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Tennessee ear for the classics
Written by Submitted   
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 6:54 PM

Those who know I was born and raised in the mountains of east Tennessee are surprised that my favorite music was composed by Russian Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), and my all-time favorite female singer is Metropolitan Opera great mezzo-soprano Rise Stevens (1913).

I was first exposed to Tchaikovsky’s music and Steven’s singing while in grade school.

I played trombone in the high school band although I was still in grade school, because I played the notes well although I didn’t know a B flat from a F sharp.

We played excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s fifth and sixth symphonies and I loved them.

I worked for my brother for $2.50 per day. I took a week’s pay to buy a 78 rpm record album of Tchaikovsky’s fifth symphony. My hillbilly buddies thought

I was nuts. I still have the album. I also like all of Tchaikovsky’s other works including his first piano concerto, 1812 Overture, Romeo and Juliet, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake etc. Tchaikovsky’s music was so great I figured that he wrote it after a love and lost romance with a beautiful woman and I was right.

He wanted to marry a beautiful soprano Desiree Artot, but her mother interfered and she married someone else. In spite of his problems and short comings he is still the greatest composer of them all with more and better compositions than all of the other greats during his era.

The odds are great that if you are listing to music from the classic era and it sounds pleasing to your ear it was composed by Pyotr “Peter” Tchaikovsky.

His works were truly great masterpieces that will endure forever. He will always be my number one favorite composer. 

Bill Baird is a Whitewater Township resident who writes a weekly column about old movies and Hollywood trivia.