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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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An important and serious work by a respected Tchaikovsky scholar that is informative, entertaining, and useful in understanding and appreciating the composer's life and music. Highly recommended!" --Slavic and East European Journal

"Roland John Wiley has written a masterful re-evaluation of Tchaikovsky's life and work. He uses sources critically and discusses the music as serious art, worthy of inclusion in the Western canon on its merits. No other biography of Tchaikovsky surpasses his achievement." Robert W. Oldani, Arizona State University

"It is a formidable challenge to present a comprehensive life-and-works study of Tchaikovsky in one volume, but the author has risen to it with aplomb. He presents us with a great deal of new information from previously censored, as well as neglected sources, and his approach throughout is refreshingly clear and objective." Rosamund Bartlett, Chekhov: Scenes from a Life (Simon and Schuster/Free Press, 2004)

" intrepid scholar...Wiley's knowledge of primary and secondary sources is extraordinary...tremendously useful..."-Opera News

"...the rare volume that ought to satisfy professional musicians and general readers alike...a smart, questing and refreshingly clear-sighted companion to the man and his work."-The Washington Post

"Offers straightforward, concise synopses, along with analyses of the musical highlights...A valuable research resource."--Opera News

"The reader is granted a more detailed picture of Tchaikovsky's day-to-day life than has been achieved in any single-volume biography of the composer to date...The book is prodigiously well documented and annotated, and can be profitably read as a guide to the vast secondary literature." --Music & Letters

Tim Page
Roland John Wiley's Tchaikovsky,…is the rare volume that ought to satisfy professional musicians and general readers alike. Wiley tells us a story, and a poignant one, yet this is also a substantial examination of Tchaikovsky's work, colorfully described and authoritatively judged. If some of the chapters are a little technical for the lay reader, the book is arranged so that it is easy to jump ahead and catch up with Wiley's retelling of a sad but productive life…a smart, questing and refreshingly clear-sighted companion to the man and his work.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195368925
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/30/2009
  • Series: Master Musicians Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Roland John Wiley is Professor of Music at the University of Michigan and is the author of Tchaikovsky's Ballets.

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