Although we often think of an artist's work as a window into their own inner world, that is not always the case.
In the life of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, however, we can see perhaps the closest link to be found anywhere between a creative product and the shifting moods of a turbulent soul, which found its outlet through the glorious music created by the great Russian composer.
To know his music, you must know the man, and this fast-moving series of eight lectures from an award-winning composer and accomplished teacher offers an insightful look into both the circumstances of Tchaikovsky's life and the impact that life had on his music. You'll learn about his fear of conducting, his disastrous marriage and subsequent suicide attempt, his depression, and the constant anxiety that his closeted homosexuality would become public-a fear that proved prophetic and led to a second, and successful, attempt to take his own life.
Torn by the conflicts between his own Romantic inclination for expression and the requirements of Classical structure - he was the first full-time, formally trained, professional composer in Russian history - Tchaikovsky's music is a delicate balancing act. Heart versus head, emotion versus reason, release versus control, the expressiveness demanded of his Russian soul and the strictures of Classical technique - all of these conflicts find their way into his music, and give it its extraordinary emotional power.
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A Curate's Egg
Introductions and samples of Tchaikovsky's music were interesting, but the continued references to his sexuality, while not irrelevant, seemed to dominate the narrative.
Over the top.
I went back and listened to some of my Tchaikovsky CDs and ordered some others.
I think I'd give Greenberg's other courses a miss.
- Mike of Alsager