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"UNBRIDLED EMOTION" would perhaps best describe the music of Tchaikovsky. His deep-sensitivity saturated his music producing lush melodies that have enamored listeners for over a century.

Yet, Tchaikovsky's personal life was in turmoil from the very beginning. As a youth Tchaikovsky faced the hardship of losing his mother at age 14 and was forced to deal with the cold atmosphere of a military boarding school. As such, he shied away from the harsh and brutal world and found solace in music. It was upon hearing Mozart's Don Giovanni that Tchaikovsky decided to dedicate his life to music.

Abandoning his civil service position Tchaikovsky entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory to study under Anton Rubinstein. Fortunately Tchaikovsky's father, who although disapproved of Peter's decision for a musical career, didn't interfere with his son's wishes. As a student he wrote The Storm 1864 and later in 1868, under the direction of Mily Balakirev, he composed Fatum.. This work pleased Tchaikovsky but not Balakirev- the leader of the "Mighty Five." He bluntly criticized the work for its lack of continuity and natural flow and pointed to Liszt's Les Prйludes as a successful model. Tchaikovsky respecting his judgment discarded the work. The famous Romeo & Juliet would follow within a years time, again under the nurturing counsel of Balakirev.

On a deeper and more personal level Tchaikovsky's neuroses, which in part stemmed from his homosexuality, often lead him to be depressed and insecure in the presence of people. Entering into a marriage with a young student in 1877 it naturally proved disastrous . Whether it was to appease his overly infatuated wife or conceal his secret all that Tchaikovsky was left with after nine short weeks of marriage was a suicide attempt and nervous breakdown.

As fate would have it another woman, Nadejda von Meck, would enter his life, but this time exclusively as a pen pal. Her wish was to subsidize him without ever meeting. A better arrangement couldn't be made for one such as Tchaikovsky, as their mysterious relationship lasted for fourteen years. This at least offered him some piece of mind as his brother Modest recalled years later,"The Tchaikovsky of 1885 seemed a new man compared with the nervous and misanthropic Tchaikovsky of 1878."

Tchaikovsky's music was marked by a sensuously rhythmic pulse, and an innate melodic ability that enabled him to create some of the world's greatest ballet music. Music that shows a mixture of playful classicism



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