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LGBT People of History 11 Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a famous Russian composer. Some say his music is simplistic, childlike and raucous. We think it is full of emotion and passion. He was born in 1840 and was actually trained for the Civil Service. However he managed to enter the fledgling St Petersburg Conservatory.
His musical output includes works such as his Piano Concerto #1, Swan Lake, 1812 Overture, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker and six symphonies (the Sixth – Pathetique is particularly moving).
His marriage to Antonina Miliukova was a fiasco. He had a close relationship with his patron, Nadezhda von Meck, a well-to do widow. This was purely in the form of correspondence and hundreds of letters were exchanged between the two.
He seemed to have been a shy, emotional soul with many ups and downs in his life – these were reflected in his music.
He was gay as was his brother, Modest. There seems to have been no major figure in his love life. He seemed to have had many anonymous encounters, which he may have regretted. It must be remembered that in Russia at the time homosexuality was illegal with savage penalties if convicted. He would also not have wished to have had his family ‘embarrassed’. It was a sorry state of affairs especially for a sensitive man.
Tchaikovsky died in Saint Petersburg in 1893. The cause of his death is still open to speculation -whether it was due to cholera or suicide.
Ken Russell directed the movie ‘The Music Lovers’ which is an extravagant biographical look at the composer’s life.
A postscript to his life:
During WW2 and the invasion of the USSR the Nazis occupied Klin between November and December of 1941 and for those 3 long weeks of occupation, the Germans occupied the Tchaikovsky home. Fortunately before they arrived his manuscripts and documents were smuggled out by Tchaikovsky's nephew and taken to the Votkinsk museum.
The Nazis used part of Tchaikovsky's house as a motorbike garage. The damage was severe but fortunately the stories of burning papers and manuscripts have been proven to be untrue as they had already been removed.
Three weeks after the occupation the Russians re-occupied Klin and forced the Germans out.
Ian and Callum.
Thanks to Wikipedia.
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- LGBT People Of History Collection
Here are the links to each of the LGBT People Of History hubs that Ian and I have wrote. As mentioned above, each time a new one is published you will find it on here.