E. F. Benson
Edward Frederic Benson was an English novelist, memoirist and short story writer. E. F. Benson was born at Wellington College in Berkshire, the fifth child of the headmaster, Edward White Benson, his wife born Mary Sidgwick. E. F. Benson was the younger brother of Arthur Christopher Benson, who wrote the words to "Land of Hope and Glory", Robert Hugh Benson, author of several novels and Roman Catholic apologetic works, Margaret Benson, an author and amateur Egyptologist. Two other siblings died young. Benson's parents had no grandchildren. Benson was educated at Temple Grove School at Marlborough College, where he wrote some of his earliest works and upon which he based his novel David Blaize, he continued his education at Cambridge. At Cambridge, he was a member of the Pitt Club, in life he became an honorary fellow of Magdalene College. At Cambridge he fell in love with Vincent Yorke. Benson wrote in his diary: "I feel mad about him just now... Ah, if only he knew, yet I think he does." Benson's first book published was Sketches From Marlborough.
He started his novel writing career with the fashionably controversial Dodo, an instant success, followed it with a variety of satire and romantic and supernatural melodrama. He repeated the success of Dodo, which featured a scathing description of composer and militant suffragette Ethel Smyth, with the same cast of characters a generation later: Dodo the Second, "a unique chronicle of the pre-1914 Bright Young Things" and Dodo Wonders, "a first-hand social history of the Great War in Mayfair and the Shires"; the Mapp and Lucia series, written late in his career, consists of six novels and two short stories. The novels are: Queen Lucia, Lucia in London, Miss Mapp and Lucia, Lucia's Progress and Trouble for Lucia; the short stories are "The Male Impersonator" and "Desirable Residences". Both appear in anthologies of Benson's short stories, the former is often appended to the end of the novel Miss Mapp; the last three novels were produced as a television series by London Weekend Television for the initiated Channel 4 during 1985–6 with the series title Mapp and Lucia and featuring Nigel Hawthorne, Geraldine McEwan and Prunella Scales.
During 2007, the television series was rerun by the British digital channel ITV3. A new 3-part adaptation written by Steve Pemberton was broadcast during three nights on BBC One. Benson was known as a writer of atmospheric and at times humorous or satirical ghost stories, which were first published in story magazines such as Pearson's Magazine or Hutchinson's Magazine, 20 of which were illustrated by Edmund Blampied; these "spook stories", as they were termed, were reprinted in collections by his principal publisher, Walter Hutchinson. His 1906 short story, "The Bus-Conductor", a fatal-crash premonition tale about a person haunted by a hearse driver, has been adapted several times, notably during 1944 and for a 1961 episode of The Twilight Zone; the catchphrase from the story, "Room for one more", created a legend, occurs in the 1986 Oingo Boingo song, "Dead Man's Party". Benson's story David Blaize and the Blue Door is a children's fantasy influenced by the work of Lewis Carroll. "Mr Tilly's Seance" is a witty and amusing story about a man flattened by a traction-engine who finds himself dead and conscious on the'other side'.
Other notable stories are the eerie "The Room in the Tower" and "Pirates". Benson is known for a series of biographies/autobiographies and memoirs, including one of Charlotte Brontë, his last book, delivered to his publisher ten days before his death, was an autobiography entitled Final Edition. H. P. Lovecraft spoke well of Benson's works in his essay "Supernatural Horror in Literature", most notably of his story "The Man Who Went Too Far". Further "Mapp and Lucia" books have been written by Tom Holt, Guy Fraser-Sampson, Ian Shepherd; the principal setting of four of the Mapp and Lucia books is a town named Tilling, recognizably based on Rye, East Sussex, where Benson lived for many years and served as mayor from 1934. Benson's home, Lamb House, served as the model for Mallards, Mapp's—- and Lucia's—- home in some of the Tilling series. There was a handsome "Garden Room" adjoining the street but it was destroyed by a bomb during the Second World War. Lamb House attracted writers: it was earlier the home of Henry James, of Rumer Godden.
He donated a church window of the main parish church in Rye, St Mary's, in memory of his brother, as well as providing a gift of a viewing platform overlooking the Town Salts. E. F. Benson was intensely discreet. At Cambridge he fell in love with several fellow students, including Vincent Yorke, father of the novelist Henry Yorke, confiding to his diary "I feel mad about him just now... Ah, if only he knew, yet I think he does." In life Benson sustained friendships with wide circle of gay men, shared a villa at Capri with John Ellingham Brooks. (Prior to the First World War the island was popular with wealthy
The March of the Women
"The March of the Women" is a song composed by Ethel Smyth in 1910, to words by Cicely Hamilton. It became the official anthem of the Women's Social and Political Union and more the anthem of the women's suffrage movement throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Activists sang it not only at rallies but in prison while they were on hunger strike. Smyth produced a number of different arrangements of the work. Ethel Smyth composed the song in 1910, as a unison song with optional piano accompaniment, with words by Cicely Hamilton. Smyth based the melody on a traditional tune she had heard in Italy, she dedicated the song to the WSPU. In January 1911, the WSPU's newspaper, Votes for Women, described the song as "at once a hymn and a call to battle". "The March of the Women" was first performed on 21 January 1911, by the Suffrage Choir, at a ceremony held on Pall Mall, London, to celebrate a release of activists from prison. Emmeline Pankhurst introduced the song as the WSPU's official anthem, replacing "The Women's Marseillaise".
The latter song was a setting of words by WSPU activist Florence Macaulay to the tune of La Marseillaise. On 23 March 1911 the song was performed at a rally in the Royal Albert Hall. Smyth was ceremonially presented with a baton by Emmeline Pankhurst, proceeded to conduct the whole gathering in singing it. Smyth was active in promoting the performance of the song throughout the WSPU's membership, it became the anthem of the women's suffrage movement throughout the United Kingdom. A famous rendering of it took place in 1912, at Holloway Prison, after many women activists were imprisoned as a result of a window-smashing campaign. Smyth's part in this had been to break the window of Lewis Harcourt, the Secretary of State for the Colonies; the conductor Thomas Beecham visited Smyth in prison and reported that he found the activists in the courtyard "...marching round it and singing lustily their war-chant while the composer, beaming approbation from an overlooking upper window, beat time in Bacchic frenzy with a toothbrush."While imprisoned in April 1913, Emmeline Pankhurst undertook a hunger strike which she did not expect to survive.
She told Smyth that at night she would feebly sing "The March of the Women" and another of Smyth's compositions, "Laggard Dawn". Smyth arranged the work several times. A version for choir and optional orchestra was included in Songs of Sunrise, a collection of three songs premiered on 1 April 1911 at the Queen's Hall, London; the other two songs in the collection were "Laggard Dawn" and "1910". An arrangement of "The March of the Women" for solo piano appeared in 1914 in King Albert's Book, a fund-raising publication for Belgian relief. On 6 March 1930, Smyth conducted a version of the march for military band, on the occasion of the unveiling of a statue to memorialize Emmeline Pankhurst in Victoria Tower Gardens; the ceremony was presided over by Stanley Baldwin, the performance was by the band of the Metropolitan Police. The tune of "The March of the Women" appears in the overture of Smyth's opera The Boatswain's Mate. List of compositions by Ethel Smyth Bennett, Jory. Crichton, Ronald, ed; the Memoirs of Ethel Smyth: Abridged and Introduced by Ronald Crichton, with a list of works by Jory Bennett.
Harmondsworth: Viking. ISBN 0-670-80655-2. Collis, Louise. Impetuous Heart: the Story of Ethel Smyth. London: W. Kimber. ISBN 978-0-7183-0543-7. Crawford, Elizabeth; the Women's Suffrage Movement: a Reference Guide, 1866–1928. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-23926-5. Fuller, Sophie. Pandora Guide to Women Composers. London: Pandora. ISBN 0-04-440897-8. Norris, Geoffrey. "Ethel Smyth from prison to the Proms". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 April 2011. Purvis, June. Emmeline Pankhurst: a Biography. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-23978-8. St John, Christopher. Ethel Smyth: a Biography. London: Longmans. "The March of the Women" lyrics
Louis-Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer. His output includes orchestral works such as the Symphonie fantastique and Harold in Italy, choral pieces including the Requiem and L'enfance du Christ, his three operas Benvenuto Cellini, Les Troyens and Béatrice et Bénédict, works of hybrid genres such as the "dramatic symphony" Roméo et Juliette and the "dramatic legend" La damnation de Faust; the elder son of a provincial doctor, Berlioz was expected to follow his father into medicine, he attended a Parisian medical college before defying his family by taking up music as a profession. His independence of mind and refusal to follow traditional rules and formulas put him at odds with the conservative musical establishment of Paris, he moderated his style sufficiently to win France's premier music prize, the Prix de Rome, in 1830 but he learned little from the academics of the Paris Conservatoire. Opinion was divided for many years between those who thought him an original genius and those who viewed his music as lacking in form and coherence.
At age 22 Berlioz fell in love with the Irish Shakespearean actress Harriet Smithson, he pursued her obsessively until she accepted him seven years later. Their marriage was happy at first but foundered. Harriet inspired his first major success, the Symphonie fantastique, in which an idealised depiction of her occurs throughout. Berlioz completed the first of which, Benvenuto Cellini, was an outright failure; the second, the huge epic Les Troyens, was so large in scale that it was never staged in its entirety during his lifetime. His last opera, Béatrice et Bénédict – based on Shakespeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing – was a success at its premiere but did not enter the regular operatic repertoire. Meeting only occasional success in France as a composer, Berlioz turned to conducting, in which he gained an international reputation, he was regarded in Germany and Russia both as a composer and as a conductor. To supplement his earnings he wrote musical journalism throughout much of his career.
Berlioz died in Paris at the age of 65. Berlioz was born on 11 December 1803, the eldest child of Louis Berlioz, a physician, his wife, Marie-Antoinette Joséphine, née Marmion, his birthplace was the family home in the commune of La Côte-Saint-André in the département of Isère, in south-eastern France. His parents had five more children. Berlioz's father, a respected local figure, was a progressively-minded doctor credited as the first European to practise and write about acupuncture, he was an agnostic with a liberal outlook. After attending a local school when he was about ten, Berlioz was educated at home by his father, he recalled in his Mémoires that he enjoyed geography books about travel, to which his mind would sometimes wander when he was supposed to be studying Latin. He studied philosophy, – because his father planned a medical career for him – anatomy. Music did not feature prominently in the young Berlioz's education, his father gave him basic instruction on the flageolet, he took flute and guitar lessons with local teachers.
He never studied the piano, throughout his life played haltingly at best. He contended that this was an advantage because it "saved me from the tyranny of keyboard habits, so dangerous to thought, from the lure of conventional harmonies". At the age of twelve Berlioz fell in love for the first time; the object of his affections was Estelle Dubœuf. He was teased for what was seen as a boyish crush, but something of his early passion for Estelle endured all his life, he poured some of his unrequited feelings into his early attempts at composition. Trying to master harmony, he read Rameau's Traité de l'harmonie, which proved incomprehensible to a novice, but Charles-Simon Catel's simpler treatise on the subject made it clearer to him, he wrote several chamber works as a youth, subsequently destroying the manuscripts, but one theme that remained in his mind reappeared as the A-flat second subject of the overture to Les francs-juges. In March 1821 Berlioz passed the baccalauréat examination at the University of Grenoble – it is not certain whether at the first or second attempt – and in late September, aged seventeen, he moved to Paris.
At his father's insistence he enrolled at the School of Medicine of the University of Paris. He had to fight hard to overcome his revulsion at dissecting bodies, but in deference to his father's wishes, he forced himself to continue his medical studies; the horrors of the medical college were mitigated thanks to an ample allowance from his father, which enabled him to take full advantage of the cultural, musical, life of Paris. Music did not at that time enjoy the prestige of literature in French culture, but Paris nonetheless possessed two major opera houses and the country's most important music library. Berlioz took advantage of them all. Within days of arriving in Paris he went to the Opéra, although the piece on offer was by a minor composer, the staging and the magnificent orchestral playing enchanted him, he went to other works at the Opéra-Comique.
Major general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general; the disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the confusing phenomenon whereby a lieutenant general outranks a major general while a major outranks a lieutenant. In the Commonwealth and the United States, it is a division commander's rank subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general. In the Commonwealth, major general is equivalent to the navy rank of rear admiral, in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air vice-marshal. In some countries, including much of Eastern Europe, major general is the lowest of the general officer ranks, with no brigadier-grade rank. In the old Austro-Hungarian Army, the major general was called a Generalmajor. Today's Austrian Federal Army still uses the same term. General de Brigada is the lowest rank of general officers in the Brazilian Army. A General de Brigada wears two-stars as this is the entry level for general officers in the Brazilian Army.
See Military ranks of Brazil and Brigadier for more information. In the Canadian Armed Forces, the rank of major-general is both a Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force rank equivalent to the Royal Canadian Navy's rank of rear-admiral. A major-general is the equivalent of a naval flag officer; the major-general rank is senior to the ranks of brigadier-general and commodore, junior to lieutenant-general and vice-admiral. Prior to 1968, the Air Force used the rank of air vice-marshal, instead; the rank insignia for a major-general in the Royal Canadian Air Force is a wide braid under a single narrow braid on the cuff, as well as two silver maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown. In the Canadian Army, the rank insignia is a wide braid on the cuff, as well as two gold maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown, it is worn on the shoulder straps of the service dress tunic, on slip-ons on other uniforms. On the visor of the service cap are two rows of gold oak leaves.
Major-generals are addressed as "general" and name, as are all general officers. Major-generals are entitled to staff cars. In the Estonian military, the major general rank is called kindralmajor; the Finnish military equivalent is kenraalimajuri in Finnish, generalmajor in Swedish and Danish. The French equivalent to the rank of major general is général de division. In the French military, major général is not a rank but an appointment conferred on some generals of général de corps d'armée rank, acting as head of staff of one of the armed forces; the major general assists the chief of staff of the French army with matters such as human resources and discipline, his role is analogous with the British Army position of Adjutant-General to the Forces. The position of major général can be considered the equivalent of a deputy chief of staff; the five major generals are: the Major General of the Armed Forces, head of the General Staff, the Major General of the Army, the Major General of the Navy, the Major General of the Gendarmerie, the Major General of the Air Force.
In the French Army, Major General is a position and the major general is of the rank of corps general. The French army had some sergent-majors généraux called sergents de bataille, whose task was to prepare the disposition of the army on the field before a battle; these sergents-majors généraux became a new rank, the maréchal de camp, the equivalent of the rank of major general. However, the term of major général was not forgotten and used to describe the appointment of armies chiefs of staff. One well-known French major général was Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier. In addition,maréchal de camp was renamed général de brigade in 1793; the rank was decided to correspond to brigadier general after WWⅡ. In Georgia, the rank major-general has one star as for security forces; the army, does not follow the traditional soviet model and uses the now more common two-star insignia. The German Army and Luftwaffe referred to the rank as Generalmajor until 1945. Prior to 1945, the rank of Generalleutnant was used to define a division commander, whereas Generalmajor was a brigade commander.
With the remilitarization of Germany in 1955 on West Germany's admission to NATO, the Heer adopted the rank structure of the U. S. with the authority of the three lower ranks being moved up one level, the rank of Brigadegeneral added below them. The rank of Generaloberst was no longer used; the Nationale Volksarmee of the German Democratic Republic continued the use Generalmajor, abbreviated as "GenMaj", as the lowest general officer rank until reunification in 1990. It was equivalent to Konteradmiral. In the Magyar Honvédség, the equivalent rank to major general is vezérőrnagy. In the Iranian army and air force, the ranks above colonel are sartip dovom, sarlashkar and arteshbod.
Emmeline Pankhurst was a British political activist and helper of the British suffragette movement who helped women win the right to vote. In 1999 Time named Pankhurst as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, stating "she shaped an idea of women for our time, she was criticised for her militant tactics, historians disagree about their effectiveness, but her work is recognised as a crucial element in achieving women's suffrage in the United Kingdom. Born in Moss Side, Manchester, to politically active parents, Pankhurst was introduced at the age of 14 to the women's suffrage movement, she founded and became involved with the Women's Franchise League, which advocated suffrage for both married and unmarried women. When that organisation broke apart, she tried to join the left-leaning Independent Labour Party through her friendship with socialist Keir Hardie but was refused membership by the local branch on account of her sex. While working as a Poor Law Guardian, she was shocked at the harsh conditions she encountered in Manchester's workhouses.
In 1903, Pankhurst founded the Women's Social and Political Union, an all-women suffrage advocacy organisation dedicated to "deeds, not words". The group identified as independent from – and in opposition to – political parties, it became known for physical confrontations: its members smashed windows and assaulted police officers. Pankhurst, her daughters, other WSPU activists received repeated prison sentences, where they staged hunger strikes to secure better conditions, were force-fed; as Pankhurst's eldest daughter Christabel took leadership of the WSPU, antagonism between the group and the government grew. The group adopted arson as a tactic, more moderate organisations spoke out against the Pankhurst family. In 1913 several prominent individuals left the WSPU, among them Pankhurst's younger daughters and Sylvia. Emmeline was so furious that she "gave a ticket, £20, a letter of introduction to a suffragette in Australia, insisted that she emigrate". Adela complied and the family rift was never healed.
Sylvia became a socialist. With the advent of the First World War and Christabel called an immediate halt to militant suffrage terrorism in support of the British government's stand against the "German Peril", they urged women to aid industrial production and encouraged young men to fight, becoming prominent figures in the white feather movement. In 1918, the Representation of the People Act granted votes to all men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30; this discrepancy was intended to ensure that men did not become minority voters as a consequence of the huge number of deaths suffered during the First World War. She transformed the WSPU machinery into the Women's Party, dedicated to promoting women's equality in public life. In her years, she became concerned with what she perceived as the menace posed by Bolshevism and joined the Conservative Party, she was selected as the Conservative candidate for Whitechapel and St Georges in 1927. She died on 14 June 1928, only weeks before the Conservative government's Representation of the People Act extended the vote to all women over 21 years of age on 2 July 1928.
She was commemorated two years with a statue in Victoria Tower Gardens, next to the Houses of Parliament. Emiline Goulden was born on 15 July 1858 in the Manchester suburb of Moss Side. Although her birth certificate says otherwise, she believed and claimed her birthday was a day earlier, on Bastille Day. Most biographies, including those written by her daughters, repeat this claim. Feeling a kinship with the female revolutionaries who stormed the Bastille, she said in 1908: "I have always thought that the fact that I was born on that day had some kind of influence over my life."The family into which she was born had been steeped in political agitation for generations. Her mother, Sophia was a Manx woman from the Isle of Man and counted among her ancestors men charged with social unrest and slander. In 1881 the Isle of Man was the first country to grant women the right to vote in national elections, her father, Robert Goulden, came from a modest Manchester merchant family with its own background of political activity.
His mother worked with the Anti-Corn Law League, his father was present at the Peterloo massacre, when cavalry charged and broke up a crowd demanding parliamentary reform. Their first son died at the age of two. Soon after her birth the family moved to Seedley in Pendleton on the outskirts of Salford, where her father had co-founded a small business. Goulden was active in local politics, serving for several years on the Salford Town Council, he was an enthusiastic supporter of dramatic organisations including the Manchester Athenaeum and the Dramatic Reading Society. He owned a theatre in Salford for several years, where he played the leads in several plays by William Shakespeare. Pankhurst absorbed an appreciation of drama and theatrics from her father, which she used in social activism; the Gouldens included their children in social activism. As part of the movement to end slavery in the US, Robert Goulden welcomed American abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher when he visited Manchester. Sophia Goulden used the novel Uncle Tom's Cabin – written by Beecher's sister Harriet Beecher Stowe – as a regular source of bedtime stories for their sons and daughters.
In her 1914 autobiography My Own Story, Pankhurst recalls visiting a bazaar at a young age to collect money for newly freed slaves in the United States. Emmeline began to read books w
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager; as of 2018, the company's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin. The Met was founded in 1880 as an alternative to the established Academy of Music opera house, debuted in 1883 in a new building on 39th and Broadway, it moved to the new Lincoln Center location in 1966. The Metropolitan Opera is the largest classical music organization in North America, it presents about 27 different operas each year from late September through May. The operas are presented in a rotating repertory schedule, with up to seven performances of four different works staged each week. Performances are given in the evening Monday through Saturday with a matinée on Saturday. Several operas are presented in new productions each season. Sometimes these are shared with other opera companies.
The rest of the year's operas are given in revivals of productions from previous seasons. The 2015–16 season comprised 227 performances of 25 operas; the operas in the Met's repertoire consist of a wide range of works, from 18th-century Baroque and 19th-century Bel canto to the Minimalism of the late 20th century. These operas are presented in staged productions that range in style from those with elaborate traditional decors to others that feature modern conceptual designs; the Met's performing company consists of a large symphony-sized orchestra, a chorus, children's choir, many supporting and leading solo singers. The company employs numerous free-lance dancers, actors and other performers throughout the season; the Met's roster of singers includes both international and American artists, some of whose careers have been developed through the Met's young artists programs. While many singers appear periodically as guests with the company, such as Renée Fleming and Plácido Domingo, long maintained a close association with the Met, appearing many times each season until they retired.
The Metropolitan Opera Company was founded in 1880 to create an alternative to New York's old established Academy of Music opera house. The subscribers to the Academy's limited number of private boxes represented the highest stratum in New York society. By 1880, these "old money" families were loath to admit New York's newly wealthy industrialists into their long-established social circle. Frustrated with being excluded, the Metropolitan Opera's founding subscribers determined to build a new opera house that would outshine the old Academy in every way. A group of 22 men assembled at Delmonico's restaurant on April 28, 1880, they established subscriptions for ownership in the new company. The new theater, built at 39th and Broadway, would include three tiers of private boxes in which the scions of New York's powerful new industrial families could display their wealth and establish their social prominence; the first Met subscribers included members of the Morgan and Vanderbilt families, all of whom had been excluded from the Academy.
The new Metropolitan Opera House opened on October 22, 1883, was an immediate success and artistically. The Academy of Music's opera season folded. In its early decades the Met did not produce the opera performances itself but hired prominent manager/impresarios to stage a season of opera at the new Metropolitan Opera House. Henry Abbey served as manager for the inaugural season, 1883–84, which opened with a performance of Charles Gounod's Faust starring the brilliant Swedish soprano Christina Nilsson. Abbey's company that first season featured an ensemble of artists led by sopranos Nilsson and Marcella Sembrich, they gave 150 performances of 20 different operas by Gounod, Bellini, Verdi, Mozart, Bizet and Ponchielli. All performances were sung in Italian and were conducted either by music director Auguste Vianesi or Cleofonte Campanini; the company performed not only in the new Manhattan opera house, but started a long tradition of touring throughout the country. In the winter and spring of 1884 the Met presented opera in theaters in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington D.
C. and Baltimore. Back in New York, the last night of the season featured a long gala performance to benefit Mr. Abbey; the special program consisted not only of various scenes from opera, but offered Mme. Sembrich playing the violin and the piano, as well as the famed stage actors Henry Irving and Ellen Terry in a scene from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice; the Metropolitan Opera began a long history of performing in Philadelphia during its first season, presenting its entire repertoire in the city during January and April 1884. The company's first Philadelphia performance was of Faust on January 14, 1884, at the Chestnut Street Opera House; the Met continued to perform annually in Philadelphia for nearly eighty years, taking the entire company to the city on selected Tuesday nights throughout the opera season. Performances were held at Philadelphia's Academy of Music, with the company presenting close to 900 performances in the city by 1961 when the Met's regular visits ceased. On April 26, 1910, the Met purchased the Philadelphia Opera House from Oscar Hammerstein I.
The company renamed the house the Metropolitan Opera House and performed all of their Philadelphia performances there unti
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, was a Russian composer of the romantic period, whose works are among the most popular music in the classical repertoire. He was the first Russian composer whose music made a lasting impression internationally, bolstered by his appearances as a guest conductor in Europe and the United States, he was honored in 1884 by Emperor Alexander III, awarded a lifetime pension. Although musically precocious, Tchaikovsky was educated for a career as a civil servant. There was scant opportunity for a musical career in Russia at that time and no system of public music education; when an opportunity for such an education arose, he entered the nascent Saint Petersburg Conservatory, from which he graduated in 1865. The formal Western-oriented teaching he received there set him apart from composers of the contemporary nationalist movement embodied by the Russian composers of The Five, with whom his professional relationship was mixed. Tchaikovsky's training set him on a path to reconcile what he had learned with the native musical practices to which he had been exposed from childhood.
From this reconciliation he forged a personal but unmistakably Russian style—a task that did not prove easy. The principles that governed melody and other fundamentals of Russian music ran counter to those that governed Western European music. Russian culture exhibited a split personality, with its native and adopted elements having drifted apart since the time of Peter the Great; this resulted in uncertainty among the intelligentsia about the country's national identity—an ambiguity mirrored in Tchaikovsky's career. Despite his many popular successes, Tchaikovsky's life was punctuated by personal crises and depression. Contributory factors included his early separation from his mother for boarding school followed by his mother's early death, the death of his close friend and colleague Nikolai Rubinstein, the collapse of the one enduring relationship of his adult life, his 13-year association with the wealthy widow Nadezhda von Meck, his patron though they never met each other, his homosexuality, which he kept private, has traditionally been considered a major factor, though some musicologists now downplay its importance.
Tchaikovsky's sudden death at the age of 53 is ascribed to cholera. While his music has remained popular among audiences, critical opinions were mixed; some Russians did not feel it was sufficiently representative of native musical values and expressed suspicion that Europeans accepted the music for its Western elements. In an apparent reinforcement of the latter claim, some Europeans lauded Tchaikovsky for offering music more substantive than base exoticism and said he transcended stereotypes of Russian classical music. Others dismissed Tchaikovsky's music as "lacking in elevated thought," according to longtime New York Times music critic Harold C. Schonberg, derided its formal workings as deficient because they did not stringently follow Western principles. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was born in Votkinsk, a small town in Vyatka Governorate in the Russian Empire, into a family with a long line of military service, his father, Ilya Petrovich Tchaikovsky, had served as a lieutenant colonel and engineer in the Department of Mines, would manage the Kamsko-Votkinsk Ironworks.
His grandfather, Pyotr Fedorovich Tchaikovsky, was born in the village of Mikolayivka, Poltava Gubernia, Russian Empire, served first as a physician's assistant in the army and as city governor of Glazov in Vyatka. His great-grandfather, a Ukrainian Cossack named Fyodor Chaika, distinguished himself under Peter the Great at the Battle of Poltava in 1709. Tchaikovsky's mother, Alexandra Andreyevna, was the second of Ilya's three wives, 18 years her husband's junior and French on her father's side. Both Ilya and Alexandra were trained in the arts, including music—a necessity as a posting to a remote area of Russia meant a need for entertainment, whether in private or at social gatherings. Of his six siblings, Tchaikovsky was close to his sister Alexandra and twin brothers Anatoly and Modest. Alexandra's marriage to Lev Davydov would produce seven children and lend Tchaikovsky the only real family life he would know as an adult during his years of wandering. One of those children, Vladimir Davydov, whom the composer would nickname'Bob', would become close to him.
In 1844, the family hired a 22-year-old French governess. Four-and-a-half-year-old Tchaikovsky was thought too young to study alongside his older brother Nikolai and a niece of the family, his insistence convinced Dürbach otherwise. By the age of six, he had become fluent in German. Tchaikovsky became attached to the young woman. Dürbach saved much of Tchaikovsky's work from this period, including his earliest known compositions, became a source of several childhood anecdotes. Tchaikovsky began piano lessons at age five. Precocious, within three years he had become as adept at reading sheet music as his te