Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born about 800 miles from Moscow to an unmusical
family that wanted him to be a lawyer. Instead he became one of the most
recognizable and captivating composer to come out of the Romantic Era.
He began his tutelage under another famous pianist, Anton Rubinstein,
in Moscow at the age of 22. Initially, his music celebrated Russian folk
music, but his most famous works were of an intensity and sensousness
that people from all over the world could appreciate.
Tchaikovsky has often been criticized for the over sentimentality
of his works. It is safe to say, however, that his music reflect the turmoil
that Tchaikovsky experienced throughout his lifetime. He had his first
nervous breakdown after completing his first symphony. In the 1880s he
fell into a deep depression after his failed marriage to Antonina Milyukova
and even tried to commit suicide. From these and other experiences came
such works as the Romeo and Juliet overture and the opera Eugene Onegin,
a story of unrequited love.
From 1870 and onward Tchaikovky also kept a rigorous
touring schedule throughout Europe. The audiences lauded both Tchaikovsky's
turbulent and tranquil interplay. It has been noted by Gammond that Tchaikovsky's
had no clear develoment through his lifetime because his melodic
inventions were consistently powerful and sublime. The fact is, he says,
"thatfew other cmposers have been abled to do, the joy and the pain,
the beauty and the tragedy, the ecstasy and the anguis of human emotion." ±