Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9781780236544 Published August 2016 For sale in North and South America only

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Philip Ross Bullock

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Philip Ross Bullock

Distributed for Reaktion Books

224 pages | 40 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4 | © 2016
Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9781780236544 Published August 2016 For sale in North and South America only
When Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky died of cholera in 1893, he was without a doubt Russia’s most celebrated composer. Drawing extensively on Tchaikovsky’s uncensored letters and diaries, this richly documented biography explores the composer’s life and works, as well as the larger and richly robust artistic culture of nineteenth-century Russian society, which would propel Tchaikovsky into international spotlight.
            Setting aside clichés of Tchaikovsky as a tortured homosexual and naively confessional artist, Philip Ross Bullock paints a new and vivid portrait of the composer that weaves together insights into his music with a sensitive account of his inner emotional life. He looks at Tchaikovsky’s appeal to wealthy and influential patrons such as Nadezhda von Meck and Tsar Alexander III, and he examines Russia’s growing hunger at the time for serious classical music. Following Tchaikovsky through his celebrity up until his 1891 performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall and his honorary doctorate at the University of Cambridge, Bullock offers an accessible but deeply informed window onto Tchaikovsky’s life and works.          
 
Contents
Editorial Note
Introduction: ‘The Intimate World of My Feelings and Thoughts’
 
  1. ‘I Will Make Something of Myself’
  2. ‘The Only Hope for Our Musical Future’
  3. For the Sake of Qu’en-dira-t-on’
  4. ‘I am a Free Man’
  5. ‘Where is My Home to Be?’
Conclusion: ‘Some Kind of Banal, Stupid Joke’
 
References
Select Bibliography
Select Discography
Acknowledgements
Photo Acknowledgements
 
Review Quotes
Classical Music
“This latest volume in Reaktion’s Critical Lives series is concise, comprehensive, clear-sighted, and thought-provoking. . . . It is refreshing to find an eminently fair and perceptive assessment of Tchaikovsky’s life and works.”
Gramophone
“Bullock distils a great deal of thought and breadth of knowledge into this slim volume, conjuring up a clear picture of its subject and written in a way that is both stimulating and illuminating.”
BBC Music Magazine
“Short introductory lives of the great composers are getting thin on the ground these days, so it’s good to welcome one on Tchaikovsky which can be relied on to get its facts right. Philip Ross Bullock knows his Russian sources and takes advantage of freedom from censorship to paint a more vivid picture of Tchaikovsky’s homosexuality which clarifies how much he was, despite his disastrous marriage, happy in his own skin. . . . The illustrations are piquant and well selected.”
Opera Magazine
“In his concise but pithy study of the composer, blending biography with a perceptive account of the music itself, Bullock explores the individual characteristics of each of the stage works. . . . The account of the life into which the discussion of the works is so skillfully woven is no less considered and thoughtful . . . Bullock looks at the various possibilities, as he does everything else in this surprisingly comprehensive account, with complete expertise as well as fair-mindedness.”
Rosamund Bartlett, author of Tolstoy: A Russian Life and Wagner and Russia
“A refreshingly clear-eyed portrait of Tchaikovsky which is both lucid and perceptive.”
Musical Times
“Following Jonathan Cross’s Stravinsky, another Oxford scholar, Philip Ross Bullock, has produced a no less fine study Pyotr Tchaikovsky to grace the Reaktion Books series of Critical Lives. Indeed, I realized all the more the value of the strict discipline posed by this brief format—succinct and concentrated as it is, penetrating to the essence of its subject.”
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