Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky – One Of The Greatest

Born in May of 1849, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was the second oldest of six children. He started piano lessons at the age of 5 and showed great promise

However, his parents had always urged Pyotr to work in a civil service position and after his mother passed away, he took a position with the Ministry of Justice as a bureau clerk and held that post for four years. It was during this time he fell in love with music.

At the age of 21, Tchaikovsky started taking music classes at the Russian Musical Society and would attend St. Petersburg Conservatory. During his time there, he gave private piano lessons and in 1863, he relocated to Moscow to take a position at Moscow Conservatory as a professor.

In 1865, Tchaikovsky’s work would be performed in public for the first time, however, in 1868 with his First Symphony which was well received. However The Voyevoda, his first opera was not as successful, but this would not derail him from his love of music.

Tchaikovsky would repurpose some of The Voyevoda material and use it in Oprichnik, his next opera which was performed in St. Petersburg at Maryinsky in 1874 and was received much better.

Around this same time frame, Tchaikovsky Second Symphony was earning its own praise but Vakula the Smith, an opera he wrote and performed in 1874 received critical, harsh reviews.

Still determined to be a successful composer, Tchaikovsky went on to establish himself with his Piano Concerto No.1 in B-flat Minor. Acclaim would follow readily in 1875, with his Symphony No. 3 in D Major and the ballet Swan Lake .

During these years of struggling to become a composer, Tchaikovsky was also struggling with his personal life. With rumor of his being a homosexual, he married a young lady in 1877 only for that to end in catastrophe in just a few week after the wedding.

An attempt at suicide during a nervous breakdown would send him fleeing abroad to escape the rumors.

In 1878, with the graciousness of a wealthy widow, Tchaikovsky was able to resign from the Moscow Conservatory. The widow, Nadezhda von Meck would provide a monthly allowance to Tchaikovsky for over ten years, but they would never meet in person, an agreement they had made with each other.

Tchaikovsky would die in November of 1893, never having met his benefactor nor never marrying again.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The son of Leopold and Maria Pertl Mozart was born January 1756. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s father was a composer, violinist and assistant concert master in Salzburg Court.

His mother’s family was local community leaders of middle class wealth. Wolfgang and his only sister, Maria Anna, who was older, would be taught music from and by their father with Wolfgang watching. He would soon pick up the music as well and at six years of age, he publicly performed the first time.

Over the years, Mozart would become one of our most famous and beloved composers. His many wonderful works would include concertos, masses, operas, sonatas and symphonies. He showed the most talent on the clavinet and the violin.

His career would begin as he and his sister would perform for European nobility in the courts of Paris and Zurich. These would be the opportunities for him to meet up with Bach, who would end up being a strong influence.

 

Mozart’s Childhood

At the age of thirteen, Wolfgang and his father left for Italy. His sister would not follow as she was becoming the marrying age, and young Wolfgang would perform all across Rome.

While visiting the Sistine Chapel, he heard Gregorio and would write the score that was performed by memory. As well, Mitridate, re di Ponto were written as well by Wolfgang during this period in addition to Ascanio in Alba and Lucio Silla on separate trips to Italy.

In March 1773, Hieronymus von Colleredo replaced the recently deceased Archbishop von Schrattenbach, and Mozart would be appointed as assistant concertmaster, receiving a salary.

Mozart would have opportunities during this same time frame to work with other musical genres and composed serenade, sonatas, string quartets and symphonies as well as some operas.

The violin concertos would become his passion, however, he would only complete five as he turned his attention to writing piano concertos. At the age of 21, he would culminate the Piano Concerto Number 9 in E flat.

As A Great Musician

Wolfgang was an ambitious man and even though he enjoyed success from his compositions, he became unhappy as assistant concert master as well as being confined in Salzburg.

Likewise, the Archbishop that gave him his start would be weary of the young man’s complaining and so the young Mozart set out for Mannheim, Munich and Paris, his mother his travel companion.

Mozart would gain public notoriety and begin to enjoy improved finances. Unfortunately, he was digressing mentally and physically during this time as well. This included loss of hearing. At the time, the best tinnitus remedies were very ineffective as they had not yet learned how to properly treat tinnitus.

Other musicians such as Eric Clapton, Ozzy Osbourne and even Ludwig Von Beethoven have suffered hearing loss and complained of ringing in the ears which was likely due to the long term exposure to loud music.

By September of 1791, while in Prague for a performance that was commissioned by Leopold II, King of Bohemia, young Mozart fell ill and became much worse by that November. Confined to bed but still mentally occupied with his music, Mozart would pass away in December that same year.