Beethoven and tchaikovsky

Nevertheless, in his brief Autobiography ofwhich only came to light inTchaikovsky, whilst still emphasizing the revelation that Don Giovanni had been to him, also recalls how during the first two years that he worked as an official at the Ministry of Justice —61 in his free time he would sometimes sit down at the piano at home: I would play through my beloved Don Giovanni over and over again, or rehearse some shallow salon piece.

Beethoven and tchaikovsky

Beethoven and tchaikovsky

However, as Vasily Yakovlev already stressed, when working on the first critical edition of Tchaikovsky's complete works, if one takes account of the many other statements he made about Beethoven, a much more complex picture emerges [2]. Relevant extracts from Tchaikovsky's articles, letters, and diaries are given in the lists below, whereas the introductory paragraphs which follow are an attempt to broach the question of Tchaikovsky and Beethoven drawing on a few other sources as well.

It is true that Tchaikovsky first discovered the ideal beauty of music through Mozart 's Don Giovanni, when he heard Zerlina's aria played on an orchestrion at the age of 5 and even more so when, aged 16 or 17, he first heard a full performance of the opera in Saint Petersburg ; and, similarly, as Beethoven and tchaikovsky admitted in several letters to Nadezhda von Meckit was to Mozart that he felt himself obliged for the fact that he had chosen to dedicate his life to music.

Nevertheless, in his brief Autobiography ofwhich only came to light inTchaikovsky, whilst still emphasizing the revelation that Don Giovanni had been to him, also recalls how during the first two years that he worked as an official at the Ministry of Justice —61 in his free time he would sometimes sit down at the piano at home: I would play through my beloved Don Giovanni over and over again, or rehearse some shallow salon piece.

From time to time, though, I would set about studying a Beethoven symphony. This music would cause me to feel sad each time and made me an unhappy person for weeks. From then on I was filled with a burning desire to write a symphony — a desire which would erupt afresh each time that I came into contact with Beethoven's music.

However, I would then feel all too keenly my ignorance, my complete inability to deal with the technique of composition, and this feeling brought me close to despair This declaration suggests that it was Beethoven's symphonies in fact which kindled in the young Tchaikovsky the zeal to write music himself, rather than just escaping from everyday reality into Beethoven and tchaikovsky magical realm of Mozart 's opera.

Moreover, the feeling of "sadness" which overcame him whenever he heard Beethoven's music is one that would remain with him all his life, and, if around it was perhaps mainly due to his despair at the thought that he would never be able to write anything similar since he knew nothing of compositional technique, in later years it was certainly the "tragic struggle with Fate and striving after unattainable ideals" expressed in many of Beethoven's works see the references below that struck a chord with Tchaikovsky.

This affinity he felt with Beethoven and the element of 'struggle' in the latter's life and music is perhaps most interestingly revealed in the additions he made to a compilation of biographical material on Beethoven which he started writing in but did not complete — 'Beethoven and His Time]]'.

These extra observations of his own suggest that Tchaikovsky clearly empathized with some important moments in Beethoven's life: Thus, far from being merely a remote, awe-inspiring Old Testament God to him, Tchaikovsky recognized in Beethoven a kindred spirit, namely an artist who was deeply aware of the tragedy of human existence, and who sensed that the only true happiness he could find in life was in music [4].

The comparison in his diary between Mozart and Beethoven, at first sight so 'unfavourable' for the latter, might therefore be interpreted, firstly, as a way of expressing how Mozart 's music acted like a balsam on his troubled soul as opposed to Beethoven's, which reflected back his own suffering, and, secondly, as an implicit confession of how daunting it was to have to write music in the wake of Beethoven — a feeling that was shared by almost all the other great composers of the nineteenth century!

As Modest Tchaikovsky points out in his biography of the composer, before his brother's knowledge of orchestral and chamber music was very limited and he could not even list Beethoven's symphonies [5].

In the years that Tchaikovsky was studying at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence —59 there were very few opportunities to attend symphony concerts even in Saint Petersburgand, besides, his passion for Italian opera had prejudiced him against 'serious' German music.

All this changed drastically when he signed up for Nikolay Zaremba 's harmony classes in the autumn of To the amazement of his younger brothers, who until then had only heard him play numbers from Italian operas and fashionable salon pieces on the family piano, Tchaikovsky now started working through tortuous fugues by Bachand, most importantly, transcriptions of Beethoven symphonies.

The one that most fascinated his musically sensitive brother Modest was the Fifth, and Tchaikovsky himself would later draw inspiration from it when writing his Fourth Symphony.

The passage quoted above from the Autobiography refers precisely to this period in Tchaikovsky's life when the vocation of a composer had awakened in him, thanks to the ideal realm opened up by Beethoven's music, but there seemed to be no hope of ever realizing his ambitions.

This is what threw the young Tchaikovsky into a state of dejection until the opening of the Conservatory in September changed his life altogether. Herman LarocheTchaikovsky's closest friend at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, later recalled how there they had played through Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, together with various works by Schumannarranged for piano duet.

The student orchestra organized by Anton Rubinsteinwhich Tchaikovsky was soon able to join after learning to play the flute, often performed symphonies by Beethoven, especially the Eighth, which was to become one of Tchaikovsky's favourites.

Larochein his memoirs, however, also pointed out that his friend's feelings about Beethoven's music even then had been ambivalent: More generally, according to LarocheTchaikovsky, "with the exception of very few works by Beethoven, felt far more respect for him than enthusiasm, and in many regards did not all intend to follow in his footsteps" [7].

Tchaikovsky's attitude, at least as recorded by Larochemay have partly been a reaction to the cult of Beethoven amongst his teachers at the Conservatory, especially Zaremba and A.

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The latter, for example, set him the task of arranging for orchestra one section of the Kreutzer Sonata see TH and, according to Laroche again, another exercise which Tchaikovsky was given was to orchestrate Beethoven's Piano Sonata in D minor Op.

The way that Beethoven was constantly held up as a paragon by his teachers very likely provoked Tchaikovsky's rebellious streak, leading him to turn to more modern composers, such as Berlioz and Lisztas the 'models' for his own orchestral works at first. Nikolay Kashkinanother close friend from the Conservatory, would later also recall how Tchaikovsky at the time was indifferent to chamber music, in particular to Beethoven's late string quartets, one of which the A minor quartet, Op.

Still, during the first year of his studies at the Conservatory one of Tchaikovsky's most memorable experiences was getting to hear the six concerts which Richard Wagner gave in Saint Petersburg in February At these Wagner conducted not just excerpts from his operas but also several symphonies by Beethoven, and a letter to Nadezhda von Meck in quoted below reflects the profound impression which these left on the young Tchaikovsky.

It is true to some extent that, as Laroche remarked, Tchaikovsky did not intend to 'follow in the footsteps' of Beethoven — at least initially. Thus, apart from the First Symphony —68which cost him a great deal of effort, and String Quartet No.

In this respect it is interesting that Tchaikovsky did not think too highly of Beethoven's single opera Fidelio except for a few parts, such as Florestan's aria — see the references belowand in his articles he pointed out that Beethoven's mighty symphonic talent was simply unsuited to the requirements of the stage.

While working on The Enchantress inhowever, Tchaikovsky wrote a letter to Nadezhda von Meck justifying himself in effect for devoting so many of his energies to opera whereas his benefactress was convinced that he would one day be rated higher than Beethoven not for his operas but for his symphonic works!

Tchaikovsky argued in this letter that even such great composers of orchestral and instrumental music as Beethoven and Schumann had been drawn to the genre of opera, "not out of vanity, but out of the wish to extend their circle of listeners, to act on the hearts of as many people as possible" [12].As a budding classical music fan in the early s, I remember listening to the Tchaikovsky with reverence and awe; the Beethoven piece I found much later, paired with the Tchaikovsky chesnut on a Philadelphia Orchestra LP/5(15).

Beethoven and Tchaikovsky While Ludwig van Beethoven and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky have much in common, they also have many differences.

Both men are famous for their orchestral compositions and their future influence on other composers. Peter Tchaikovsky, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Daniel Barenboim, Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Beethoven/Tchaikovsky: Pathétique - Music/5(4).

Beethoven & Tchaikovsky One of the most popular composers of all time takes center stage as the orchestra performs Beethoven’s bold and playful Symphony No.


Beethoven and tchaikovsky

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Ludwig van Beethoven - Tchaikovsky Research