Romanticism: Peter Ilyich Tchaickovsky And The Romantic Period

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The Romantic Period or Romanticism was a development in literature, music, and art that originated in Europe around 1800s. It was characterized by works that mirrored individual uniqueness, self-expression and emotions.

In the musical scene, this period was seen in expansive symphonies, passionate songs and superb piano music. Compositions in this time showed intense energy and passion. It also drew inspiration from literature and art.

There are a handful of composers who became known in the Romantic Period, from Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) to Rentaro Taki (1879-1903). Although Gramophone, one of the leading music magazines in the world, has featured top 10 romantic composers who showcased the most innovative melodies, harmonies and
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His father, Ilya Petrovich Tchaickovsky is an engineer and served as a lieutenant colonel in Russian’s Department of Mines.

Tchaickovsky, the second eldest in a brood of six, has showed great interest for music as early as four years old. It is during this time when he composed a song with his younger sister Alexandra for their mother. In 1845 at age 5, he began taking piano lessons with a local tutor. At this age, he was inspired by music of Frederick Chopin and Friedrich Kalkbrenner.

Although he displayed talent and passion for music at a very young age, his parents never thought that he would pursue a career in music. They wanted him to work in the civil service as their ancestors have always been in civil service.

His mother died of cholera when he was 14. This pushed him to honor his parents’s wish of him to be in civil service. In 1859, he took a post in the Ministry of Justice. However, his love for music did not die. He took music lessons at the Russian Musical Society at age 21. After a few months, he transferred to the newly established St. Petersburg Conservatory and became one of its first
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He composed ballet songs like The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcraker; Operas such as The Voyevoda and The Maid of Orleans; Symphonies; and piano concertos.

The prolific composer composed his first piano concerto (Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat Minor) between November 1874 and February 1875. The first version was criticized by a fellow composer Nikolai Rubinstein, calling it worthless and unplayable. Tchaikovsky then revised it and asked German pianist Hans von Bulow to perform the music. On October 25, 1875, Bulow performed the piano concert in Boston and became a success.

Piano Concerto No. 1 begins with a catchy and memorable melody. It has four emphatic B-flat minor chords that lead into a lyrical theme in D-flat major. The second movement, soft and charming, is in D-flat major marked ‘andantino semplice.’ The third movement or the finale was made energetic and full of fast piano tricks. It is marked a ‘allegro con fuoco.’

In October 1879, Tchaikovsky wrote Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Major while in a vacation in his sister’s place in Kamenka. He finished the composition in May 1880 and Rubinstein then asked him to perform the concerto’s premiere to make up for his previous bad remarks. Unfortunately, Rubinstein died months before the

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