This is the blog of composer, conductor and writer Michael Paul Smith. I should state from the outset that I am a fan of Tchaikovsky, this most warm-hearted and consistently underrated composer, whose works, sometimes uneven, have given me pleasure for more than fifty years now. For all his flaws, I am far more than enthusiastic about his music; I am evangelical. And it is through the writings on these pages that I shall do my best to spread the word…
Within my own lifetime, the critical appraisal of Tchaikovsky’s music has undergone a massive change, at least in part due to the wonderful and pioneering work of Dr David Brown, whose four-volume biographical and critical study took him sixteen years to write; and Dr Brown began as a sceptic. But as he grew to know more about the man and his music, he came to know that it was more than just the work of a gifted tunesmith with a flair for orchestral colour. Tchaikovsky’s place in the annals of all-time great composers is still under scrutiny; many find his music sentimental and neurotic. But the balance continues to shift in his favour.
This blog is my own, modest contribution to that debate. Just how great a composer was he? Why does it seem that his life and his music are so inextricably linked, perhaps more so than any other composer? How did he live? How did he die?
I will talk about many of his now familiar works, as well as some of his lesser known ones, in terms which the average music lover will be able to understand. And I shall speak of his supposedly tragic life and try to shed some light on his character – he was universally loved as a man – and the events that were to shape his life.
Other devotees of Tchaikovsky, from anywhere in the world and in their own language, are very welcome to submit articles, although, with their author’s permission, I may edit them.
Those who perform Tchaikovsky’s music may like to share their own feelings from their unique perspective. I shall be interviewing many performers as the site continues to grow.
This blog is all my own work and the research has all been undertaken by me. Others who assist me with be acknowledged with pleasure within the relevant article.
However, if there are errors with regard to chronology or any other biographical details, these are mine and mine alone. I would welcome any corrections.
Please send any enquiries directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(c) Michael Paul Smith, January 28 2014