Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky; Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский (1840-05-07 - 1893-11-06) [or 1840-04-251893-10-25 (O.S.)] was a Russian Romantic era composer. Variant transliterations or anglicizing of his names include Piotr, Pyotr, Peter, Ilich, Ilyich, Il'yich, Ilyitch, Tchaikovsky, Tchaikovski, Tchaikowsky, Tschaikovsky, and Tschaikowsky.


  • What I need is to believe in myself again— for my faith has been greatly undermined; it seems to me my role is over.
    • Letter to a nephew (9 February 1893) Just prior to composing his "Pathetique" Symphony (No. 6)
  • Just as I was starting on my journey the idea came to me for a new symphony, this time with a program, but a program which will remain an enigma to all— let them guess it who can. It will be called "A Programmatic Symphony" (No. 6). During my trip, while composing in my mind, I frequently shed tears. When I got home I settled down to sketch it, and the work went so furiously that I had the first movement completely ready in less than four days and the remaining movements are already clearly outlined in my head. Half the third movement is already done. There will be much innovation of form in this symphony— and incidentally, the finale will not be a noisy allegro but, on the contrary, a long drawn-out adagio. You can't imagine what bliss I feel, being convinced that my time is not yet passed and I can still work. Perhaps, of course, I'm mistaken, but I don't think so.
    • Letter to a nephew (late February 1893)


  • I sit down to the piano regularly at nine-o'clock in the morning and Mesdames les Muses have learned to be on time for that rendezvous.
  • Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.
  • The creative process is like music which takes root with extraordinary force and rapidity.
  • Truly there would be reason to go mad were it not for music.


  • I like listening to it just as I like looking at a fuschia drenched with rain.
    • James Agate, about Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, in Ego 8 (1947)

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