that I sometimes listen to music and dream of a lover that doesn't exist. Late at night, when I don't feel sleepy, I'll play music-all types of music and lose myself in its mystery. I might decide to play Stevie Wonder, or Debussy, or Tchaikovsky. It depends on my mood.

External links edit

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