Sunday, February 23, 2014

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight is one of the most popular composers in history. He is a beloved treasure of his home country of Russia. His best-known works include the ballets "Swan Lake," "The Sleeping Beauty," and "The Nutcracker";  the operas "The Queen of Spades" and "Eugene Onegin"; and the widely recognized Fantasy Overture “Romeo and Juliet" and "1812 Overture."  Today's Out Spotlight is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votinsk, Russia, a small industrial town on May 7, 1840 . His father was a mine inspector. His mother, who was of French and Russian heritage, strongly influenced his education and cultural upbringing.
At age 5, Tchaikovsky began piano lessons. His parents nurtured his musical talents, but had a different career path in mind for their son. In 1850, the family enrolled him at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in St. Petersburg, where he prepared for a job in civil service.

After working in government for a few years, Tchaikovsky pursued his passion at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. After graduation, he taught music theory at the Moscow Conservatory and worked on new compositions. Tchaikovsky created concertos, symphonies, ballets, chamber music, and concert and theatrical pieces. His passionate, emotional compositions represented a departure from traditional Russian music, and his work became popular with Western audiences.

Despite his career success, Tchaikovsky’s personal life was filled with crises and bouts of depression.Attract to men he After receiving letters of admiration from a former student, Tchaikovsky married her. Historians speculate the marriage took place to dispel rumors that Tchaikovsky was gay. The marriage was a disaster and Tchaikovsky left his wife after nine days.

 Tchaikovsky's marital debacle may have forced him to face the full truth about his sexuality. He never blamed Antonina for the failure of their marriage and he apparently never again considered matrimony or considered himself capable of loving women in the same manner as other men. He admitted to his brother Anatoly that there was "nothing more futile than wanting to be anything other than what I am by nature."[ Also, though Tchaikovsky would confess it only in periods of deep depression, the episode left him with a deep sense of shame and guilt and an apprehension that Antonina might fully realize and publicize his sexual orientation.

Tchaikovsky had clear homosexual tendencies; some of the composer's closest relationships were with men. He sought out the company of other same-sex attracted men in his circle for extended periods, "associating openly and establishing professional connections with them." Relevant portions of his brother Modest's autobiography, where he tells of the composer's sexual orientation, have been published, as have letters previously suppressed by Soviet censors in which Tchaikovsky openly writes of it.

Tchaikovsky began an unconventional relationship with a wealthy widow, Nadezhda von Mek, who agreed to be his benefactor on one condition: they were never to meet face to face. The couple exchanged more than 1,000 letters, until von Mek abruptly ended their 13-year liaison.

The famed composer died suddenly at age 53. The cause of his death, believed by some to be suicide, remains a mystery.

 "Music’s triumphant power lies in the fact that it reveals to us beauties we find in no other sphere." 

Caution the cannons are loud and my cause dogs to park. 



prairiegirl said...

Wow, wow, wow. Oh, and he died so young! How tragic.

This man was a musical genius, worthy of the highest praise and admiration. His greatest gift had to be The Nutcracker - without a doubt in my mind, I think.

What an incredible gift that entire work is - how many holidays for millions upon millions of people throughout the generations have been enhanced, how many beautiful memories made for couples, friends, and family who have made The Nutcracker a must-see, a tradition. Oh, if he only knew.

I'll have to listen to those works, Special that you linked. I'm sure I'll recognize Swan Lake once I hear it as well as Romeo & Juliet.

prairiegirl said...

LOLLLLL!!!! I almost emailed you, Special to tell you Pssst!! That doesn't sound like the 1812 Overture! And I kept listening and listening. I even Google'd it but yeah, the YouTube sounded like what was playing. And then those last couple of minutes and he kept building and building to this crescendo and then BAM!! there it was! LOLLLLL!! I've never heard the whole thing - only those last couple of minutes. Ha ha ha, that was funny. Yeah, I was clueless.

You know, I've never heard that Swan Lake, I guess. I didn't recognize it at all. I reckon I should know it.

Well, you can't say that Special does not enlighten and educate some of us here on the blog.
: )

destiny said...

I have to admit I'm not the biggest classical music fan, I prefer my music with vocals. But I do like his work, probably because so much of it was for dance.

Sad to think about how Russia hasn't come that far since his times.

prairiegirl said...

There are a few classical pieces I like, i.e. the Four Seasons. I am a huge fan of Johann Strauss Jr.

But I don't listen to it recreationally very often. Seems to be one of those Sunday morning kinds of music, at least for me anyway.

Special K said...

I love sharing new things with people.

I took piano lessons from 1st through 12th grade with the last few years concentrating on specific composers and their bodies of work. Tchaikovsky was the last composer I had before I left for college. He was saved for the end due the complexity of his compositions.

I agree Destiny, it is sad that after all this time Russia has really budged.