Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and The Five

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky And The Five

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and The Five

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In mid- to late-19th-century Russia, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and a group of composers known as The Five had differing opinions on the nature of classical Russian music, specifically whether it should follow Western or native compositional practices. Though he displayed musical talent at an early age, Tchaikovsky decided to study music professionally only after three years' employment as a civil servant. As an adult at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, he learned from Anton Rubinstein and Nikolai Zaremba how to compose in the manner of Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. Tchaikovsky wanted to write professional compositions of such quality that would stand up to Western scrutiny and thus transcend national barriers, yet remain distinctively Russian in melody, rhythm and other compositional characteristics. To this end, he learned to accommodate and, in some ways, amend Western classical rules of composition to the demands of his unique style; in this manner, he would follow neither his teachers nor his nationalistic contemporaries in The Five.

The Five, also known as The Mighty Handful (, Moguchaya kuchka), was a circle of composers who met in Saint Petersburg in the years 1856–1870. They were a branch of the Romantic Nationalist movement in Russia and shared similar goals with the Abramtsevo Colony and Russian Revival in the sphere of fine arts. Made up of composers Mily Balakirev, Alexander Borodin, C├ęsar Cui, Modest Mussorgsky and......
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