The Heart of Tchaikovsky | National Geographic in Russia

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National Geographic Reporter Sergey Gordeev gives an inside look at the history behind famed Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky and how his legacy lives on today.

[MUSIC PLAYING] SERGEY GORDEEV: His melodies are unforgettable, his music magical. And over the past 150 years, his ballets, symphonies, and concertos have had magnetic power over audiences all over the world.



SERGEY GORDEEV: From "Swan Lake" to "The Nutcracker" to the "1812 Overture," no Russian composer has had greater influence on music than Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. This is the house where Tchaikovsky lived, outside of Moscow in the town of Klin, where he spent the last years of his life. Many of his masterpieces were written right here, including "The Nutcracker" and his sixth, and final, symphony. He played them on this very piano.

Tchaikovsky's music is instantly recognizable, but even the best music theorists can't agree on why.


- Not too bad-- "Swan Lake" on a piano. Denise Matsui is known around the world as Russia's most celebrated classical pianist.

SERGEY GORDEEV: Why does his music touch absolutely everyone?

- All music came straight from his heart, his soul. For example, [INAUDIBLE].


SERGEY GORDEEV: So that's the secret. The reason Tchaikovsky's music touches the very soul of anybody who listens is that it comes straight from his own soul. You have to listen to it, not with your mind, but with your heart.