Donald Macleod focuses on why a career in music seemed a distant dream for Tchaikovsky as a young civil servant.
A career in music seems a distant dream for the young civil servant. Presented by Donadl Macleod.
A sensitive, emotionally fragile boy, Tchaikovsky was sent to a boarding school where life was harsh. After leaving school, he became a government clerk in the Ministry of Justice. His disillusionment at work though eventually led to him studying music in night classes at the St Petersburg conservatoire, even though a professional career in music was rare in Russia. His studies eventually took over as his full-time occupation, and the evolution of one the greatest composers of all had started.
In the late 19th century, a number of Russian musicians were attempting to turn the tide of Western European influence, and create a new, distinctively Russian, style of music. Tchaikovsky managed to embrace both traditions. A lover of folk music, his early compositions were often inspired by national tunes. His First String Quartet was a stunning success - the second movement was an instant hit all over Europe.
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