Symphony No. 4 In F Minor By Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky An Analysis

3702 words - 15 pages

A. Biographical InformationPyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, the Viatka District in Russia on May 7, 1840 to a Russian miner and a mother of French origin. During his early life, Tchaikovsky did receive some musical training from a French governess in the form of piano lessons, but the training did not continue. As a young child, Tchaikovsky's family moved to St. Petersburg because his father had been given the position of a government mining official there. In St. Petersburg, he was sent to school to study the law and prepare for a career there, but he continued his musical training in his own time. By improvising on the piano, Tchaikovsky was not only able to improve his skill, but it was in the course of his practices that gave him a great love of music. He wouldn't again train formally in music until after his graduation from law school in 1859.In 1861, he had taken a job as a clerk in the Ministry of Justice in St. Petersburg when he enrolled in the newly formed St. Petersburg Conservatory to continue his learning. He began to study composition under the direction of Anton Rubinstein, a highly celebrated pianist and composer; also, he was the director of the conservatory. Rubinstein was impressed by Tchaikovsky and once commented that while he was a bit careless, the young man was "definitely talented." This commentary from his instructor inspired Tchaikovsky to "give up his day job", so to speak, and become a full time student of the conservatory. Tchaikovsky graduated in 1865 and immediately received the position of Professor of Harmony in the new Moscow Conservatory. It was in this position that he started to compose. He began by composing some minor overtures, quartets, and one large symphony. In 1866, he suffered from his first nervous breakdown brought on the stress of overwork on his First Symphony. His early works were to include two other symphonies, the violin concerto, and the Piano Concerto in B flat Minor.During his years in Moscow, Tchaikovsky was able to teach, compose, write, travel, and associate with other composers of the time. With one of those, Balakirev, a member of a group of Russian composers known as "the Five", he formed a close friendship, and from him he gained the idea for the fantasy overture Romeo and Juliet. But the relationship between him and the Five soured, and in one of his later ballets, he even parodied their use of certain folk melodies over and over again. Although Tchaikovsky was enjoying life in Moscow among his composer friends, he found himself constantly in periods of deep depressions and unhappiness. The largest contributor to his bouts of depression and sadness was his self-hatred and guilt that he had from carrying a heavy secret: Tchaikovsky was gay.In 1876, Tchaikovsky entered into a correspondence relationship with a wealthy widow, Madame Nedezhda von Meck, who was an admirer of his music. First off, she merely commissioned works for him to compose and gave him rather nice...

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