Talk:Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

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Featured article Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on October 17, 2009.

Page protection[edit]

I have requested Temporary Semi-Protection while this page is featured on Google's front page --Jubileeclipman 15:43, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Oh come on, who's lame enough to vandalize Tchaikovsky, of all articles? (talk) 05:26, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
Lots of people, apparently. Face-sad.svg He is no longer featured on Google's front page but there is still the risk of vandalism for a while following that feature. The WP article also happens to be the first hit in a Google search for Tchaikovsky, so we still need to be vigilant, in fact. --Jubileeclipman 23:57, 8 May 2010 (UTC)
It's good to have the protection regardless of being featured on Google's home page. Vandalism has always been rampant on this page, occurring sometimes almost daily. Jonyungk (talk) 20:24, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

"Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky"[edit]

WP:BRD: Avé (talk · contribs) was extremely BOLD and moved this article and several others using this composer's name to titles using the middle name "Il'yich" rather than "Ilyich". In some cases the editor changed the categorisation to "category:Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky". I kind of see where Avé is coming from but since several other editors (including Jack of Oz, Good Olfactory and now me) have reverted the moves and recats, I am now asking that editor to explain further before more moves and recats are effected. Music of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky needs an admin to move it back, BTW. Thanks --Jubileeclipman 20:09, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

This is the correct spelling of his name. It seems fair to spell his name the way he did and not unnecessarily anglicize it. I mean should O'Reilly become Oreilly? Just because many have anglicized it doesn't mean it has to be here. The apostrophe is part of his name. What if people thought lets take the T off and spell it Chaikovsky? So that sounds dramatic, well it is similar to changing his first name to Peter. To a smaller degree that's what removing the correct spelling of his middle name does. Just because someone isn't used to seeing Pyotr instead Peter doesn't mean we have to misspell his name. Well now your temper should be cooled down and I am thus responding.... Avé 02:07, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Huh? When did he ever write anything in Latin orthography? Your argument holds water for Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leff Pouishnoff and some others, because they moved to the West and they DID choose a romanised version of their name, and that's what we go by. But Tchaikovsky never did this. He did a lot of travelling in Italy, France, Germany, England and the USA, so I suppose it's possible he did write his full name in one of those places using Roman script. Is this what you're talking about? Because if not, and you're assuming that one particular romanisation system known to you is the only "correct" one, then think again. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 02:18, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
With all due respect, Avé seems to be in a bit of a muddle about the spelling - or rather the correct transliteration - of Tchaikovsky's name. The original cyrillic is Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский: ь - often called a "soft sign" - is not pronounced, and when transliterated is usually indicated with an apostrophe. So far, so correct. But Ч does not invariably mean 'Tch': it is only widely spelled that way since Tchaikovsky's first publication outside Russia used the German transliteration of his name, and it was this spelling which first became familiar in the West - hence 'Tchaikovsky' rather than 'Chaikovsky' (or, if we strictly follow yet another modern system of transliteration in English, 'Chaykovskiy'). If we're going to agree to stick to Tchaikovsky, then there's no earthly reason to argue that we should use Il'yich rather than Ilyich. No reason why we shouldn't use that spelling, of course, but it's probably better to stick with a consensus on this and tackle more pressing problems. Alfietucker (talk) 17:53, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I totally agree that the only proper transliteration would be Chaykovskiy. The reasons are multiple, but basically, this is the only way to ensure each Cyrillic letter gets it unambiguous analog in English. Geographers use this, and predominantly this, transliteration. However it would be unwise to change Chaykovskiy's name from the traditional one. As for his patronymic, The correct one would be Il'ich (if apostrophe is used to represent Cyrillic Ь, by the way, the correct name of this letter is Ерь (Yer'); "soft sign" is the name the communists gave it after 1918, when they abolished all historic names of Cyrillic letters and adopted French names for them; since there could be no French name for such a letter, they called it "soft sign"), or Ilyich, but not Il'yich. Il'yich would correspond to Cyrillic Ильйич, which is just plain incorrect spelling. Il'ich or Ilyich would correspond to Ильич, and Ilich to Илич. Of them, only Il'ich would be techically correct, but there is a problem, namely, that apostrophe is also used in Cyrillic texts, to represent foreign names! So for example O'Reilly would be О'Рейли in Cyrillic, so transliterating Il'ich back to Cyrillic could mean Ил'ич instead of the correct Ильич. That is why I would prefer Ilyich, this option has an advantage of being phonetically most close to the original Russian pronunciation, in fact, Russians pronounce Ильич very often as Ильйич, not as Ильич.Rozmysl (talk) 15:28, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Use of "Pyotr"[edit]

To the best of my knowledge, the use of "Pyotr" in this article would be considered unencyclopedic, and the use of "Tchaikovsky" is already differentiated as referring to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Therefore, there should be no reason to use "Pyotr" when referring to his and Modest's homosexuality. Nevertheless, a couple of editors have insisted on changing "Tchaikovsky" to "Pyotr" in this section because they feel further differentiation is needed between Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Modest Ilyich Tchaikovsky. I would greatly appreciate other views on this subject, and find out whether I am correct or mistaken on the point in question. Jonyungk (talk) 18:02, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

It's silly to mix first names and last names like that. There's absolutely zero (0) reason that the use of "Pyotr" is unencyclopedic any more than the use of any other first name...such as Modest. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 18:06, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I'd been told regarding Death of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky that the use of the first name for the main subject of a Wiki article is unencyclopedic and thus should be avoided. I'll agree, though, that the point makes for some awkward moments such as the one where Pyotr and Modest's homosexuality is concerned. Are you saying, then, that it is alright to switch from "Tchaikovsky" to "Pyotr" in that sentence? Seems like it would be pretty jarring. Jonyungk (talk) 18:41, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
Have a look at , for example Winston Churchill and john F Kennedy. Both of these (the first two i checked, not specially chosen) use first name when mentioning multiple members of family together (In September 1931, Kennedy was sent to The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall), an elite boys boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut, for his 9th through 12th grade years. His older brother Joe Jr., was already at Choate, two years ahead of him, a football star and leading student in the school. Jack thus spent his first years at Choate in his brother's shadow. He reacted with rebellious behavior that attracted a coterie. Their most notorious stunt was to explode a toilet seat with a powerful firecracker.)--IdreamofJeanie (talk) 07:19, 9 July 2010 (UTC)

External link - Beckmann?[edit]

The external ( link to a nearly incoherent article by someone named Beckmann, about how discussion of the composer's sexual orientation is part of the propogandistic promotion of homosexuality (my characterization), is not a fitting link for this biographical entry. There are dozens if not hundreds of more appropriate links. Thoughts? DavidH (talk) 02:28, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

I agree that the Beckmann article is little more than a rant and has no place in this article. Along with the poor quality of the Beckmann article, the discussion of Tchaikovsky's homosexuality in this Wiki article is already handled in an even-handed manner; it is hard to imagine what more could safely be added to the discussion. I am all for removing the link. Jonyungk (talk) 03:24, 18 August 2010 (UTC)
I just noticed this and came to the discussion page to see if it had been addressed. I'm in total agreement that it's quite out of place here, not to mention extremely outdated. No one in the academy seriously questions Tchaikovsky's sexuality any more. As I'm the third, I'll remove it. Terez27 (talk) 17:57, 28 May 2011 (UTC)
Thank you -- agree it should come out. Hadn't read the article for a while so I didn't notice it was still there. Antandrus (talk) 18:20, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

This "Beckmann" external link is disgusting because of its bad faith : it is entirely based on a voluntary false interpretation of a letter partially censored in 1986 (Beckmann's text is not very new as you can see), but now entirely disclosed. That the letter was about homosexuality was clear enough in 1986 :

"I am so set in my habits and tastes that it is not possible to cast them aside all at once like an old glove. And besides, I am far from possessing a will of iron, and since my last letters to you I have already surrendered some three times to the force of my natural tendencies. Would you imagine !"

But in 1986, Beckmann wrote these "natural tendencies" were alcoholism because Tchaikovsky was orthodox and therefore couldn't have been a homosexual !!! Fortunately, the letter is now entirely uncensored :

"One of these days I even went to Bulatov’s country estate, and his house is nothing but a pederastic bordello. As if it were not enough that I had been there, I felle in love as a cat with his coachman !!! So you are prefectly right when you say in your letter that it is not possible to restrain oneself, despites all vows, from one’s weaknesses."

It's a rather good occasion to see the bad faith of homophobic "scholars" ! (talk) 21:45, 6 October 2011 (UTC) (talk) 14:25, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

Romeo and Juliet - why no opus number?[edit]

Please see my question @ Talk:Romeo and Juliet (Tchaikovsky)#Lack of opus number. It's been sitting there unanswered for well over 2 years. Anyone who knows the story, please come on down and fill us in. Thanks. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 02:21, 17 January 2011 (UTC)

So.... WTF?[edit]

How do I say his name? Why doesn't it have a pronunciation citation? Someone from Russia: get on that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by John Holmes II (talkcontribs) 16:53, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Um... hello? Pyotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky is an English transliteration. It's pronounced as you would read it in English... -- megA (talk) 10:30, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

An anonymous comment[edit]

Morons, why do you spell Russian names without regard to convention but phonetically as it is the norm? He is Petre (transliterated from Russian of the day) or Peter (because names are translated by convention, there is Nicholas II not Nikolay II), there is no "o" or "y" in his name in Russian. You are fabricating spelling to reflect phonetics of a specific pronunciation. That's madness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Do these 346,000 (!) google hits for "Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky" tell you something? -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 02:59, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

This is only my supposition, but it seems likely most of them looked up "Tchaikovsky" rather than any first name.– mujerado (talk) 01:34, 28 May 2011 (UTC)

Spelling of "Tchaikovsky"[edit]

What is the reasoning behind adding the T to the beginning of his name? Ч is usually transliterated as Ch, not Tch because that would be phonetically redundant. It's Chekhov, not Tchekhov, so what gives? (talk) 02:12, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

Tchaikovsky is the standard English language spelling.THD3 (talk) 02:15, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

I'm aware of that, but why? (talk) 02:26, 17 July 2011 (UTC)

The French spell Chekhov as Tchekhov to this day - see fr:Anton Tchekhov - because they would otherwise say "Shekhov". Same with Tchaikovsky, Tcherepnin and many others. The German spell him Tschaikowsky, because Chaikowsky would be "Khaikovsky" to them. We get many transliterated names via French, German and some other languages, while others we've worked out for ourselves. Why this different approach for different people? Seeking logic and consistency in any aspect of English is doomed to failure.
My favourite is Serge Jaroff, which is a French transliteration of the Russian original Сергей Жаров, romanised as Zharov. But his records were released by the German record company DG, who still used the French spelling Jaroff, even though to Germans that would have signified "Yaroff", which is what I always assumed he was called before I discovered it was properly pronounced Zharoff. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 02:47, 17 July 2011 (UTC)
  • There are at least two different spellings of the composer's name(s) in current use on WP. I believe we ought to establish only one spelling and use it across WP. The lack of one is chiefly because discussions have not been focused in one place. The controversy has been included - and to some extent resolved - independently on the discussion pages for at least two articles, with each spelling supported by valid arguments. It seems best to continue the discussion and resolve the controversy in only one place, and that should be this one. So I've included a comment on these talk pages where the controversy has been discussed already:
There may be more that I have not discovered.
The controversy is about the English language interpretation of the Cyrillic character Ч, which is the last letter of the composer's middle name and the first character of his last name. It seems the closest in English is "ch". But not only could his middle name be written as Ilyich but also Il'yich and Ill'yich. His last name may be written as Tchaikovsky, Tschaikovsky and Tchaikowsky. The composer himself apparently used different spellings at different times when writing in English.
There are valid reasons for each version, but they should not prevent us from establishing a standard. But I do not believe we should be concerned with the way that languages other than English and Russian represent his name.
Twistlethrop (talk) 15:06, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
Quite. "Tchaikovsky" is by far the most common. Rothorpe (talk) 15:33, 20 November 2011 (UTC)
...What was I saying? In English there is only the one correct spelling, and the other one should be changed. Rothorpe (talk) 02:16, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
That's taking things a little far, I think. If there's "only one correct spelling" in English, what is it and why? That's rhetorical, because different romanisation and transliteration systems will give different results. All we can do is decide on one of them, and we have very sensibly decided on the version that is by far the most widely encountered in the literature. That's a very wise decision, but it's still a million miles from making it the "only correct spelling" in English. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 09:25, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
That was a sudden apparition of the former pedagogue in me! But you're right: in an encyclopedia, descriptive is to be preferred to prescriptive. Rothorpe (talk) 17:38, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I've just written about the correct transliteration of Tchaikovsky's name higher up on this page, but just to reiterate here. The original cyrillic is Чайко́вский, and Ч is not invariably transliterated to 'Tch': it is only widely spelled that way for Tchaikovsky since his first publications outside Russia used the German transliteration of his name, and it was this spelling which first became familiar in the West - hence 'Tchaikovsky' rather than 'Chaikovsky' (or, if we strictly follow yet another modern system of transliteration in English, 'Chaykovskiy'). Personally, I think it's less confusing if we stick to the 'Tchaikovsky' spelling most people today are familiar with. Alfietucker (talk) 18:00, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
It is less confusing, but our individual opinions on that issue are not why we've chosen the Tchaikovsky spelling, We've chosen it because of Wikipedia's policy that we spell names in foreign alphabets using the Latin script version that is most commonly used in sources. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 18:30, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I wish it were that simple. Certainly this doesn't hold for Rachmaninov/Rachmaninoff - the latter being the composer's own preferred non-Russian spelling, and the other still being widely encountered both on recordings and in reference books (e.g. Oxford Dictionary of Music): and yet Wikipedia at present goes with Sergei Rachmaninoff, which is fine but not demonstrably "the Latin script version that is most commonly used in sources". And yes, of course we shouldn't choose one name just according to "individual opinions" but by consensus. I was merely putting forward a point of view and an explanation why we shouldn't be too precious about the "correct spelling" in making our decision. Meanwhile there are still other pages relating to Tchaikovsky which use alternative spellings (see Twistlethrop's post above)... Alfietucker (talk) 18:48, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I thought an exception was made for Rachmaninoff, because of the composer's preference - certainly the -v version is more common. Rothorpe (talk) 19:00, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
I'd say it's probably likely they are about as equally common (if the -v were really that much more common, I don't know how composer preference should really matter). ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 19:24, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Leaving Rachmaninoff/Rachmaninov aside as sui generis (and cherishing Sir Henry Wood's rebuke to the BBC in 1938 "I cannot take the responsibility for teaching my friend how to spell his name, and as a very recent photograph he gave me is signed RACHMANINOFF we must not spell the name in our programme with a final v.") Twistlethrop's point, above, that we are currently using two different spellings of Tchaikovsky's name in En:WP should surely be addressed. I am unsure of where and how this ought to be pursued. Any thoughts? Tim riley (talk) 20:35, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Indeed - the article Tschaikovsky_Pas_de_Deux is at present a glaring exception to the 'Tchaikovsky' spelling. Assuming that we go with 'Tchaikovsky', should we at least make sure that references to the composer within that article (as distinct from Balanchine's ballet title) are in line with this? Or do we need to first go through a 'motion to propose' for the 'Tchaikovsky' spelling, and ensure we have sufficient consensus to go ahead with this, or whichever spelling gets the greatest support? Alfietucker (talk) 21:10, 29 November 2011 (UTC)
Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux must remain as is, imo. It is the title of a ballet as provided by its creator, and it's not for us to be respelling it 50 years down the track to conform to our current ideas of how to spell the name of the composer Tchaikovsky. Just imagine if someone had made a biofilm in 1940 called Tschaikowsky. That spelling would never change. Same for this ballet. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 08:49, 30 November 2011 (UTC)
It isn't quite that cut and dried, as early perfs elsewhere used the normal spelling, as do modern ones at the ABT, ROH etc, but I agree that we should adhere to the original spelling (faithfully following the New York City Ballet's] and the Balanchine Trust's websites in spelling the name as "Tschaikovsky") I've tidied up that article and added a note about the spelling, but am not a ballet buff and would welcome a more expert scrutiny of what I have done. Tim riley (talk) 10:33, 30 November 2011 (UTC)


How should the name of the composer of the music for “Serenade” be spelled? Most Westerners now spell it Tchaikovsky, but City Ballet took up, during Balanchine’s lifetime, the spelling Tschaikovsky. Why? Because that’s how the composer spelled it when he was in New York in 1891. (My thanks to the reader who sent me a copy of his Carnegie Hall autograph from the Pierpont Morgan Library.)

NY Times article by Alastair Macaulay, June 1, 2007
Robert Greer (talk) 20:05, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Music Theory[edit]

I just wanted to clarify that I've added this project in the scope of Wikipedia:WikiProject Music theory - rated it a start-class because there is little information about him as a theorist other than that he was one. Devin.chaloux (talk) 20:21, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

List of compositions by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky[edit]

A polite enquiry: I may be missing something, but why under 'ballets' in the List of compositions by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is there a list of stage works by one particular choreographer? Cg2p0B0u8m (talk) 17:45, 1 September 2011 (UTC)

Anyone with mad infobox-making skills?[edit]

My question's not directly related to Pete, but, being a featured article, I figured it would be a good place to ask.

I was wondering if anyone agreed that there should be a musical composer infobox. I was just looking at the Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, and Tchaikovsky articles, and the lack of one kind of annoyed me. Worst comes to worst, there's always this. Rockhead126 (talk) 21:07, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

There is a consensus to avoid info-boxes for classical music articles. See Wikipedia:WikiProject Classical music#Biographical_infoboxes. Regards. Tim riley (talk) 20:13, 29 November 2011 (UTC)

Old Style/New Style Dates[edit]

There is, at present, a footnote which reads:

Russia was still using old style dates in the 19th century, rendering his lifespan as April 25, 1840 – October 25, 1893. Some sources in the article report dates as old style rather than new style. Dates are expressed here in the same style as the source from which they come.

I haven't had a chance to go through the entire article, but I see there are a number of dates which don't specify whether they are old style or new style: to simply have the dates "in the same style as the source from which they came" is bound to be confusing. I suggest at the very least when a date is provided it should be clearly stated (OS) or (NS). Please could editors try to do this for all future dates added to the article, and if possible to any already in there which are not yet so specified. Alfietucker (talk) 05:13, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I've always been very uneasy with the "same style as the source from which they come" approach. We need to use Gregorian (NS) dates consistently. Any half-decent reference book will make it quite clear what calendar they're using, so if they're using OS, it's a very simple matter to convert dates to NS. If the source does not specify and we can't make a reasonable deduction, it's likely the source is so old as to be virtually useless. All the major events of his life are well-dated, so it should be a simple matter to confirm the calendar from some other source, if necessary. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 00:24, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

FAR review proposal[edit]

I would propose to nominate this featured article for review. It was made an FA in October 2009 when it was about 65.000 bytes-it's now 79,000 bytes so has clearly changed substantially. It reads clumsily and is unbalanced. I find it difficult to believe that in its current state its prose could objectively be said to be 'engaging, even brilliant, and of a professional standard'; that it is 'comprehensive' (e.g.the operas are almost completely neglected); it also seems to rely quite heavily on sources of the period 1970-1990- there is surely more recent stuff around. The text seems very heavy on 'according to' and citations seem frequently over-long. In short, I don't think in its present state it deserves to retain FA status,and needs a lot of tidying-up,revision and reorganisation. Opinions? Smerus (talk) 21:31, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Just managed to get through about ten paragraphs. The writing is awkward and at times ungrammatical. I didn't get far enough to consider sourcing and balance. It's not suitable for FA. Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 22:47, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I have taken a look. The article's text has increased by 1500 words since promotion, nearly all in the "Life" sections. A new subsection, "Belyayev circle" has been added; other sections have been enlarged and rearranged. Images have been added somewhat haphazardly, and there is consequent squeezing of text. There appear to be no significant additions to the sources, but a long "Other sources" (presumably "Further reading") section has been tacked on to the sources section. I have not checked out the prose, though the new Balyayev section did not, from a glance, seem terribly well written. This article has multiple edits from far and wide, and it is not easy to establish who has been responsible for these additions - probably many hands. The nominating editor, Jonyunk, left Wikipedia a couple of years ago, and I don't think there has been any subsequent stewardship of the article, which in traffic terms averages over 3000 visits a day. Rather than beginning a formal FAR at this stage, I would like if possible to have some time to look more fully at what has happened, and to assess whether the article can be restored to featured standard without too much fuss. I suggest no action for two weeks, at which time I will report back here. Brianboulton (talk) 22:56, 28 January 2012 (UTC)
If you are willing to take a detailed look at this that would be extremely helpful, thanks. I concur that the 'stewardship' issue seems important. Although I will not take any further action pending your review, I of course encourage any further comments here on the talk page from others.--Smerus (talk) 08:14, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Would it be possible to split the life section into its own article and leave a shorter summary remaining? It seems like this would make the article a lot cleaner and more readable.14jbella (talk) 02:01, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I'll help with any effort guys, but I dont have any books, so it will be mostly rewording snd trimming. Ceoil (talk) 10:34, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd like to emphasise Smerus's point about the operas. Eugene Onegin is covered to some extent, there's a bit about The Queen of Spades and Cherevichki, a glancing reference to The Voyevoda and that's it. I've seen two different productions of Cherevichki, plus two each of Mazeppa, Iolanta and The Maid of Orléans, none of which get a mention here. I have some books and programmes which could help to beef up a separate Operas section (or even an Operas by Tchaikovsky article). --GuillaumeTell 11:45, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
With respect, we all have seen what we have seen; just do it. Ceoil (talk) 11:53, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
With even more respect, up above Brianboulton suggests no action for two weeks, and I'm going to wait and see what he says before I just do anything to the article. --GuillaumeTell 16:49, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
When I said "no action for two weeks" I meant taking no action as far as FAR is concerned. People are most welcome to start remedying the more obvious faults in the article, as and when they have the time. I can't do much for the moment because of other commitments, but I hope to weigh in later in the week. Brianboulton (talk) 22:38, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

I am more than somewhat concerned that in my absence individuals would discuss either downgrading this article or admit that work has to be done but that no one would actually sit down and WORK on it. Isn't Wikipedia supposedly the ref tool that ANYONE can edit? Fine polishing of prose is not my strong suit; nevertheless, especially since it appears that no one else will actually do this, I will print out the article and go over it. Please keep in mind, though, that I am squeezing this between classes, a job hunt and other pressing matters, so if you don't see immediate results, please be patient. BTW, one reason I backed off this article was the continual nagging over Tchaik's sexuality, esp. in GA and FA Review. I hope at this time that all concerns in this regard have been addressed and answered. I would rather focus on improving prose already in the article, something on which I hope we can all agree. Jonyungk (talk) 14:38, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Dear Jonyungk (talk) - just to clarify - I am more than happy to work on the article, but didn't want to simply take things into my own hands - hence this thread. I am away from my reference books at present and therefore reluctant in any case to do anything far-reaching at the moment. It doesn't seem to me that there are any significant problems in the article relating to T's sexuality, etc. - just that the article seems to have gone awry since it was given FA status; and if by working on it everyone can be satisified that it's OK, that will be great. --Smerus (talk) 14:55, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification, which I genuinely appreciate. Out of fairness, I'll admit this has always been a huge, lumbering bear of an article and that in itself may have put off many from at least making it a huge but slightly more svelte bear. The fact the article is also a "sacred cow" for many people for various reasons may not have helped. (This plus the fact this was the first article I shepherded through FA Review discouraged me several times while working on it.) But this also does not mean that I do not wish SOMEONE better at polishing copy could have given Tchaik the fine-toothed-comb treatment. Let me see what I can do. Jonyungk (talk) 15:14, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

I have started doing some copyediting just to deal with clunky language and WP:UNDUE excursions.--Smerus (talk) 23:19, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Thank you. What you've done so far is a decided improvement. Will follow up behind to see what I can do. Jonyungk (talk) 23:23, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I am continuing to copyedit the article as it stands. I emphasize though that this does not mean I am (personally) satisfied with the underlying text. (e.g. I'm concerned at the dependence on Holden (and to a lesser extent Volkov) whom I don't greatly rate as authorities). Probably needs a dose of Taruskin and others.--Smerus (talk) 09:03, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
OK I have now done a preliminary copyedit of the 'life' section. The 'music' section however seems to me to need a complete rewrite, (including a convincing underlying rationale) and just doesn't seem worth copyediting as it stands.--Smerus (talk) 10:39, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks again for pressing on. Understand what you mean about sources. At the time I worked on the article, sources available were Holden and Brown; much of what they shared was fairly common knowledge, so I assumed there would be no question regarding them. Taruskin, as far as I know, has concentrated far more on The Five and related Russian Nationalists than on Tchaikovsky, at least going by his tome "Stravinsky and the Russian Traditions" and what snippets of his other books that I have read. Too bad--the man's combination of knowledge and wit would be most welcome. Volkov is the same with his book "Saint Petersburg." Moreover, the controversy over "Testimony" makes him a not-totally-trusted source in many's eyes. That leaves Polyansky for sources available to me and he concentrates primarily on the composer's personal life.
Agreed to a point on the music section--but only to a point. Including it was a condition of the article reaching GA, then FA status. While I am a decent writer overall, I am unfortunately not an academically trained musicologist or even a professional musician, so I am at a disadvantage working on it. (This does not mean, however, that I am not going to give it my best shot.) Since the stylistic and emotive avenues Tchaik traveled in his music are only slightly less convoluted than the biographical ones, it may make not make revamping this section easier. Suggestions on what should be included or left out would be welcome. Jonyungk (talk) 13:27, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
OK, there must be a fair amount by Taruskin in his Oxford History of Music, I can't check that (or other sources) for a couple of weeks, so may need just to think about it all in the meantime. Where did T. start from musically, what did he do differently (technically - without going into German 6ths etc. - and emotionally - sopmething about orchestration maybe, use of folksong or whatever), can we summarise his contributions in the major genres (symphony, opera, ballet, chamber, song...), who were his followers (Taneyev etc.), what was the musical and critical heritage, can we trace changes of opinions over the years, and so on. Incidentally I have no greater claims than you to being an academically trained musicologist or a professional musician! Best, --Smerus (talk) 15:12, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
On the subject of the mostly missing operas, my plan is to introduce each of them at the appropriate chronological point in the article. My starting point will be the Tchaikovsky article in my copy of The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, written by none other than .... [drumroll] ... Taruskin. I don't think that that will interfere with what either of you may be doing, but please let me know if it does. (And I, too, am neither an academically trained musicologist nor a professional musician, though I did scrape through Grade 5 Piano about 48 years ago. I have been to see a very large number of operas in various places, though.) --GuillaumeTell 22:12, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
Sounds good! about the grade 5 I mean, though the opera idea is more than passable :-}. But are you just going to mention the operas in the 'Life', and say more about them in the 'music' part? In which case are you envisaging a section 'operas' in the music part?--Smerus (talk) 06:24, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
Not sure. There's also a separate article Music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky which has a short paragraph on the operas, mentioning only Eugene O and the Q of S, as usual, It's all looking a bit complicated. --GuillaumeTell 11:52, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
As regards Music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, this is basically Jonyungk (talk)'s baby, I think, it was split off from the main article over 3 years ago, and in the meantime I suppose the main article has regrown it in situ. I am not sure that I am in favour of Music of Person articles in principle. There should be some reliable summary in the main article given a resume of the composer's main achievements (and why they are regarded as such, if possible). Tch is more complex because he is one of the few who wrote a series of (still) successful operas as well as works other different genres. Other examples, from whose articles we could take a lead, are thin on the ground (Dvorak, Smetana?) In covering works genre-by-genre - I did this when working up Mendelssohn to GA, but he is also a special case in some ways as his musical style didn't 'develop'. anyway I should look at other composer articles and see if they give any ideas. I am out of circulation from tomorrow for a few days, so have a good time!--Smerus (talk) 13:27, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
One complicating factor, which was why the Music article was spun off in the first place, is the unusually wide stylistic and emotional range of Tchaik's music. Material on the operas would have been welcome (ans still would) as Tchaik placed considerable effort in them. However, I could not write about them due to lack of familiarity and solicitations for others to do so were either ignored or politely rejected. I can revisit the Music article in due course but would like to concentrate on the main article first and focus on one project at a time. I have already suggested a plan to reorganize it with Smerus and Brianboulton. Jonyungk (talk) 13:43, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
I think that all who are working on the facelift for this article should do so on the basis of a commonly agreed strategy. From the discussion on this page it seems that possibly more than one approach is being followed. The basic strategy that I have recommended to Jonyungk is to keep the main article in summary form, retaining the two-part "Life" and "Works" structure that is common to, I think, all FA composer biographies. Missing details, notably those relating to the operas, should be covered by expanding the daughter articles. There may well be a case for a separate "Operas by Tchaikovsky" article, rather than cramming detail into the parent article; or one could expand the operas section of the "Music of..." article and perhaps create individual articles for the most important operas. It depends, really, on who's got the time. Don't forget, though, that at the moment the priority is to ensure that the parent article remains a viable feature article. Brianboulton (talk) 18:53, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I think, on the whole, your strategy is a good and simple one. What can make it difficult on which to follow though are two issues. The first is the closeness with which Tchaik and his music are enmeshed, which is arguably tighter than is the case with the majority of composers. The second, no less touchy, is the central role his music played at a defining point in Russian culture and musical politics. Neither of these issues can be relegated to a strict "Works or Life" strategy, as they touch on both areas.
The real question is how much to illuminate these areas without blinding ourselves to the main issues at hand. If we keep things and short and to-the-point in the main article, with the understanding that additional detail can be given more effectively in the daughter articles, then I think we can have a workable plan. I'm already following through on the musical politics end, having shortened the Belyaev (sic) section while tactfully and briefly expanding, for the sake of clarity and understanding, on why the conflict with The Five was so pivotal and incendiary. Since the operas fall into an important category in Tchaik's output (albeit one mostly ignored in the West), it might be the same with them. Your thoughts? Jonyungk (talk) 23:43, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Today I added the first part of a new Music section and ran into a huge length problem. With a sub-section on genres in which Tchaik wrote, the article currently stands at just over 108,000. As a result, I am removing the Genre section. This will leave sections on various aspects of Tchaik's music in general. Another section on the reception and impact of his works, on which I am currently working, will come in due course. Jonyungk (talk) 18:38, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

The rest of the Music section has been installed. All that remains is copy editing the Life section from "Years of Wandering" to the end and slightly revamping the lede. I've removed the Under Construction tags as, technically, they no longer apply. Jonyungk (talk) 20:19, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

I've stripped in and tweaked an amended lede section, which should accurately reflect both the existing and added content to the body of the article. This was the final step in my revision. Jonyungk (talk) 18:01, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Three versions of same[edit]

After this article was an FA, and even though it already had one version of the 1812 overture, TonyTheTIger added US army version of 1812 Overture here:

and audio-only version here:

This had something to do with Featured Sound candidate nominations. Do we need three versions of the same work? SandyGeorgia (Talk) 03:13, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

This page is on my watchlist; my openion is no.....Ceoil (talk) 10:31, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

"Meck" vs. "von Meck"[edit]

I have been told when working on previous articles that the "von" in Germanic names is actually a title, not part of the actual name, so it is dropped when the last name is used on its own. However, another Wiki editor insists that because Nadezhda von Meck was Russian, though with a German last name, the "von" stays. To me, this sounds incorrect. Add this editor's insistence on re-adding all the "vons" after I have removed tham (at least twice now) and you can imagine my frustration. I mentioned earlier that I am copy editing this article amidst a number of other commitments and time constraints. My time, therefore, is extremely precious and not worth some continual asinine pettiness like this. Let's please settle on this point of usage and move on. Jonyungk (talk) 23:29, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Below (in small) is a conversation copied from my talk page:
== Meck vs. von Meck ==
Jack, thanks for the well-intended attention re. Madame von Meck in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky but when her last name is used alone, the "von" is dropped as it is a title, not part of the name. The best example of this rule of usage is Herbert von Karajan. Whenever his last name is used by itself, you generally read or hear "Karajan," not "von Karajan" or "Von Karajan." Thanks for understanding. Jonyungk (talk) 13:22, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi. What you say applies to Germans and Austrians. But Nadia was a Russian who married a man with a German name. In her own article, it's "von Meck", never just "Meck". -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 14:09, 4 February 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, Jack. German name--the rule still applies. If you still disagree, please take it to the Tchaikovsky talk page so that others can discuss it as well. Jonyungk (talk) 23:20, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
So, here I am. My view has always been that particles like "von" became essentially part of the surname when they're held by people in non-German-speaking countries. Frederica von Stade is referred to as "von Stade", never just as "Stade". In Germany, Wernher von Braun would have been sorted under B for Braun and he was referred to by surname as "Braun", but when he went to the USA, he was sorted under V for von Braun and he was referred to as "von Braun". Same for Nadezhda von Meck in Russia. I've already noted that we call her "von Meck" in her own article, not just "Meck", but that didn't seem to cut any ice.
Also, can we please drop the histrionics? Everyone's time is precious, not just Jonyungk's. There is nothing in Wikipedia that's set in stone, and getting frustrated whan your pet article diverts one jot from your preconceived idea of how it should be is fruitless. Changes can still continue while articles are undergoing major rewrites, revamps, reviews, copy edits or whatever else. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 00:50, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I've only ever heard her called 'von Meck', and I'm quite old. Normal usage rules, plus I agree with Jack's logic. Rothorpe (talk) 01:11, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
Logical but not consistent--as Jack quoted above from me, we also say "Karajan," not "von Karajan," and even in this article and his bio, Hans von Bulow is referred to as "Bulow." Point is, could we please settle on one point of usage and stick to it so we don't keep changing one another's work unnecessarily? Jonyungk (talk) 21:11, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
On the contrary, it's both logical and consistent. There's one rule for what happens in regard to people based in German-speaking countries, and another rule for what happens to people based outside. Karajan, Beethoven and Bulow are in the first category, and von Meck is in the second category. Werner von Braun and Josef von Sternberg are examples of people who started out in the first category but emigrated and finished up in the second category (hence they're referred to as "von __" and sorted under V. Frederica von Stade is an example of someone who's always been in the second category, even if her forbears were in the first category. Gustav Holst would probably be listed under V for "von Holst" to this day, had he not dropped the von.
I'd have thought this was not a matter of dispute but of historical record and historical usage, and there's nothing to settle.
I've looked around for any examples of where Nadezhda von Meck is referred to as just "Meck", and the only case I can find is in the index of Poznansky's book, where she's listed under M, as "Meck, Nadezhda von". But in the text, she's consistently given either her full name or "Nadezhda" or "Mrs von Meck" - but never just "Mrs Meck" or just "Meck". I think the indexing under M is wrong, but that's not directly relevant to this issue. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 23:28, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
I am entirely in favour of 'von Meck'. Please note the German WP article de:Nadeschda Filaretowna von Meck, where throughout she is 'Nadeschda von Meck' or 'von Meck' - if that's good enough for the Germans, it must I think be right, ('rule' or no rule).--Smerus (talk) 05:35, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
Let me support Jack of Oz and testify that in Russia we have the same situation: Russian people of German origin should be named with obligatory 'von' while German people in many cases could be mentioned without this particle. THerefore in Nadezhda von Meck is listed under Ф which is Russian for V in this case. Andrei Romanenko (talk) 22:56, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Tchaikovsky Niece in childhood section[edit]

In the third paragraph of section 1.1 "Childhood" the phrase "to look after Tchaikovsky's elder brother Nikolai and a Tchaikovsky niece" seems quite vague. I cannot tell if niece mentioned here is a niece of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, or a niece of someone else in the family. I do not have the book to check, so I would appreciate it if someone who does could help clarify this detail, of if I am just misreading it, could explain it to me. I also wanted to know if the Dürbach was hired to look after Pyotr as well, because, again, I do not have the books cited. Thanks.14jbella (talk) 02:34, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

These points have been clarified. Thank you for pointing them out. Jonyungk (talk) 13:37, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Always happy to help! 14jbella (talk) 21:09, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Removing "Mature Composer" section.[edit]

I've copy edited the first half of the Life section. The section titled "Mature Composer" has become a hodge-podge that, in its current state and place, impedes flow and readability and does not stay on any one tangent. Also, the section that follows on von Meck should actually be moved up as it belongs with material on T's marriage, etc. Some of the material in "Mature Composer," such as info on the operas that GuillaumeTell has recently added, would be better used in the Music section when it is reorganized. Otherwise, it would be better to delete this section entirely. Jonyungk (talk) 23:12, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

I've copied the "Mature Composer" material to my sandbox for future re-use. If anyone has comments or questions about the deletion, please post them here.Jonyungk (talk) 15:50, 9 February 2012 (UTC)

Suggestions for Music section[edit]

As of now, I am two-thirds or so through copy editing and rewriting the Life section (up to "Years of Wandering"). As the rest of this section seems more complete, research-wise, than much of what preceded it, all it may need is some tidying up and clarification. This leaves the Music section. My impression from previous posts is that other editors are dissatisfied with it and that it needs an overhaul. I am currently looking over other composer FAs such as Brianboulton's excellent Gustav Mahler article to see how others have handled it and find ways to possibly standardize the Music section here to them. Please help me out with suggestions on what you'd like to see in this section. I look forward to and encourage your feedback here. Thanks. Jonyungk (talk) 13:25, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

Sexuality: Restore Edited Material?[edit]

I received a request on my talk page from an established Wiki editor, citing WP:UNDUE, to cut down the material added to the Sexuality seccion, particularly regarding official and societal tolerance in 19th century Russia. I complied but told the editor the matter merited discussion here as deleting the material should be decided by more than two people.

Here is the diff which contains the material edited out of Sexuality.

I can understand concerns about WP:UNDUE, with people asking, "What is all this stuff on tolerance in 19th century Russia doing here?" I would submit that discussing the official and cultural atmosphere in Russia at that time is highly relevant. It has been made a key issue, pro and con, by several biographers of Tchaikovsky. Without it, a reader is left without all the facts to understand why the composer may or may not have acted or possibly composed the music that he did. Therefore, its place in a biographical article on Tchaikovsky, at least to some degree, becomes essential.

There is currently a link at this section to LGBT history in Russia. This article badly needs expansion to keep it relevant. Ideally, someone should import the material in Tchaikovsky to that article, then flesh out the rest of the LGBT article and leave just a few sentences for context and as a "teaser" for the other article. Barring that, if it came down to losing the link and losing the material, I'd likely pick losing the link.

Also, before I added the material, I'd contacted SatyrTN and Hyacinth, asking for a read-through to ensure fairness and sensitivity in coverage. SatyrTN agreed but also admitted a lack of familiarity with issues in Tchaikovsy's life. The material was added in part to give SatyrTN an abundance of material from which a well-rounded and fair representation could be drawn. When the article went through PR a couple of years ago, we caught considerable flak for deficiencies and a lack of sensitivity in the Sexuality section. Because, among other things, those issues were addressed, the article passed GAR and FAR. In my view, we cannot ignore them now and keep the article as an FA.

Please say where you think this section of the article will go. As I said above, this should not be decided by just two people. There should ideally be some sort of consensus agreed upon here. Thanks. Jonyungk (talk) 15:02, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

The "conclusion" that he convinced himself he was gay through "sexual over-indulgence" is patently absurd, goes against all modern knowledge of homosexuality and must reasonably be viewed as a fringe view. Mentioning it is hence reasonably WP:UNDUE unless we can find that several reliable moderns sources on the topic supports this view. --OpenFuture (talk) 09:47, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
What about "theory" or "postulation"? Wording about what it really is can always be changed. The overindulgence suggestion may seem absurd but mentioning it is not; it's one theory out of several, mentioned as such and already labeled "potentially questionable." Among the criteria for Featured Articles (FA) is the need for comprehensive coverage of its subject, using reliable, published sources. Since the overindulgence theory appeared in an established academic journal (The Musical Times of London) and was reprinted in the Holden biography of Tchaikovsky, it should be mentioned and just that—mentioned. That's all that's been done here. If we find another source that specifically debunks it or calls it a fringe view, we can include that, as well. What we should not do is leave out information just because we don't like, agree or feel comfortable with it. That, in my view, is a disservice to readers. Jonyungk (talk) 14:52, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
I don't see how the Musical Times is a reliable source on psychological issues, unless Henry Zajaczkowski is a psychologist, of course. If he is not, this is still a fringe view IMO. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:10, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
As per your request for my view on the deleted material, it seems to me to simply be speculation on how contemporary society would have reacted if Tchaikovsky's sexuality had been public knowledge, based on the reactions to other homosexuals. The material uses several different sources in this speculation, and is therefore IMO synthesis, and I don't see how synthesis can be used for speculation in a reliable fashion. In addition, I don't think it really adds any useful knowledge about Tchaikovsky compared to saying (as the text now does) that he might have feared social rejection. --OpenFuture (talk) 15:17, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
Henry Zajaczkowski is a musicologist who wrote An Introduction to Tchaikovsky's Operas and Tchaikovsky's Musical Style, hence his comments appearing in The Musical Times. Since none of the other views on Tchaikovsky's acceptance of his sexuality is made by a psychologist, your point that Zajaczkowski has to be one to do so himself is, in my view, not really valid. Jonyungk (talk) 15:35, 22 February 2012 (UTC)
He is making what can only be described as a psychological explanation at it, and something that flies in the face of all known research on the subject. *Nobody* has convinced themselves they are homosexual through sexual overindulgence. To be clear: It is absolute patent idiotic homophobic nonsense. (While the other statements are statements based on his letters and actions, not pseudo-psychological mumbo-jumbo.) --OpenFuture (talk) 16:48, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

OpenFuture, as much as I may respect your views (and, believe me, I do respect them or I wouldn't be posting this), since the material you question is cited, its removal should be agreed upon by consensus here. Richard Taruskin, who is considered an authority in Russian music, suggests that Zajaczkowski may be qualified psychologically to make his statement. Despite my efforts, I haven't yet found those credentials cited elsewhere but I haven't stopped looking, either.

One criterion for FAs is that they have to offer comprehensive coverage. Just because does not like or agree on one part of that coverage does not mean it is automatically to be eliminated. Even if it is considered a "fringe view," as I believe you phrased it, it can be stated as such in the article. Jonyungk (talk) 16:50, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

To me eyes you are avoiding my arguments. You point out it's cited. I point out it's a pop-psychological speculation by somebody who is not a psychologist, and hence not a reliable source. Your response is "it's cited". I point out that it in fact does not concern how Tchaikovsky "felt" at all, but speculates about the "cause" of his sexuality. You respond "it's cited". I point out it is insulting, you respond "it's cited". I don't think we'll get further here. --OpenFuture (talk) 17:32, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I also mentioned that Zajaczkowski might have credentials to say what he did. If he doesn't after all or I can get a professional opinion that his theory is balderdash, I'll consider taking it off. If it is the consensus on this page that the info goes, so be it.
What I don't appreciate is the apparent view that I am being an intransient hatemonger or homophobe in all this, as much as I've had good faith mentioned to me, when all I am doing is adhering to WP guidelines. Jonyungk (talk) 17:51, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't think *you* are, I think you just won't let go of that piece of text, maybe because you feel you WP:OWN it, or something. There is no doubt about your good faith or good work in general. I think you perfectly understand my arguments and really agree with them, in fact.
Zajaczkowski might have the credentials you say? He is a psychologist? I can't find anything to corroborate that.
All theories that you become homosexual through your own or others actions have been completely discredited in modern research, as you probably are aware. The consensus view today is that you are born with homosexuality. Loads of support for this, with sources, can be found at Homosexuality#Etiology. There is no support there, nor can I find it anywhere else, that overindulgence can cause homosexuality. --OpenFuture (talk) 20:06, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Well, the point of that paragraph is to discuss how comfortable Tchaikovsky may have been with his sexuality, not whether he was or "became" gay. That said, I've read the paragraph through several times and thought that Zajaczkowski's theory might simply be out of context with the rest of the paragraph. Removing it, however, leaves a slight dilemma. There has been a contrast in biographies of Tchaikovsky between traditionalists who say that he was not comfortable with his sexual nature and a newer train of thought that he was comfortable with it but simply didn't want to take the chance to be "outed." The two other "arguments" in the paragraph lean toward the latter view but there is nothing for the former. Let me go back through some of the traditionalists (Brown, Hanson, Warrack) and see what I can find to take the place of Zajaczkowski. Fair enough? Jonyungk (talk) 21:27, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. The new edits you did fixes all my concerns. Thanks! --OpenFuture (talk) 04:31, 10 March 2012 (UTC)

Sexuality: Updating vocabulary[edit]

The charge of using outmoded, offensive language in discussing Tchaikovsky's sexuality has cropped occasionally as long as I've worked on it. Being reasonably naive on the matter (or stupid, depending on your viewpoint) and keeping in mind the goal of being sensitive toward potential readers, I contacted Hyacinth, who tried to help in this area when the article was peer reviewed a couple of years ago. The verdict:

The section as a whole uses offensive and outdated language. For example: "He sought out the company of homosexuals in his circle for extended periods," rather than, "He sought out the company of gay men [or 'gays and lesbians'] in his circle for extended periods." Hyacinth (talk) 20:49, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Therefore, if you think terms such as "gay," "same-sex" or any other term considered correct currently is merely a euphemism and should be changed, PLEASE DO NOT DO SO RIGHT AWAY. BRING IT TO THE TALK PAGE FIRST. Reversions were a problem the last time an attempt like this was made. Please, let's not let it happen that way again. Also, if there is vocabulary used for which there are more up-to-date or acceptable terms, please make the change accordingly.

Thanks for your cooperation. Jonyungk (talk) 22:12, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

Here's a style guide I received that will help on this issue. Jonyungk (talk) 13:52, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

It's good to see such sensitivity to these issues, but I wonder why they only concern vocabulary and not the content? Claiming that over-indulgence o sex can lead to homosexuality, as this article currently does through the voice of Zajaczkowski, is considered very insulting by many of the same-sex persuasion. It is also completely discounted in psychology, and of course the person claiming this is not a psychologist.
I do not see why this article should spend any space on speculating of the causes of Tchaikovsky's sexuality, and if it should, it should reasonably be speculation done by psychologists, not musicologists. --OpenFuture (talk) 16:55, 9 March 2012 (UTC)
Please see my comments in the section above. Jonyungk (talk) 17:24, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

Music section: requested comments[edit]

I have read the revised Music section as far as the "Reception" heading. The quality of the writing is high and the tone scholarly. I have two broad concerns:-

  • Although everything is properly cited to appropriate sources, there is very little by way of attribution to these sources, which leaves the general impression of a strong editorial voice. Although the business of "according to so-and-so" and "so-and-so says" can be overdone, there is a need from time to time to make it clear that, in the article, you are summarising the views of sources rather than you own. In my list of comments below I have pinpointed a few cases where I think specific attribution is necessary.
  • Some of the prose is quite difficult for the general reader. Tchakovsky is a popular composer, and this article is widely read according to the page view statistics, so the tone needs should not veer too much towards that of specialist music journals. A couple of examples of what I mean:-
  • "They also become a means of synthetic propulsion in large-scale symphonic movements, taking the place of organic progression that would take place in strict sonata form as contrasting themes combined and interacted." Now, I am used to reading music articles, but I'm not confident that I know exactly what that means.
  • "The solution Tchaikovsky hit upon ... was the integration of new and violent contrasts, not only between the first subject in the tonic key and the contrasting second subject in the dominant but also between thematic and harmonic contrasts". The end of the sentence left me confused; perhaps the last word is wrong, otherwise it seems to be implying contrasts between contrasts'
I'll go back through both these passages and rework them accordingly. Thanks for pointing them out. Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

In addition to those general points I have a number of minor nitpicky issues such as always arise from a careful read-through:-

Creative range
  • Successive sentences should not begin: "Others, such as..."
Noted and taken care of. Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  • Nitpick, but would the British critic John Warrack use American spellings (color, coloration)?
Yes, he would. I've bracketed "color" and "coloration" to reflect this point. Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  • "Another, greater solution..." In what sense was it "greater"
Interesting timing on that one. I stumbled this morning on an essay by Leon Botstein that covers this point and has helped me, in turn, to break it down more clearly and thoroughly. Please see the sub-section on "Repetition" and let me know whether that covers everything. Jonyungk (talk) 04:32, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
  • "Brown maintains that while the composer was grounded in Western orchestral practices, he "preferred bright and sharply differentiated orchestral coloring in the tradition established by Glinka." The "while" is slightly ambiguous and would be better replaced by "although"
This section was reworked between your reading it and your posting here, so the point has been addressed. Apologies about the confusion. Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Expressive intensity
  • Maybe some explanation should be given for this term, e.g. who coined it and when?
    • It's not a coined term. The phrase I've read in Volkov and others is "intensity of emotion," which I rephrased in an attempt to side-step any potential charges of plagiarism or misappropriation. Besides, "intensity of emotion" gets thrown around a lot about Tchaikovsky's music. I'm open to suggestions. Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  • "This quality, combined with the extreme beauty of Tchaikovsky's best melodies, has sometimes polarized listeners but has generally endeared the public to Tchaikovsky's music." I think that definitive statesments such as this should be attributed as well as cited.

Done. Jonyungk (talk) 15:03, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Antecedents and influences
  • Opening sentence is another declarative statement that needs specific attribution.
  • Capitalisation in "His Rococo pastiches..."?
Done. Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  • "Tchaikovsky operated in opposite manner to Igor Stravinsky..." is not quite idiomatic. Perhaps just "the opposite manner" would do.
Good point. Thanks. Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Aesthetic impact
  • This section has a somewhat assertive tone. More attribution necessary.
I've attributed to Maes at the beginning of the paragraph but your point leads to a question. Footnote 209, at the fourth line down, is meant to cover the info in this paragraph up to that point. Would you recommend footnotes at each sentence, though the source would be identical? If so, this practice is not a problem, though it seems redundant. Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
  • "the last 18th feudal naton..." Word missing and typo?
"Naton" is being overly light-fingered on the keyboard and insufficiently caffeinated or overly fatigued to notice the squiggly red line futilely warning me like Cassandra's message to the Trojans. :-) As for words missing, I could add "European" or "In Europe." However, since Russia technically can include parts of Asia and the Middle East, what do you think? Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Done. Jonyungk (talk) 14:40, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

I will get to the rest as soon as I can; meanwhile I hope these comments are helpful. Brianboulton (talk) 23:34, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

My last few comments:-

  • Beginning a sentence "More disturbing" is not a good idea, partly because nothing obviously "disturbing" has previously been mentioned, and also because this wording suggests a judgement on your part.
Noted and changed. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • "This time Tchaikovsky did nothing..." suggests that on another similar occasion he did something. I would drop "This time" unless you specifically want to refer to this other occasion.
It is—Leopold Auer with the Violin Concerto—but changed regardless. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Not sure, but possible "Variations on a Rococo Theme" and "Rococo Variations" should probably be italicized.
  • I am unsure what you mean by "a true advocate".
Changed to "an advocate." Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • "Tchaikovsky's reception with critics has been mixed but has also improved." First, I'd make that "Tchaikovsky's critical reception". Secondly, I'd say "has improved over time".
Done. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • As it's some time since it was mentioned, I'd add a bit more detail to "Dostoyevsky's Pushkin speech". e.g. "Dostoyevsky's Pushkin Memorial speech in 1880"
Good point. Done. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • "At least in the latter" → "At least in the latter charge..." perhaps? And whose judgement is it that "there may have been a grain of truth"?
Botstein, which is cited at the end of the sentence. Also now attributed. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • By "Germanic countries" do you mean "German-speaking countries"?
Yes. Seen them referred as such in more than one source. Suggestion? Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Attribute "painfully aware"
Done but with some confusion on my part since Botstein was already cited. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • "Synthesis" is not an obscure enough term to require a wiktionary link. Any moderately educated reader will understand its meaning. And the external link in the text needs to be avoided. All of this sentence reuqires some attribution.
The link has been eliminated. I'm becoming concerned about over-attributuion, though I see your point. We now have Botstein attributed three times in three concurrent sentences. Wouldn't citing be enough on some of this? Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • "Naysayers" is a slightly derogatory term for a neutral encyclopedia to use, referring to adverse critics. It suggests adherance to a specific viewpoint.
Taken care of. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • What on earth did Abtrop mean by saying that "Pandemonium, delerium tremens, raving, and above all, noise were confounded" Did he perhaps mean "compounded", which at least makes sense?
I'll double-check to make sure. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • To begin a paragraph "To many critics..." without identifying them is problematic. I would say: "To critics such as xxx and yyy..."
It wasn't just one or two critics—it was actually a general consensus, even among musicologists such as Gerald Abraham, Martin Cooper and Ralph D. Wood, hence the blanket statement. I can dig around for a couple of noted critics but would that be enough here? Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • "More often than in the past, however, critics are reacting positively..." Needs a more specific time reference, e.g. "In the 21st century, critics are reacting more positively..."
Done. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • If Horowitz wrote "sound-byte" instead of "sound-bite", his error should be marked with a [sic]
Done. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • In the first paragraph, I assume that everything down to the first citation is found in Wiley's Grove article. Since it contains opinion and assessment, this material needs to be attributed to Wiley.
  • What is the distinction between citations 274 and 275, which appear to come from the same page of the same volume?
275 is from Holden and Wiley; both are listed. 274 is from Wiley alone. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
  • A few more non-attribution problems in the remaining paragraphs. I don't dispute the validity of the content, but in Wikipedia, summary statements must not appear to come from the encyclopedia itself. The stuff attributable to Holden is fine, but some of the other material needs a bit of attention.
I will take care of this, though you're honestly starting to drive me crazy. Every statement is cited so, technically, you'd think all bases were covered. Jonyungk (talk) 21:20, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

The above comments are relatively minor. I think you have done a great job in improving what was, in my view, a very good article anyway. Beyond these cosmetic adjustments I honestly can't see much more that you can do. Brianboulton (talk) 18:07, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

Keller's analysis[edit]

I removed this from the article:

According to musicologist Hans Keller, the solution Tchaikovsky hit upon while composing the Fourth Symphony, which he refined in his remaining two numbered symphonies, was the integration of new and violent contrasts—between musical themes, keys and "thematic and harmonic contrasts, which are therefore not allowed to coincide."[1] Citing Mozart as an influence in Tchaikovsky's use of thematic and harmonic contrast, Keller uses the second theme in the first movement of the Fourth Symphony as an example. This movement is written in the key of F minor. Keller states that, according to Western European rules of harmony and the circle of fifths that then prevailed in it, the second theme should be in the dominant key of B major. Instead, it is in A-flat minor. By the time B major has finally established itself, this theme has finished playing. Thus, Keller says, "the thematic second subject precedes the harmonic second subject" (italics Keller).[2] While this juxtaposition of thematic and tonal blocks could still be seen as an episodic treatment of large-scale form, rather than an "organic, evolutionary" one,[3] it provided needed contrast and added intense drama.[4]

It seems garbled, and I don't have the symphony's score to hand or access to the reference, so I brought it here for clarification. B major is not the dominant of F minor. Sonata form in the minor is surely usually expected to go the the relative major (F minor -> A flat major) or the dominant (F minor -> C minor). Expectations of 2nd key are not totally ingrained - think of Beethoven's sonata form movements like the Waldstein's first movement which has the second subject in the mediant. Has something been lost in the translation? I am trying to tease out the meaning of the paragraph, because I think it is getting at something worth saying. --RobertGtalk 08:52, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

These points could have been addressed without removing the paragraph. The comment "[it is actually A flat major] could have been inserted in brackets as an ed./WP parenthetical comment. The main point Keller seems to make (and this took a couple of days for me to ponder through as, despite his apparent reputation and inclusion by Simpson in his anthology, he is frustratingly unclear and fragmentary at times) is that Tchaikovksy's approach to large-scale structure was not by the interaction of themes dictated by strict sonata form but by the juxtaposition of contrasting tonal and thematic blocks. This juxtaposition was actually closer to the mechanics in many Russian folk songs, which operate, according to Brown, as a series of self-contained melodic units without any transition from one to the next. According to Keller, the fact that a contrasting block does not settle into its normally expected tonality, or the passage itself does not settle into that tonality until well after that block has appeared, either prolongs or adds tension to the music. Mozart, Keller writes, evidently preceded Tchaikovsky in this apparent modulatory delay (some help on the exact phrasing or better way of describing what I'm trying to say here?) and may have helped give Tchaikovsky the impetus in attempting it himself. Could we possibly tweak this paragraph and insert it into the article in place of the other one? At least it's that much clearer—I think. Jonyungk (talk) 13:19, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Just found this corroboration in Brown's Final Years while looking for something unrelated: "For Tchaikovsky himself the symphony was 'the most lyrical of forms', but shot through with drama; its momentum stemmed not so much from continuity of thought as from striking juxtapositions, and its effect upon the listener came less from a rich and well ordered argument than from taking him through a succession of often highly charged sections which added up to a radically new kind of symphonic experience." (p. 426, italics Brown) Jonyungk (talk) 14:38, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for that. I see why you had to ponder it for a while. Your explanation does make it clearer, so perhaps we could add something of it as you suggest, but are we getting close to synthesis? Perhaps I need to ponder it for a bit myself, and listen to the symphony again. I'd be happy for you to put the para back since it obviously isn't as garbled as I thought. I share your opinion of Keller, though. --RobertGtalk 22:36, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
You're welcome and thanks for the green light on putting back the paragraph. That, in think in the light of discussion here, though, is only a start. It could probably use a bit of "unpacking" and clarification with some of the material here added. After all, if you had problems with it, and you're a trained musician, what are lay people reading this aritcle going to think? As for "synthesis" (someone else accused me of that regarding the Sexuality section—how I hate that term), I don't think we're there yet. Brown and Keller basically complement each other on the concept of juxtaposition, so we don't seem to be force-fitting decidedly separate pieces into a questionable composite. Maybe once I've worked everything over in my sandbox and stripped it in place of the current paragraph, everything will be clear. Jonyungk (talk) 23:07, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

I don't see an actual cited source for the Keller discussion in the list of references. Did this get lost? Tdent (talk) 19:56, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Désirée Artôt[edit]

Near the end of the paragraph on Tchaikovsky's time with Désirée Artôt, there is the statement, "Tchaikovsky later claimed she was the only woman he ever loved." While this statement is cited with, I haven't found it corroborated in any other sources. I've recently checked Brown, Holden, Poznansky and Warrack—nothing. This leads me to believe it might be the opinion of the writer on the Schubertiademusic site and not necessarily a fact, so maybe it should be taken out of the article. Any other thoughts? Jonyungk (talk) 23:43, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

Why is this article so full of Mr. Brown feels...and such negativity and rambling on and on about how Tchaikovsky doesn't follow sonata form?[edit]

The article mentions over and over and over, about Mr. Brown's feelings about Tchaikovsky, and how Mr. Brown doesn't like that it doesn't follow a sonata form...and then the article goes on and on about sonata form. Why on earth is it in there so many times? It seems like the article juuuuust starts to explain something, and then someone randomly inserted a paragraph and half of moaning about "zomg it doesn't follow sonata form."

Can't it just be mentioned once, in one coherent paragraph, and then dropped?

Or maybe say: Critics x, y, z, all disliked that Tchaikovsky didn't follow sonata form and that his music was not the traditional Russian music they were used to.

Something like that. Every few paragraphs, it's moaning and whining about why it doesn't follow sonata form, or that his music wasn't "traditional enough" for whomever.

Also, link the critics. Why do the critics matter? Of what significance are they, relative to the rest of the music world? I would care if they were important people, but when it's just John Smith over there doesn't care for Tchaikovsky...I feel it's a waste of space to mention there was one person who disliked the composition. (talk) 18:33, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

Let's get a couple of things straight:
First, if you read the article again, notice that Brown's not complaining. He (and others, if you look again) explains why Tchaikovsky did not or could not follow sonata form in terms of melody, harmony and so forth.
Second, Tchaikovsky's not following sonata form in the strict, Germanic sense has been a leading complaint leveled against his music for over a century by critics, academics, other composers, conductors and other musicians.
Brown wrote a four-volume biography and musical analysis of Tchaikovsky that, while controversial in its traditionalist treatment of the composer's personal life, explains the workings of his music in greater detail than others have.
Some readers will want to know this detail, why there were cultural as well as aesthetic reasons Tchaikovsky struggled and came up with a musical style that worked for him and fused Western and Russian elements. You are evidently not one of those readers. This is not good or bad, positive or negative. It simply is.
With all this said, let's agree to disagree and let other readers make up their own minds for themselves, shall we? Jonyungk (talk) 21:36, 28 June 2012 (UTC)
Brown does hold some very arguable positions about Tchaikovsky's works in his biography of the composer. The ratings in his book are very subjective; for example, he thought Iolanta was unworthy of attention whereas I have found it to be a very beautiful and interesting opera. As long as the article is not flooded with this kind of judgement, everything's fine. I went through the article and there's nothing wrong with it. The remarks of Brown cited in the article are pertinent and informative. --Bryan P. C. C. (talk) 08:35, 29 June 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:15, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

I am new to this article and don't expect to edit (much) but I was struck by the sections I looked at on melody and harmony that these seemed to be the views of Mr Brown, however interesting they are, and so came here to see if anyone had commented on this. I'm left wondering if there are other significant views not represented here. PS I thoroughly recommend the Bolshoi's production of Iolantha. Sceptic1954 (talk) 19:49, 5 April 2014 (UTC)


Somebody has recently been deleting information from the lead that is sourced (see section "Sexuality", paragraph 2), claiming that it is unsourced. Does anyone think the IP editor doing this is right in removing that information, as well ignoring edit summaries that show their claim to be untrue? Toccata quarta (talk) 04:11, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

I've restored it -- the sourcing is clear. To the IP editor: note that cites need not appear in the lede as the material is covered in the body of the text. Antandrus (talk) 04:34, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

Portrait Date Is After His Death[edit]

Was this portrait (at the top of the article) done after he was dead? The caption says it's from 1906, but he died in 1893. That seems a bit odd to me, since the portrait seems to be more visually-detailed that memory, alone is likely to produce. BTW, thanks to those who have worked on this article! Good stuff. Dmutters (talk) 21:29, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

I've just checked, and the date given is when the portrait (based on a photograph taken sometime in Tchaikovsky's last decade) was published - which is obviously misleading. I'll remove the year. Alfietucker (talk) 12:29, 23 September 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: No consensus to move. Three supports to six opposes, with the reasonable counterargument that the current name is the more common. (non-admin closure)  — Amakuru (talk) 12:03, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

Pyotr Ilyich TchaikovskyPyotr TchaikovskyWP:COMMONNAME and WP:CONCISE Երևանցի talk 02:10, 9 December 2013 (UTC) Google Ngram Viewer shows a little advantage of "Pyotr Tchaikovsky" over "Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky". Can anyone explain why we need to include his patronymic in the title? Is Tchaikovsky in any way different from other Russians? All Russians have patronymics, but I haven't seen any of them being included in the titles. A prime example is tovarishch Vladimir Lenin, whose father's name was also Ilych. To sum this up:

  1. "Pyotr Tchaikovsky" is more common (not by a large margin though) than "Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky"
  2. Even though all Russian have patronymics, articles on Russian people generally inlcude their first and last names --Երևանցի talk 02:10, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Common? I have never heard him referred to as just Pyotr. It's always either Tchaikovsky, or Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. IdreamofJeanie (talk) 17:04, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
Which is more reliable "I have never heard" or Google Ngram Viewer? --Երևանցի talk 19:22, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per IdreamofJeanie's rationale. Toccata quarta (talk) 17:31, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
"rationale" - because one user hasn't heard it? --Gerda Arendt (talk) 21:39, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. We should keep some consistency. If Lenin is not "Ilych" in the title, why would Tchaikovsky be different? Vanjagenije (talk) 20:04, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I'm technically 'retired' (or whatever you want to call it) but I found this proposal so extremely ridiculous I just had to chime in. No middle name the common name? I'm sorry but not only would I say "I have never heard" as well, but there's proof in the pudding as it were: here for instance. Find one CD/LP cover that doesn't have the middle name or just the last name. Or maybe a few websites. Now granted I found a couple in my search that didn't, one of which was IMSLP but as far as WP:COMMON goes it's 100% clear that Ilyich should be there. ♫ Melodia Chaconne ♫ (talk) 22:17, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. As I look at the those Ngram results, especially the labels on the Y-axis of that graph, I do not see a statistically significant difference. "A little advantage" does not seem to warrant a page move at this time, especially when the lines are that close together from 2005 on. In addition, those results show that there were some years where "pyotr ilyich tchaikovsky" was used more than "pyotr tchaikovsky". Because of these fluxes, and because the lines are so close together now, I would prefer to retain the current title. Zzyzx11 (talk) 06:39, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There's a bigger picture here. English-speakers, in general, are not aware of the system of Russian patronymics, and they would generally refer to Russians by their first name and surname only, in accordance with the "John Smith" model they are familiar with. So, it's Vladimir Putin, not Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin; Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, not Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov; Sergei Prokofiev, not Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev, etc etc. The N-grams for these 3 people are here, here and here, respectively. The results are exactly as one would expect: the versions without the patronymics far outweigh the versions with the patronymics. I'm sure there would be similar results with Rachmaninoff, Pushkin, Mendeleyev, Glinka, Borodin, etc etc. But with Tchaikovsky, it's a very different story. The graphs are much closer. That tells us that people refer to Tchaikovsky using his patronymic far more often than they refer to Russians generally using their patronymics. The "Ilyich" part of his name has a greater cultural significance in the anglosphere than the Pavlovich of Anton Chekhov or the Teofilovich of Sviatoslav Richter. No doubt there's some reason for this special treatment of Tchaikovsky, but we don't need to nail it down here and now. We just need to recognise its existence, and name him accordingly. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 07:35, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, Tchaikovsky does seem to be some kind of an exception, no doubt about that. I just thought we should align the title with other Russian people's titles. --Երևանցի talk 07:40, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. His patronymic is very commonly used, even when he's referred to in the West as Peter, so there's no problem with retaining it. -- Necrothesp (talk) 15:23, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose My experience is the same as others: the patronymic is usually used. Neljack (talk) 02:59, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


I thought Ч in Russian is t͡ɕ and not t͡ʃ?-- (talk) 09:04, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

Questionable interpretations and blatant projections of our own time and age[edit]

There are two extremes to be found in Tchaikovsky biography. One is a conspiracy of secrecy, where letters and diaries are published with systematic cuts, and where almost complete denial surrounds the subject of the composer's sexuality - this was standard Soviet practice from Stalin onwards. At the other extreme, homosexuality is placed at the very centre of Tchaikovsky's life and work, as if it influenced his every step and profoundly marked all his music, distinguishing it radically from the music of straight composers - this approach is very common in more recent Western writing. Both approaches, in their very different ways, are obsessive about Tchaikovsky's sexuality, the omissions of the first giving rise to the very rumours and myths that the second feeds off.

Only recently has Tchaikovsky's sexual life become a subject of serious scholarship (e.g. in Alexander Poznansky's book, Tchaikovsky: The Quest for the Inner Man), and it can now be discussed with confidence, even if there are still a few gaps in the historical narrative. His homosexual inclinations were most likely revealed (or fostered) in the all-male environment of the School of Jurisprudence, and later in the homosexual demi-monde of St Petersburg society, to which he was introduced by his close friend, the poet Alexei Apukhtin. It seems that he was relatively untroubled by his feelings at first, and he did not even think they would preclude him from leading a conventional heterosexual life in the future.

Source BBC Radio 3 webpage -:
Major Torp (talk) 20:52, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
So what is your point? Alfietucker (talk) 20:55, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
The English popular writer and broadcaster Anthony Holden is it seems the golden goose for much of the information on Tchaikovsky here. Removing some sections as I cannot do it all at once. Common knowledge biographical data can be used from popular writers like Anthony Holden but no specific, opinionated or scholarly revisionistic interpretations should be under taken. Fidgety assertions or simply new research which is interpreted by people with scholarly credentials (i.e. Alexander Poznansky or Roland John Wiley) which is till under debate has to be marked as such and clearly named and attributed to the author in question. A simple note to a source is bit unclear and sinuous hence deceptive Major Torp (talk) 21:49, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
All recent (and not so recent) biographer of Tchaikovsky agree he was homosexual. Not only Anthony Holden... It's a closed debate.Mardochee1 (talk) 00:38, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Finally some words of wisdom. Wikipedia is not a publisher of original thought and not a soapbox, a battleground, or a vehicle for propaganda even if our Western hemisphere in its pompous hubris seems contended to go that way...
How can you write Tchaikovsky's homosexuality is original thought ? There is a consensus that he was homosexual, based on testimonies of contemporaries, his non censured correspondence and his brother's Modest autobiography. It's a nonsense to talk about a so-called western propaganda. However, it is a fact some Russian people have a problem with truth, because of their homophobia. The real propaganda would be to deny the fully established fact of Tchaikovsky's homosexuality in the ground of a kind of homophobic nationalism. After all, a vast majority of great Russian figures are of course heterosexual. It's not weird one of them is homosexual. Mardochee1 (talk) 00:38, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Musicologist E. Yoffe assures us - and does not seem to be contradicted on this point - that there is nothing in Tchaikovsky's voluminous correspondence (5,000 letters) or in his eleven diaries (1873, 1884, 1886-1891) that refers directly to his alleged homosexuality. The nearest case, and the one that the accusation is usually based on, is a letter to his younger brother Modest on 10 October 1876. Here Tchaikovsky initially tells (again) of his intention "to marry, or by some well known liaison with a woman shut the mouths of all despicable gossips."
Musicologist E. Yoffe has to be contradicted : you didn't precise that he wrote about Tchaikovsky's voluminous correspondence in the eighties and this correspondence was then still censured on the point of homosexuality. Mardochee1 (talk) 01:00, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
The following portion of the letter is not usually given or commented on:
"Is it not a bitter thing to be pitied and forgiven when, truly, I am in no way guilty? So it has been a hundred times and will be a hundred times more."
Instead, the accusation is based on this allegedly damning portion:
"I am so confirmed in my habits and tastes that to throw them away as one would an old glove is impossible. And then I have far from an iron will. Since my recent letter to you, I have already succumbed to my natural inclinations three times."
But there are two things wrong with interpreting these inclinations as homosexuality. First, we have just heard that Tchaikovsky suffered from the accusations of homosexuality (what else could it be in the first portion?), wanted to put a stop to them, and assured his brother that he was not guilty of these suspicions. Even if this had not been a letter to Modest, from whom he had no secrets (and whom the allegers have alleged to be a homosexual himself), what earthly reason could there be for Tchaikovsky to contradict himself, within the same paragraph of the same letter, by suddenly saying that he succumbed to inclinations of which he just said he was not guilty? Since the first portion and his intended marriage refers to unfounded suspicions of homosexuality, clearly the second must refer to something else.
It's a fact that Modest was homosexual, not allegations : he made it very clear in his autobiography. E. Yoffe wrote in the eighties and didn't know this document. The letter about his natural inclinations was censured, but now restored and this restoration made clear that these inclinations were homosexuality and nothing else. Tchaikovsky didn't wrote he wasn't homosexual, but that it was not a guilt to be homosexual. Mardochee1 (talk) 01:00, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Second, it is incongruous that Tchaikovsky, a devout member of the Russian Orthodox Church, which regarded homosexuality as a despicable sin, would refer to this aberration as a naturalinclination; he would more likely have said "my unnatural inclinations." This seems all the more plausible in connection with his tendency for constant self-effacement and self-doubts apparent from his diaries. To call homosexuality a natural inclination would imply a degree of self-assurance that this ever tormented self-doubter did not have.
The letter about his natural inclinations was censured in the eighties, but now restored and this restoration made clear that these inclinations were homosexuality and nothing else. Mardochee1 (talk) 01:00, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
"Nowadays, when I read and hear that Tchaikovsky's homosexuality was a fiction invented by unpatriotic researchers, I can only laugh," said POLIDA VEYDMAN, director of the Tchaikovsky Museum in Klin, outside of Moscow. "DENYING HIS HOMOSEXUALITY IS ABSURD." One only has to read the composer's letters or journal entries, in which he openly reported about his intimate life, his passions and disappointments."Mardochee1 (talk) 01:29, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
There are other points. Would he refer to homosexuality as ingrained "habits and tastes"? Would he, in a span of three weeks ("since my last letter") have found three partners in Tsarist Russia where homosexuality was a grave criminal offense? And if he had a constant lover, would he have succumbed only three times? Would such a lover have remained secret?
Why not ? Homosexuality may have been a criminal offense, but it was in fact very rare that homosexuals were sentenced. Mardochee1 (talk) 01:00, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
To what inclinations, then, did he succumb?
Drink, quite possibly. He would work and attend social functions during the day, then brood and drink at home in the evening. His diaries which often contain brief, even one-word statements ("A walk. Newspapers. Whist. Supper at home.") very frequently contain statements like "I drank a good deal." "Drunkenness." "Felt bad from drunkenness." "Drunkenness at the [railroad] station" Drunkenness during intermission [at the opera]."
The letter about his natural inclinations was STILL censured in the eighties the time where this E Yoffe stated wrongely Tchaikovsky referred to his alcoholism, but now restored and this restoration made clear that these inclinations were homosexuality and nothing else. Mardochee1 (talk) 01:00, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
One of the more revealing entries on that subject is that of 11 July 1886: "It is said that to abuse oneself with alcoholic drink is harmful. I readily agree with that. But nevertheless, I, a sick person, full of
Tchaikovsky's marriage that ended in his nervous breakdown after a few weeks. But his wife was emotionally unbalanced and eventually ended in a mental home; no homosexuality was needed to break up her marriage to a high-strung and emotionally maladjusted man like Tchaikovsky.
Tchaikovsky was homosexual and drank. It's not incompatible. Mardochee1 (talk) 01:00, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Is there any more?
Plenty. Once you have made up your mind (or simply accepted the conventional wisdom) that he was a homosexual, there is any amount of little things that will "confirm" it: search and ye shall find. The copy of his diaries from the University of Colorado Libraries that I borrowed is frequently underlined in pencil, presumably by a student who had to write a term paper on the subject. In New York, Tchaikovsky met a Russian couple who had emigrated to America 30 years earlier. And the student underlined a really damning confession: "The husband is more to my liking than the wife." In the meeting with Carnegie in New York (10 May 1891) at a dinner party, Tchaikovsky's entry is underlined like this:
"He grasped my hands, declaring that I am the uncrowned but true king of music; embraced me (without kissing - here men never kiss)..."
But this naive student is not alone. The translator (W. Lakond) has added annotations, such as claiming that "Z." (explained above) was the secret symbol employed by Tchaikovsky for homosexuality, or claiming that "There is reason to believe that in his later years the attachment [to his nephew Vladimir Davidov] was more than platonic."
What reason?
He uses the "There is reason to believe" approach again for other males without the slightest hint what this reason might he.
To this one should add that Tchaikovsky was a man who was extremely highstrung, wore his heart on his sleeve, yearned for solitude only to weep over his loneliness, was overflowing with enthusiasm for one thing and strongly irritated by another in short time spans, wept openly and frequently on what others would consider unimportant occasions, and moved constantly between bliss and despondency. His diary therefore, is a treasury for anybody who, by selective searching, wishes to confirm any preconceived notion of almost any kind. Pgarret (talk) 01:31, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Elkhonon Yoffe wrote all of that in the eighties, in a time of Tchaikovsky's correspondence was censured in order to withdraw all references of his homosexuality. In recent years, archival research has enabled the cuts by the Soviet censors to be replaced by what the composer had originally written. It's why Elkhonon Yoffe's writings are entirely false : in his voluminous correspondence, Tchaikovsky actually wrote about his homosexuality. Mardochee1 (talk) 00:38, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Karl Kraus on Vienna Gossip: "If I cross the street with a woman, I am an adulterer; if I cross it with a man, I am a homosexual; if I cross it by myself am addicted to masturbation."
Hope you feel better after typing that screenful of homophobic denialism :) Meanwhile, Tchaikovsky was gay. Get over it. --feline1 (talk) 08:51, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
When considering that no definite proof for certain erotic practices or maybe just mere musings existed and that they then would even amount to a definition of sexual orientation is simply ludicrous. Not only is it not certain but writing into history what we would like it to be is historical falsification and most of all totally anachronistic and unsuited for an encyclopedia. Arguments and interpretations can and should be presented in the main body of the relevant wikipedia text but to draw conclusion wide off the mark are very inopportune and academically seen simply uncouth Major Torp (talk) 14:15, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
In recent years, archival research has enabled the cuts by the Soviet censors to be replaced by what the composer had originally written. A NUMBER OF SUCH PASSAGES FRANKLY DESCRIBE HIS SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH YOUGN MEN OF VARIOUS DESCRIPTIONS (see publication by V. S. Sokolov, Pis'ma P. I. Chaikovskogo bez kupiur, in P. I Chaikovskii : Almanakh, Moscow 1995; and by Poznansky: (Unknown Tchaikovsky : A Reconstruction of Previously Censored Letters to His Brothers published in Tchaikovsky and his World, ed, Leslie Kearney, Princeton, 1998).Mardochee1 (talk) 00:42, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
It is in it's place as in all encyclopaedic works to present the whole picture and try to adhere to principles of balanced and well argued views. When we write about historical documents and historians and popular writers that present various interpretations, conclusions we should be wary of putting all your eggs in one basket when they are mostly individual judgment often without the backing of categorical facts (self-identified or verified facts i.e. letter of direct and indubious declaration). Ascertained admissions are very very rare and in historical personalities a case of misplaced and unhistorical conceptualizations of sexual frameworks and definitions are maybe very current but on very shaky grounds when it is a scholarly endeavour. So views of writers and various scholars are out there can/should be mentioned as opinions/interpretations and views but to attest full-heartedly to them as something simply as Amen is straying from any form of respectability. So we can write about marxist-leninist interpretation of history or Jean Calvin view of Scripture but they should be presented as such and not as fact and simply ‘inevitable’ progression of discovery or emancipation. Major Torp (talk) 15:01, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I truly have a dislike of trying label people or retrospectively try to guess, speculate on somebodies inner most convictions or private prefrences. One of the key policies of Wikipedia is that all article content has to be verifiable beyond speculation. This also means that this is no place for original work, archival findings that have not been published, or evidence from any source that has not been published. It is quite straightforward and simple reinterpretations or making more stark and drastic statement shall not undermine proper verifiable scholarship that is backed by new published findings. Whatever the motive (good or bad) I totally detest humans branding as it is simpletons way of understanding complicated and multiply nuanced aspects. I hope we take a more sober approach when editing. Cпасибо! Koldewe (talk) 22:05, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Retrospectively it is almost impossible and undesirable that we impose our uncertain judgements on individuals. That we would do it so lighthearted and without any new clarifying new decisive evidence is simply no good. I propose that the article in parts and specific sections that have been blown out of reasonable in proportion be summarised so the article has a more reasonable and balanced form WP:COAT, WP:BLP and WP:ISNOT Major Torp (talk) 07:36, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Tchaikovsky wrote in his correspondence that he slept with men. So he is a homosexual. It's very simple. Mardochee1 (talk) 00:45, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
There's another Wikipedia policy you need to read and understand: sock puppetry. I've reverted your POV-pushing. Stop it please. Antandrus (talk) 14:39, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
A heartfelt sorry if confusion has arisen. I have marked the username as my own and have started to use it on another computer when writing on biographical material concerning renowned mathematicians. Sorry about that the mix up of profiles, won't happen again. Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea et Cadit quaestio. Cheers!Major Torp (talk) 22:40, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, and see WP:DICK while you're at it.--feline1 (talk) 15:31, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Tchaikovsky's homosexuality is a fully established fact of his private life. This fact was known by many of his contemporaries and is discussed explicitly and in detail in the unfinished autobiography by his brother Modest (partially published in an English translation in Poznansky's book Tchaikovsky Through Others' Eyes). That Modest chose not to mention it in his three-volume biography of the composer is not at all surprising given the conventions of the time.

The Soviet scholars also knew that this fact can be established beyond doubt, and pointed this out in the Russian edition of Tchaikovsky's correspondence with Mrs von Meck back in 1934. Only thereafter the Soviet censorship began to interfere with Tchaikovsky's texts AND SUPPRESS HIS ACCOUNTS OF HOMOSEXUAL ENCOUNTERS IN HIS LETTERS TO VARIOUS CORRESPONDENTS (most notably, to his brothers Modest and Anatoly) including the Complete Works edition, but at the early stage of this process quite a number of such references escaped the attention of the censors, and found their way into the publication of the composer's Letters to his Relatives (Moscow,1940), which was quickly withdrawn from library circulation. Any attentive reader of this material cannot but recognize that it unmistakably betrays the author's homosexual interests and activities. This entire problem is fully discussed the biography by Poznansky: Tchaikovsky: The Quest for the Inner Man (London, 1993).

In recent years, archival research has enabled the cuts by the Soviet censors to be replaced by what the composer had originally written. A NUMBER OF SUCH PASSAGES FRANKLY DESCRIBE HIS SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH YOUGN MEN OF VARIOUS DESCRIPTIONS (see publication by V. S. Sokolov, Pis'ma P. I. Chaikovskogo bez kupiur, in P. I Chaikovskii : Almanakh, Moscow 1995; and by Poznansky: (Unknown Tchaikovsky : A Reconstruction of Previously Censored Letters to His Brothers published in Tchaikovsky and his World, ed, Leslie Kearney, Princeton, 1998).

END OF THE QUESTION. We don't have to take into consideration russian attempts to censure the definitive proofs of T. homosexuality just because they don't feel comfortable with that idea. Truth and nationalist dogmatism are not compatible' Frimoussou (talk) 10:41, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Lower case, unbolded, please[edit]

Can people please not use bold or CAPITALS or BOLD CAPITALS, please? That is the online equivalent of SHOUTING. What you write should speak for itself. If your written words are not effective enough, choose other ones. Emphases like bold, Caps, italics and underlines should be used very sparingly, usually not at all. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 10:46, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Chance meeting(s) with Nadezhda von Meck[edit]

Please respond to my question at Talk:Nadezhda von Meck #Exactly how many times did she and Tchaikovsky meet by chance?, which seeks to nail down these details once and for all. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 00:09, 21 March 2014 (UTC)

These cusses knocked you guys off.[edit] vice versa. Either way, thought you'd like to know. (talk) 01:00, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

What's the matter ? We know Tchaikovsky was gay. That's a documented fact. (talk) 12:35, 15 May 2014 (UTC)


Sorry, I know that vinyl hadn't been invented yet, but whatever the merits of this article, it is sadly lacking a list of his musical works. I came to wikipedia trying to track down a particular beautiful composition, and this article is no help at all. Hint: he is famous because of his musical compositions! So list them! And discuss them!77Mike77 (talk) 21:14, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

If you look at the section "Music", the first item is a link to the List of compositions by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Antandrus (talk) 21:34, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
(e/c) Our standard approach for composers' articles is to have their general Biography first, then more details of their Music in a later section. That Music section will typically mention most of their major works and some of their minor ones. Where there is a separate complete List of works, such as this one, that List is mentioned at the head of the Music section. Just go to the Contents box, look for the Music section, click on it, and voila: "See also: List of compositions by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Symphonies by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 23:19, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Ukrainian ancestry[edit]

Around July 2012, a number of edits were made (the latest made clumsily here) to suggest that Tchaikovsky had significant Ukrainian ancestry. This was tidied up by another editor here with the comment "corrected spacing etc., but is the alteration to the text correct?". No one, it seems, ever replied - or at least the text was still here in that form until today. I have now removed it, since its attachment to Holden is clearly specious and no other citation has been offered for this alleged ancestry, which another editor today has been making a deal out of (which is what caught my attention). Please do not reinstate any of this information without such a citation. Alfietucker (talk) 11:40, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Actually it seems that Ukrainian ancestry can be confirmed. For example, see the following paragraph from a book published by Princeton University Press in 1998: "On his father's side, Tchaikovsky's origin may be traced to the Ukrainian village Nikolaevka in the Poltava region. His great-grand-father was an eighteenth-century Ukrainian Cossack named Fedor Chaika.". It would be better to add this sentence as is, plus citation, instead of the previous correction. Gena (talk) 08:13, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

How T. died[edit]

"While Tchaikovsky's death has traditionally been attributed to cholera, most probably contracted through drinking contaminated water several days earlier from the local river..."

While her certainly died of cholera contracted by drinking infected water, he equally certainly did not wander down to the river and dip a cup in. PiCo (talk) 21:02, 11 May 2015 (UTC)


Received word from the FA team that this article is listed for review. The only thing that seemed in question was the article's length. On one hand, I can see the team's point—compared to 76K bytes for Ludwig van Beethoven, the current length of 126K for Tchaikovsky might seem a bit much. On the other hand, considering the events and questions that surround Tchaikovsky's life, the length could to some degree be justified. Over the next few weeks, I will look over the article and see where we might give a comparable amount of material in fewer words. Please address any concerns here over this process as they arise and I will be glad to address them. Thank you in advance for your help.Jonyungk (talk) 21:22, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

I've re-edited the article to just under 84K bytes. All the basic information is still there. A lot of extraneous detail, which might better suit related articles rather than the main (general) one, went by the wayside and I've streamlined the writing on the whole to read better. Otherwise, for all intents and purposes, this is the same article in content and structure. I'll likely go through this one more time, after I've reviewed some other articles, but how things look now might be close to how the final edit will appear. If you have any questions or concerns, please post them here and I'll address them as soon as I can. Thanks again.Jonyungk (talk) 21:56, 13 September 2015 (UTC)

Album for the Young / album pour enfants op. 39[edit]

If useful I'll like to provide my interpretation and free/public recording of the 24 pieces of his album for the young as a additional weblink: Non commercial, I'm a studied musician and the interpretation is strictly according to his scores. Pianorob (talk) 16:55, 9 September 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

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N Archived sources still need to be checked

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 07:21, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Keller, 347.
  2. ^ Keller, 348.
  3. ^ Warrack, Symphonies, 11.
  4. ^ Keller, 346–7; Maes, 161.