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Introduction to Tchaikovsky's Operas

Overview

Known primarily as the composer of The Nutcracker Suite and other legendary pieces, Tchaikovsky was also a noted musical dramatist. Here, in the first book devoted to the subject, his operas are explored in depth: from his two most famous, Eugene Oneginand The Queen of Spades, to such lesser-known works as The Maid of Orléans. The social and psychological complexity of these operas, not to mention their musical brilliance, confirm Tchaikovsky's reputation as his country's greatest opera composer. He displayed ...

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Overview

Known primarily as the composer of The Nutcracker Suite and other legendary pieces, Tchaikovsky was also a noted musical dramatist. Here, in the first book devoted to the subject, his operas are explored in depth: from his two most famous, Eugene Oneginand The Queen of Spades, to such lesser-known works as The Maid of Orléans. The social and psychological complexity of these operas, not to mention their musical brilliance, confirm Tchaikovsky's reputation as his country's greatest opera composer. He displayed great versatility in the range of genres in which he worked, from the tragic to the fantastical, the allegorical to the comic, and he employed a rich variety of musical styles, creating operas that are still performed widely today.

In this thorough and engaging examination, author Henry Zajaczkowski both assesses and re-appraises these works. He provides an overview of Tchaikovsky's opera career, complete with synopses, musical and dramatic analysis, and historical context that places the composer in the pantheon of great masters of the form.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Zajaczkowski provides historical background and discusses the composer's uncertain beginnings, influences on his work, and the impetus from Pushkin, providing a fresh and insightful examination of this body of work. Including a selected bibliography and copious notes, this volume is a solid addition to Tchaikovsky criticism. Recommended. Lower-/upper-division undergraduates, general readers, and professional music historians."

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Choice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275979492
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/30/2005
  • Pages: 148
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

HENRY ZAJACZKOWSKI is the author of Tchaikovsky's Musical Style and a contributor to The Music Review, The Musical Times, and the journal of the Tchaikowsky-Gesellschaft. He has lectured on music on BBC Radio and at Lincoln Center in New York. He teaches music privately in London.

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Table of Contents

1 A survey : Tchaikovsky's operas and their historical background 1
2 Uncertain beginnings : The Voevoda and Undine 7
3 Fresh impetus : The Oprichnik 13
4 Ukrainian footwear and a comic opera : Cherevichki (revision of Vakula the Smith) 23
5 Pushkin and the mature operatic breakthrough : Eugene Onegin 31
6 Reversion to childhood and an efflorescence of the grand : The maid of Orleans 43
7 Return to Pushkin : Mazeppa 49
8 Tragic force reaffirmed : The enchantress 59
9 Pushkin revisited and a dramatic catharsis : The queen of spades 71
10 The culminating allegory : Yolande 97
Chronology of Tchaikovsky's life and major compositions 105
List of Tchaikovsky's operas with general data 111
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