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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Tchaikovsky (Life and Works (Naxos)) » User review

Beautiful music and an engaging biography

  • Mar 3, 2011
Rating:
+5
Even from the earliest age, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, like so many other musically precocious world-class composers, displayed an emotional insecurity that was to develop into a string of personal crises, depression and even suicidal tendencies as an adult. Perhaps it was the overwhelming fear of the exposure of his stifled homosexuality that led to his marriage being an utter disaster even from its very first day. Even his long-standing relationship with his only true friend, the widowed Nadezhda von Meck, might be classed as considerably off the beaten track of normal friendships. This wealthy woman, who for much of Tchaikovsky's life was a generous patron, insisted that the only condition on their relationship be that they never meet. Their entire friendship was conducted through correspondence and it hurt Tchaikovsky deeply when she unilaterally terminated that relationship for no reason that Tchaikovsky could fathom. While the world did not lose Tchaikovsky quite as early as we saw Mozart pass away, his untimely death at the age of 53 was deeply mourned. To this day it is an open question as to whether he died of cholera or suicide.

But, of course, it is the music - the symphonies, ballets ("Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker" are arguably the best known ballets in the entire classical repertoire), chamber music and operas such as the lyrical "Eugene Onegin" - that is the reason we are so interested in the story of the man as well. Jeremy Siepmann and Naxos Records have created a truly winning recipe with their "Life and Works" series. The combination of an audio book with music is an extraordinarily powerful and compelling way of bringing the biography of a classical musician to life and, at the same time, making the music accessible to a wide audience who may never have had the privilege of listening to some of the greatest music ever written. Siepmann's narrative voice is truly enchanting. Not only does he do a masterful job narrating Tchaikovsky's story in a most compelling manner but he does a magnificent job of relating Tchaikovsky's mercurial moods and the events in his life to the very nature of the music that he was producing at different periods in his life.

Highly recommended for lovers of music and music history alike.

Paul Weiss

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March 03, 2011
I love Tchaikovsky. I learned all about his style and technique when studying piano, but never really knew much about his life, so this sounds like am interesting read!
March 03, 2011
Not to be pedantic but this is definitely an AUDIO book ... something to be listened to (with great pleasure, I may add!)
March 03, 2011
Even better! Could be good for drives :)
March 03, 2011
Funny you should say that! That's exactly how I listened to it. The entire "book" is just a little over 4 hours including the musical excerpts.
 
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Paul Weiss ()
Ranked #16
   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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Wiki

The Life and Works series presents the life and works of the major composers. The recording is illustrated with quotations from the composer and his contemporaries, enhanced by extended musical extracts from representative works. An extended companion booklet (over 150 pages) containing extensive essays and notes on the composer and his times accompanies each autobiography. "terrific idea, this, and very well done. The format is to weave a selection of each composer's musical output around the narrated story of their lives, coloured by contemporary articles and writings read by actors...The actors breathe life into the contemporary material to make for rewarding and entertaining discs" Classic FM Magazine
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Details

ISBN-10: 1843790009
ISBN-13: 978-1843790006
Author: Jeremy Siepmann
Genre: Classical
Publisher: Naxos
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