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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off I want to preface this post by saying I rarely listen to Tchaikovsky, if ever. My knowledge of him ends at the Pathètique Symphony, 1812, Marche Slave, Violin Concerto (whichever the popular one is) and the Nutcracker i.e none of his deep cuts.

I see him referred to on the forum as a 2nd rate or flat out not very good composer who has a couple diamonds in the rough amongst a sea of forgettable mediocrity. Whats the rationale behind this opinion? Again, I dont listen to him and have no dog in this fight, but I am curious as to why a hkusehold name is referred to as such.
 

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I generally keep my iTunes on 'random mode', and Symphony No. 6 4th mvt came up yesterday. I started getting weepy, and I wasn't even listening that closely.

He's piled on by the Classical elitists because he's more of a tunesmith than a complexinarian. Go to a Tchaikovsky concert, and you'll come out humming the tunes.

He's like today's Andrew Lloyd Webber vs. a Sondheim.
 

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Some people probably take the view that you have to be groundbreakingly revolutionary to be in the esteemed first tier. If that is the criteria, then maybe Tchaikovsky possibly doesn't make the cut.... but then again his influence on ballet was pretty substantial.

By all other measures, I think Tchaikovsky is certainly top tier. He has a list of beloved works as long as my arm (Symphonies 5 & 6, Piano Concerto #1, Violin Concerto, Eugene Ongein, the three ballets, Piano Trio, Serenade for Strings, Souvenirs from Florence, String Quartet #1, the Seasons, Romeo & Juliet, 1812...). Sure, the thing that makes these works so great is probably Tchaikovsky's gift for melody and also (where applicable) orchestration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Because people like his work too much and find it too "accessible."

See also: Mendelssohn, J. Strauss, Rossini, Verdi, Liszt, John Williams.... even on occasion Beethoven and Mozart.
Ahh yes, of , if it's catchy or accessible of course it's inherently bad. How could anyone think otherwise? /s
 

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The general consensus, including on TC, is that Tchaikovsky is a top tier composer. The OP author is paying way too much attention to the naysayers. Also, keep in mind that some TC members love to dump on the most revered composers - makes them feel special; I just feel they look like dopes.

I feel a little awkward having said the above, because Tchaikovsky is not on my personal top-tier list. However, he's extremely popular with many "hit" works.
 

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Ahh yes, of , if it's catchy or accessible of course it's inherently bad. How could anyone think otherwise? /s
I'm not sure if you are being sarcastic or not, but if you don't know anyone who looks at anything "mainstream" and makes up their mind that they can NOT like it before hearing or seeing it, then you don't know many people. I have met quite a few of those types. Of course there are those who don't care for certain popular things, and there are those who truly are enamored with the avant-garde. However, there are certainly those who find it unsophisticated to like anything too "mainstream."

V
 

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Because he wasn't German. I still recall vividly from my college days in a Music History course where the text, the venerable A History of Western Music gave only one short, dismissive paragraph to the Russian. Yes, his music has its faults - but name a composer who is perfect. There isn't one. He was a supreme melodist. His use of harmony is brilliant - no wonder his text is still useful. His orchestration is stunning, influential and highly effective. He struggled with large scale form, but still wrote three of the most popular and loved symphonies of all time. If someone ever asks who is the most popular composer of all: Tchaikovsky. Thanks to 1812, Nutcracker and some other items, his music is well-known even to people who don't normally listen to classical music. When you consider the weak training he got in Russia in his youth, it's inspiring to realize what greatness he achieved. There are snobs though who think he's a second rate note spinner of bombastic, vulgar music. There are some conductors like Boulez, who refuse to conduct any of his output. Pianists who ditch the first piano concerto as soon as they can. What's wrong with music that people enjoy, is written in a completely professional manner, it fun as heck to play? Nothing. Tchaikovsky was one of the greatest composers of all time and should rank alongside Bach, Beethoven, Brahms in anyone's eyes. If he had written nothing else save The Sleeping Beauty, he'd be immortal.
 

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Tchaikovsky was not good at form. But really, he was a first-rate composer. I think some composers were jealous of Tchaikovsky's ability to captivate the public with his beautiful melodies, while their works were much less popular. Also, some classical music lovers are snooty and disdain what the average "Classic FM" types like.

If you haven't listened to Tchaikovsky's other symphonies and ballets, you're missing out.

Disclosure: I rarely listen to Tchaikovsky nowadays, but he is essential for those new to classical.
 
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