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A giant in the pantheon of 19th century composers, Tchaikovsky continues to enthrall audiences today. From the Nutcracker―arguably the most popular ballet currently on the boards―Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty, to Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame, to the Symphony Pathetique and the always rousing, canon-blasting 1812 Overture―this prolific and beloved composer's works are perennial favorites. Now, John Wiley, a renowned Tchaikovsky scholar, provides a fresh biography aimed in classic Master Musicians style at the student and music lover. Wiley deftly draws on documents from imperial, Soviet, and post-Soviet era sources, providing a more balanced look at recent controversies surrounding the marriage, death, and sexuality of the composer. The author dovetails the biographical material with separate chapters that treat the music thoroughly and fully, work-by-work, with more substantial explorations of Tchaikovsky's most familiar compositions. These analyses present new, even iconoclastic perspectives on the music and the composer's intent and expression. Several informative appendices, in the Master Musicians format, include an exhaustive list of works and bibliography.
the reader is granted a more detailed picture of Tchaikovsky's day-to-day life than has been achieved in any singly-colume biography of the composer to date (Music and Letters)
An excellent, informative, often surprisingly moving book full of warmth and wisdom. (Classical Music)
The book is serious and valuable, and presents an excellent synthesis of scholarship that would otherwise almost certainly be inaccessible. (J.P.E. Harper-Scott, Times Literary Supplement)
A new, authoritative and agenda-setting biography. (Classical Music Magazine, Michael Quinn)
Cogently written, this is a hughely valuable addition to the Master Musicians series.
An excellent, informative, often surprisingly moving book full of warmth and wisdom. (Classical Music Magazine, Michael Quinn)
Wiley is authoritative but never unapproachable - and also refreshingly unsensationalist. (Liz Thomson, The Independent)
A dedicated and erudite volume that re-stimulates interest in this so-familiar composer. (Gramophone)
This coolly magisterial book...builds up a picture of this profoundly conflicted man, and his wondrous music. (Michael Church, The Independent on Sunday)