In 1887, Tchaikovsky undertook his first foreign tour as a conductor, during which he met such notables as Brahms and Grieg. It was almost immediately after composing his Fifth Symphony
in 1888 that he began work on his second ballet, The Sleeping Beauty.
The work was given an elaborate premiere and was well received, but the public reaction did not meet the expectations of the composer, choreographer (Petipa) and designer-impresario (Vsevolozhsky), and it was to be some years before the work was recognized as one of the pinnacles of classical ballet. Tchaikovsky went on to compose the ballet The Nutcracker,
one of his most enduringly popular works despite its disappointing reception at its 1892 premiere.
Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony,
his most profoundly pessimistic work, was first performed October 28, 1893.
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