Thursday 27 December 2018

Review ~ Tchaikovsky:The Man Revealed by John Suchet

Elliot & Thompson
September 2018

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is one of the most successful composers that Russia has ever produced, but his path to success was not an easy one.

Listening to Tchaikovsky's music, and in particular, his composition for the ballet, Swan Lake, is always such a treat and although I am familiar with his work, and enjoy listening to it playing softly in the background either on Classic FM, or on Spotify, I didn't know much about the man behind the music. As always, this continuation of John Suchet's excellent biographies about the lives of some of the world's greatest composers, is a real delight to read and absorb.

Tchaikovsky:The Man Revealed is an absolute revelation, not just about the composer's musical genius, which the author writes about very knowledgeably, but also about the very troubled man behind the public persona. From Tchaikovsky's early childhood, the relationship he had with his parents and siblings and of his constant struggle with his sexuality, there is no doubt that Tchaikovsky was a deeply troubled soul, so often at odds with a world which didn't understand just what complex demons drove him to behave in the way he did. 

Beautifully written, John Suchet has again revealed the man behind the music in glorious detail, with a wonderful mixture of music and lifestyle, the biography flows in a very readable way. The prose is delightfully unfussy, and as explained in the prologue it doesn't shy away from revealing the sometimes more controversial aspects of Tchaikovsky's rather complicated personal life.

Over this festive period I have really enjoyed reading into this beautifully presented book, enjoying the comprehensive information which constantly reveals something new and fascinating about this enigmatic Russian composer.

John Suchet presents Classic FM's flagship morning programme. His informative style of presentation, coupled with a deep knowledge of classical music, has won a wide spectrum of new listeners to the station. Before turning to classical music, John was one of the UK's best known television newscasters, regularly presenting ITN's flagship News at Ten, as well as all other bulletins, over a period of nearly 20 years. John has been honoured for both roles.

Twitter @JohnSuchet1


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