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Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il′yich free

  • Roland John Wiley

(b Kamsko-Votkinsk, Vyatka province, 25 April/May 7, 1840; d St Petersburg, 25 Oct/Nov 6, 1893). Russian composer. He was the first composer of a new Russian type, fully professional, who firmly assimilated traditions of Western European symphonic mastery; in a deeply original, personal and national style he united the symphonic thought of Beethoven and Schumann with the work of Glinka, and transformed Liszt’s and Berlioz’s achievements in depictive-programmatic music into matters of Shakespearian elevation and psychological import (Boris Asaf′yev).

1. Childhood and youth, 1840–60.

Pyotr Il′yich Tchaikovsky was the second son of Il′ya Petrovich Tchaikovsky, a mining engineer, and Aleksandra Andreyevna Tchaikovskaya, born Assier. He was part of a large family, of whom his sister Aleksandra, known as ‘Sasha’ (1842–91, Davïdova by marriage), and twin brothers Anatoly (1850–1915), a jurist, and Modest (1850–1916), a writer, were important in his life. Modest wrote The Life of Pyotr Il′yich Tchaikovsky (1901–03), a fundamental biography which combines extraordinary personal authority with a playwright’s flair for theatre and a brother’s reluctance to be indiscreet.

Our knowledge of Tchaikovsky’s childhood is based on reports of his governess Fanny Dürbach, a handful of letters, and lore collected by Modest. Critical to his first decade were his introduction to music and poetry, and the upheaval of his father’s search for a new job, which took the family to Moscow in October 1848, to St Petersburg a month later, and in June 1849 to Alapayevsk, a mining town even further distant than Votkinsk.

Dürbach noted Pyotr’s sensitivity to words, calling him ‘le petit Pouchkine’, and that at six he read in French and German. When she left the family in 1848, she kept Pyotr’s copybooks: except for two prayers in Russian, Tchaikovsky wrote in French, on secular and metaphysical topics precocious for any child and remarkable for a seven-year-old living in rural Russia at mid-century. Among other projects he wrote a poem, ‘The Heroine of France’, and began a history of Joan of Arc. Dürbach found the young Tchaikovsky endearing if easily offended from benign causes. She told the oft-quoted anecdotes: of Pyotr’s kissing the map of Russia and spitting on the rest of Europe except for France, which he covered with his hand; of his upset nerves after long improvisations at the piano; and of his sleeplessness when he could not rid his mind of music.

Modest claimed that Pyotr’s milieu stifled his talent; he indicted Dürbach as unmusical and questioned his parents’ musical culture. In fact the Tchaikovskys were musically literate, recognized Pyotr’s ability, if not what it was to become, and supported it at Votkinsk with a tutor and an orchestrion, a mechanical organ which his father purchased as a conversation piece. Pyotr attributed his worship of Mozart to ‘the sacred delight’ he felt as a child listening to excerpts from Don Giovanni on this instrument.

Aleksandra’s lament to Dürbach in 1848 that Pyotr was not what he had been at Votkinsk must be understood in context: in two months he had been uprooted from a happy home, lost a beloved teacher, survived a cholera outbreak and enrolled in the middle of term in a highly competitive school. It was winter, and on top of it all Pyotr was studying the piano. He soon fell ill. Aleksandra’s report from Alapayevsk that Pyotr was unrecognizable, lazy and vexatious also gives one pause, refuted by Pyotr’s own letters, earnest and lacking any hint of sickliness for a child who had just spent nine months recovering from the measles.

While Alapayevsk may have paled before Votkinsk – which had attracted lively commerce, occupied a beautiful setting and found the Tchaikovskys at the centre of a varied social life – two events lightened Pyotr’s 14 months in his new home: the birth of twin brothers in May 1850, ‘angels who have come down to earth’, and the arrival of a new governess, Anastasya Petrovna Petrova. She prepared Pyotr to enter school, for which he dedicated to her his first surviving music, the ‘Anastasya Waltz’, in 1854.

Three months after giving birth to the twins, Aleksandra took Pyotr to St Petersburg. He was to be placed in the Mining Corps, but this choice yielded to the School of Jurisprudence, where, too young to enter the school, he spent two years in a preparatory course. In Modest’s telling, Pyotr’s parting with his mother on this occasion was traumatic: at the Central Turnpike, he was forcibly wrested from his mother’s arms, and attempted to stop her carriage as its horses galloped away. The myth of heroic suffering pre-empts any mitigation: that the parent of a sensitive child might avoid farewells in the middle of a public thoroughfare, and that Pyotr was being left to cope alone with schooling similar to that in which he had fallen ill the year before.

Tchaikovsky attended the School of Jurisprudence from August 1852 until May 1859. Our knowledge of his stay comes from his own account, from school records, and from Modest, who solicited reminiscences from Pyotr’s classmates and who could speak about life there on his own authority. We know something of his subjects, grades, teachers and friends. Tchaikovsky’s classmates recalled him as capable, well-liked, absentminded, and compliant with rules in a rulebound institution except for smoking, to which he became addicted for life at the age of 14.

Modest’s remark that Pyotr’s stay at the school was an episode only obliquely influential on the principal direction of his life underestimates its significance. The school was the setting of Pyotr’s self-discovery, a point Modest ignores by dwelling exclusively on his brother’s professional formation. Yet there can be little doubt that several dozen boys cohabiting into adolescence will produce a variety of responses to the emergent libido. Tchaikovsky surely took his rites of passage, but nothing about them can be specified.

The death of Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya on 13/25 June 1854 is obscure. Modest took fewer words to describe her passing than her parting with Pyotr four years earlier, and omitted from The Life data which suggested that Pyotr was not present when his mother died, and lapsed into near madness when he found out. Nor did Modest explain why his principal source, a letter from Pyotr to Dürbach reporting the death, was written two and a half years later. In only three of more than 5000 extant letters did Pyotr revisit this topic, once on the 25th anniversary of his mother’s death, when he remarked that the cholera which took her life was ‘complicated by another disease’.

Aleksandra’s death brought changes in the family. Il′ya placed some of his children in boarding schools, and invited his brother to St Petersburg to join families under one roof, an arrangement that lasted until 1857. In the spring of 1858 Il′ya lost his savings in a bad investment and was forced, at 67, to find work again after two retirements. That autumn he was appointed director of the Technological Institute in St Petersburg.

Modest’s claim that Pyotr’s education coincided with the stagnation of his musical gift is disputable. The School of Jurisprudence sponsored concerts by first-rate musicians, provided instruction in singing and instrumental music and gave students access to concerts and opera in St Petersburg. Tchaikovsky studied choral singing there with Gavriil Lomakin, a recognized specialist; he was a soloist in important church services and precentor of the choir for a time. He also wrote literature, pondered the composition of an opera, Hyperbole (in 1854), and composed, in his later student years, his first surviving song, Moy geniy, moy angel, moy drug, (‘My Genius, My Angel, My Friend’), to words by Fet.

Outside the school Tchaikovsky’s musical training was encouraged by his maternal aunt, with whom he studied Don Giovanni and other operas, by lessons with the singing teacher Luigi Piccioli and with the piano virtuoso Rudolf Kündinger, who later admitted that he saw no greatness in Pyotr at the time. If musicians such as Lomakin and Kündinger saw nothing extraordinary in Tchaikovsky, neither did the composer’s classmates, embarrassed in retrospect at that judgment. Modest wrote that the thought of composing gave Pyotr no rest when he was at school, though he rarely spoke of it, and never recorded his improvisations.

Tchaikovsky graduated from the School of Jurisprudence on 29 May/10 June 1859 and was assigned to the Ministry of Justice five days later. It was no particular occasion: in Modest’s phrase, nothing began with it, and nothing ended. Based on the frequency of his promotions – three in eight months – Pyotr took his work seriously, though later he did not remember much of office life. Modest dubs as legend the story that during a conversation Pyotr chewed up an official document, making necessary its redrafting.

Work paled before play. Tchaikovsky’s social life after graduation flourished at the French theatre, ballet, Italian opera and amateur theatricals. His life at home changed when Sasha married Lev Davïdov in November 1860 and moved to Kamenka in the Ukraine, leaving Pyotr to mentor Anatoly and Modest. As translator to one of his father’s business associates, Tchaikovsky toured western Europe between July and September 1861. It was the first of eight such journeys before the extended wanderlust after his marriage. Whether spurred by work or family business, these trips showed the young civil servant avid for travel, and affirmed his ties with European culture.

One can only guess how Tchaikovsky the socialite would have ended up without the developments in music pedagogy taking shape around him. The Russian Musical Society was formed in 1859 as a concert-giving organization; it soon undertook to offer music classes to the general public, first given in the spring of 1860.

2. Study of music, 1861–5.

Tchaikovsky’s professional training in music began with a theory class in the autumn of 1861. Although he kept his official post, his desire to study music had become urgent. His first teacher was Nikolay Zaremba, a naturalized Pole with German pedagogy and an adherent of Beethoven’s late style. When denied a promotion in the civil service, Tchaikovsky applied in the summer of 1862 to enter the Russian Musical Society’s new ‘music school’. The St Petersburg Conservatory opened on 8/20 October 1862 – Russia’s 1000th birthday – and Tchaikovsky graduated from it at the end of 1865. We know of Tchaikovsky at the conservatory from the recollections of his classmates, especially Herman Laroche, whose accounts are canonic. Without Laroche and Fanny Dürbach, we would have virtually no eyewitness knowledge of Tchaikovsky before the age of 26.

In addition to theory and composition, Tchaikovsky studied the piano, flute and organ. His principal teacher was Anton Rubinstein, who was pleased with Tchaikovsky the student but later resisted acknowledging a compositional gift superior to his own. Tchaikovsky disdained Rubinstein the composer but yielded to his personality and learnt from him about discipline: sketch quickly to the end of a work, then score; work every day, and hold to music as a sacred calling.

The mystery of Tchaikovsky’s conservatory period is how he matured so quickly. In composition he progressed from student exercises to works of distinction: by graduation his Characteristic Dances (now lost) had been conducted by Johann Strauss (ii), and a string quartet movement, a concert overture, and his graduation cantata, to the words of Schiller’s An die Freude, had been heard in public. His remarkable sensitivity to words had also flourished, in his devotion to literature and love of theatre, his striving for elegant exposition (including poetry), and his translation of F.-A. Gevaert’s Traité général d’instrumentation, published just two years earlier. As a matter of philosophy, his conservatory compositions suggest that he had already decided to reconcile the controversy over national versus international which divided Russian music in his day. He would hold firmly to this principle while maintaining a respectful distance from both nationalists and composers of Western outlook.

The overture to A.N. Ostrovsky’s Groza (‘The Storm’), a work decried as immature, illustrates this reconciliation and posterity’s misapprehension of it. The music is sui generis, full of juxtaposed themes only selectively reprised. The model was not a Western formal pattern but Ostrovsky’s play itself. The theme associated with Katerina, the main character, is a folk lament, the unstated words of which portray a young woman anxious and indecisive, like Katerina herself, wandering the meadows and the swamps; after two statements her theme is suppressed, as Katerina loses her identity in the play. A trivial theme depicting her mother-in-law opens the allegro and returns in fugue, an artifice appropriate to that character’s nagging. A lyric theme representing the beauty of nature grows shorter as Ostrovsky’s references to nature diminish; and the storm itself, a metaphor and a stage effect in the play, opens and closes Tchaikovsky’s overture.

Mediating this Russian aspect of The Storm, and a noticeable presence in Tchaikovsky’s early music, is Beethoven. The breaks in flow, free pattern and love of surprise in The Storm echo Beethoven, as does the linkage of theatre overtures with the content of their dramas. Elsewhere, Tchaikovsky referred to the opening of Beethoven’s op.130 in his own B♭ major Quartet (bars 9–16 and 374–381). Typical of his allusions in being one or two notes offset from its source, he omitted this reference when he changed the quartet into the Scherzo à la russe for piano, as if abandoning the original medium rendered the allusion malapropos. The Piano Sonata in C♯ minor op.80 opens with a burlesqued reference to Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, followed by an allusion to the second of Schumann’s Kreisleriana (at bar 69). Unredeemed by pious modern performances, the movement spoofs nationalist advocacy of Russianness while using foreign music as a model.

The work closest to Beethoven topically, K radosti (‘To Joy’), owes nothing to Beethoven in its style. Tchaikovsky’s wish to avoid odious comparisons is understandable, assisted by an inelegant translation which maintained Schiller’s prosody while substituting his striving for sublimity with softer images relatable to Marian prayers, the verbal rhythms of which inform Tchaikovsky’s wordless first movement. More striking is the third movement (at bar 64) where the unaccompanied chorus, by coincidence or extraordinary historical awareness, mimics the style of the Italian madrigal.

Schumann inspired Tchaikovsky’s orchestration of the last two variations from the Symphonische Etüden and the theme of Tchaikovsky’s rhapsodic Variations in A minor for piano. Here we see the mature Tchaikovsky’s approach to that form: a clear connection with the theme for two or three variations, then character variations which bear little obvious resemblance to it.

Tchaikovsky left the conservatory a fully formed composer, in need of experience but not technique. A premonition of his immense gift caused Laroche to prophesy: ‘You are the greatest musical talent in present-day Russia … I see in you the greatest, or, better said, the sole hope of our musical future’.

3. First decade in Moscow, 1866–76.

In September 1865 Nikolay Rubinstein, Anton’s brother, came to St Petersburg to recruit a theory teacher for music classes in Moscow similar to those Anton had organized in St Petersburg. Tchaikovsky was offered the position, and with it a place to live in Nikolay’s quarters. He moved to Moscow in January 1866; in September the Moscow Conservatory opened. Important in the following decade were the securing of Tchaikovsky’s professional status, his adjustment to life in Moscow, his encounter with Balakirev and the nationalists, and, as a composer, his embrace of every important musical genre.

In Moscow Tchaikovsky made significant friends. First among them was Nikolay Rubinstein, who placed himself and the orchestra of the Moscow branch of the Russian Musical Society at the composer’s service. Tireless activist, magnificent pianist, beloved in Moscow, Rubinstein could also be despotic and unscrupulous. Among his lieutenants Pyotr Jürgenson was Tchaikovsky’s principal publisher and lifetime provider of financial support; Nikolay Kashkin, a conservatory professor whom Rubinstein urged to take up music criticism, was Tchaikovsky’s staunchest supporter in the press and the author of significant memoirs. Others included the intendant of the conservatory Konstantin Karl Albrecht, the architect Ivan Klimenko, and Tchaikovsky’s former classmates Herman Laroche and Nikolay Gubert (Hubert), who soon joined the conservatory staff as well.

In Moscow Tchaikovsky enjoyed social celebrity and lived in a manner befitting his youth. At the Artistic Circle, a club co-founded by Rubinstein, he met the élite of Muscovite literature and theatre. One friend (Klimenko), unfettered by the pieties of official biography, recalled Tchaikovsky as a prankster, lavishly greeting total strangers on the street, improvising jesting verses in a monastery, or dancing and singing the mazurka from Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar in a railway carriage, to the shock of some lady passengers.

Yet Tchaikovsky chafed at his living conditions and resented obstacles to composition. For five years he sought quiet elsewhere in the town to escape the pandemonium of Nikolay Rubinstein’s home, a veritable hotel and a meeting place for conservatory staff. Financial distress was perpetual, forcing him to supplement his income with translations and arrangements. He was diffident about teaching, which elicited complaints, amid mostly reverential testimony, about the extremity of his demands, his irritability when they were not met and his harsh treatment of women students. Classroom decorum notwithstanding, Tchaikovsky’s pedagogy extended to two harmony books, one adapted to Russian church music, and a translation of J.C. Lobe’s Katechismus der Musik.

Tchaikovsky’s intimate relations during this or any other period evade verification. Much has been supposed about his personal life, ranging, often injudiciously, across parameters of homosexuality versus amorous encounters with women, physical liaison versus emotional attachment, personal impulse versus social dictate, and life versus art. These factors played into Tchaikovsky’s courtship of Désirée Artôt, a diva performing in Moscow in 1868, for whom his intentions seemed to have been serious; he proposed, and if his friend de Lazari’s memoirs are accurate, he competed with a rival, received Artôt’s passionate declaration and chose names for his children. The affair was also reflected in his dedication to Artôt of the Romance op.5.

The expurgation of Tchaikovsky’s extant letters and the suppression of others, mostly addressed to Modest, who was homosexual, and Anatoly, who dealt with Pyotr’s marital problems, have stimulated conjecture about the composer’s sexuality ranging from reasonable inference to completely unfounded fantasy. His resulting reputation as a conflicted sociopath has merit, if at all, on the basis of correspondence from the time of his marriage, when his emotional upheaval was atypically acute. Amateurish criticism to the contrary, there is no warrant to assume, this period excepted, that Tchaikovsky’s sexuality ever deeply impaired his inspiration, or made his music idiosyncratically confessional or incapable of philosophical utterance.

Allowing that much remains to be learnt, Tchaikovsky’s letters as we have them suggest reasonable conclusions about his sexuality. First, he experienced no unbearable guilt over it, but took its negative social implications seriously. Of special concern was the threat of allusion to it in the press, and the impact this would have on his family. That prospect made him hypersensitive and moody, and may have pressured him to marry. Second, Tchaikovsky expressed the belief that he could function in a heterosexual union even if he had to lead a double life. His willingness to marry was prompted by his father, whom he wanted to please, and would satisfy not only social convention but also his own desire for a permanent home and his love of children and family. Third, the letters and diaries make unabashed if indirect reference to romantic activity. Claims made for these references, including evidence of sexual argot and of passionate encounter, far exceed the limits of the evidence. The first, by implying Tchaikovsky’s intent to conceal his sexuality, and the second, by implying that he was promiscuous, have prompted the belief that he suffered neurosis over this matter.

The facts are more quotidian. Tchaikovsky associated openly with the homosexuals in his circle, establishing professional connections and lifelong friendships with some of them, and sought out their company for extended periods. His mode of address was, on occasion, the very antithesis of concealment – the expression more of humour than of secret meaning. What else could explain Klimenko’s providing the prudish Modest with a letter in which Tchaikovsky referred to Klimenko, idiomatically feminizing his name, as the choicest of his harem, and to himself as sultan? The allusion is too brazen to be serious.

Tchaikovsky’s successes as a composer during this time were hard won and occasional; the chief works of his youth have vanished, are rarely performed, or survive in versions made later, though a number of short pieces achieved popularity. Middling success exacerbated the composer’s lifelong sensitivity to criticism. Laroche’s reviews of the tone poem Fatum and the opera Voyevoda led to a temporary break in their friendship, not least his remark that the music of Voyevoda bore the stamp of femininity. Nikolay Rubinstein was also a notorious critic, subjecting the composer to what one acquaintance termed irrational fits of rage. But Rubinstein’s views were private, and rarely barred performance. Vestiges of apprenticeship are apparent in Tchaikovsky’s early Moscow compositions, in his effort to clarify genre, in the revision or the re-use of earlier music and in his need for validation from St Petersburg, which had passed by 1870.

Two early concert overtures, in F major and C minor, point to a fundamental tension in Tchaikovsky’s non-programmatic works. His muse too generously provided themes which in striking effect or sheer beauty forestall development. They are ill at ease in structures based on hierarchies of key or theme, where individuality is tolerated provided it yields to the logic of the whole. In these overtures the musical ideas do not yield, but clash with the expectations of received form. His first work performed in Moscow, the Overture in F, is simply fulsome. Tchaikovsky burdens the music with elaboration, pointed by an introduction of 109 bars which overwhelms the sonata-allegro, and a coda of 172 bars almost mirthful in its inability to achieve closure. The tension between arresting beauty and trenchant discourse is perpetual in Tchaikovsky. It made him concede an inability to deal with form, and prompted Soviet analysis to find a virtue in his sonorities and contrasts, alternate rationales of structure which bow to the grand tradition while praising individuality. This tension diminishes in music based on a programme or in the suite, where closely argued discourse is not expected.

(i) Symphonies.

Tchaikovsky’s symphonies of any period are opulent, technically demanding essays in the relationship of language to form. Rich in musical substance, they also respond to Western expectations of integrated structure and coherence. These qualities mark their generic identity, as Tchaikovsky displays the rapprochement of Russian individuality with this proudest of Western genres. Aligning inspiration with genre explains the unusual features of the first three symphonies, his seeking critique from his former teachers, and the ease with which they discerned a tension between his music and their expectations of genre.

In the First Symphony, even the repeatedly revised standard version of 1874, the problem is clear: how to create unity in the whole by linking the outer movements, while indulging a penchant for beauty in the inner ones. Of these the Andante, framed by the ‘nature’ theme from The Storm delicately rescored, is an elaboration of the evocative main theme, and the Scherzo borrows from the Sonata in C♯ minor for piano, but with a new trio.

Signs of tension are immediately evident in the first movement. The atmospheric, ametric opening theme is self-contained, forcing the composer to add a countersubject in order to progress to the second subject group. This is achieved, as much else, more with repetition and rhetorical insistence than musical persuasion, extending this movement and the finale to extraordinary lengths. The second theme leads away from a fermata with an arabesque-like motif which disorientates the sonata-allegro exposition in its progress to the cadential close. These pauses in the exposition continue in the development and bring the music to a complete halt before the retransition. His devices at this point – clean break, then rebeginning with gradually rising chromatic lines – are replicated in the finale. That finale, as in later symphonies, is distinctive in form. In the First it is a hybrid of sonata and ritornello, the theme of the slow introduction returning in the second group, reprised in the middle in its initial guise, and again in a triumphant variant at the end of the movement.

The reluctance of Tchaikovsky’s themes to function conventionally within received patterns does not vitiate his goal to reconcile Russian and Western approaches. The bold outer movement linkage is Western, a strategy found in Schumann’s Fourth, a work he played ‘almost invariably’ in the evenings of the summer of 1866, and also in Brahms’s First. The sense of reconciliation is stronger in the finale than in the first movement because the intermovement connection is made manifest and because the principal theme is a Russian folksong. Even in the scherzo and trio, another Western pattern, a subtle folkish element based on the prosody of diminutives in Russian speech informs the main theme.

In the Second Symphony Tchaikovsky uses folksong in three of four movements. Most dazzling is the finale, where in the first key area a famous tune, ‘The Crane’, is built into architectural spans of the eloquence and gravity expected in a symphony by means of changing background and rich tapestries of counterpoint. To Tchaikovsky’s contemporaries this method worked, but the composer thought better of it, recomposing the first movement, rescoring the third, and making a large cut in the finale in 1879. He never used folksong so pervasively again.

The Third Symphony obscured the distinction between symphony and suite in its divertimento-like format and change of compositional strategy. Tchaikovsky chose poetically evocative themes (but no folksong), and introduced a distinctive concertante element in the middle movements, but no longer forced simple ideas into grand patterns, preferring a balance between theme and elaboration. This produced structures inimical to the perception of the music in classical forms, such as reprise patterns embedded within a sonata exposition or substituted for binary patterns in the dances. These alternative patterns anticipated his suites and made the Third unconventional from a Western point of view. Sensing a need for symphonic unity, he overlaid this piece with a latticework of closely related, non-polarized keys linking sections and movements, with understated modulatory procedures and subtle thematic connections. He might reprise with counterpoints taken from an earlier passage, or place thematic likenesses in unexpected locations. Scattered about the score, these references remind us that something being heard now has been heard before – somewhere. This strategy abandoned Western particulars of form while providing integrated connectivity in the whole. It was an innovative conception easily missed.

(ii) Programme music.

His programmatic works were fundamentally different. If ‘symphonic’ meant sweep and complexity to Tchaikovsky, ‘programmatic’ meant vividness, descriptive or emotional, which may pre-empt abstracting the philosophy or narrative from an external source. Tchaikovsky responded to this approach in different degrees: conformity to received patterns yields to ever more dazzling ideas simply juxtaposed in contrasting tableaux.

Tchaikovsky’s first tone poem, Fatum (1868), may forever resist assessment. He insisted that its programme was too personal to disclose, then consented to a friend’s adding an epigraph to concert programmes to explain the title before the friend had ever heard the piece. The music is curious: three contrasting themes, stated and reprised as a group, with a concluding peroration. To Tchaikovsky, for whom fate would always connote the cruel intercession of destiny into human affairs, the reasons for his choice of title in 1868 remain a matter for speculation. It could refer to the end of his engagement to Artôt.

Whatever its meaning, Fatum opened the door to extensive and fruitful contacts between Tchaikovsky and Balakirev, the head of the nationalist composers known as ‘The Mighty Handful’ based in St Petersburg. The first outcome of this friendship was the composition of Romeo and Juliet, for which Balakirev proposed a programme, followed by Burya (‘The Tempest’) in 1873, and the Manfred symphony in 1885.

Balakirev planned Romeo and Juliet in sonata-allegro, associating the introduction with Friar Laurence, the allegro first theme with the hostility of the Capulets and Montagues, the second theme with the lovers. Tchaikovsky’s music strikes a nice balance between characterization (the introduction decidedly so after revision) and the improvisation called for in a development, from which he later excised a fugue too learned for the programmatic sense. The revised ending, a funeral march based on the lovers’ theme, also improved on the first version, a reprise of Friar Laurence’s music from the introduction.

In The Tempest Tchaikovsky’s approach changed. The programme, written by art historian Vladimir Stasov (spokesman for ‘The Mighty Handful’), was much more pictorial and impressionistic than Balakirev’s; it does not specify key or form. Tchaikovsky responded accordingly, with a collage of sound pictures. His technical masterpiece of collage, and his extreme point in the direction of musical description, was Francesca da Rimini (1876).

The assumption that Tchaikovsky’s relationship to Balakirev was one of student to mentor is mediated by Tchaikovsky’s greater talent and by musical politics of the time. Nikolay Rubinstein had been cultivating ties with St Petersburg since Balakirev replaced Anton Rubinstein as director of the Russian Musical Society there. Together with Balakirev’s stature, this explains Tchaikovsky’s dedication of Fatum to Balakirev, and his otherwise inexplicable willingness to receive from him criticism far harsher than anything which caused the break with Laroche. A bow to Balakirev’s nationalism may be sensed in the Russian accents of Fatum – the audible similarity of its opening to that of Glinka’s Kamarinskaya and the trepak-like intonations of the third thematic group – to say nothing of Tchaikovsky’s seemingly childlike acquiescence to Balakirev’s instructions for Romeo and Juliet. Yet these factors are external. It is doubtful that by 1869 Tchaikovsky needed anybody’s advice on how to write music, nor does much in the works he produced under nationalist auspices show allegiance to their philosophy of composition or to Russian subject matter. Tchaikovsky’s revisions to Romeo and Juliet, cited as proof of his subordination to Balakirev, make that work more characteristic of his own voice, thus undermining Balakirev’s authority in the very process of compliance.

(iii) String quartets.

Tchaikovsky’s three string quartets, all written during this period, show him working in that medium as one to the manner born. They enjoyed a success in his lifetime that has waned since, excepting the Andante cantabile from the First, which helped establish Tchaikovsky’s name abroad, and won Tolstoy’s approbation when he heard it in 1876.

Of the First Quartet, composed in 1871 for an all-Tchaikovsky concert, Laroche rightly noted the union of beautiful music with perfect form. While the quartets need not have had models, the dearth of Russian precedents, Tchaikovsky’s embrace of the grand tradition, and references in the works themselves conspire to suggest influences. In the First Quartet a Schubertian lyrical expression disarms the polarity of key. The slow movement, based on a borrowed song, and the scherzo, with its sharply accented theme, have begun to suggest a reply to Schubert’s D minor String Quartet (‘Death and the Maiden’) when in the finale Tchaikovsky shifts references. The limpid themes, strategically placed tuttis, effortless facture, and the wilful disruption of conventional formal procedure – both the first area and the transition are repeated – bespeak a perfect understanding of Beethoven’s Quartets op.59.

Beethoven also lies at the heart of the Second Quartet, written between December 1873 and January 1874. It is obscure in precisely the ways that the First Quartet is pristine: in its formal articulation and cadence. The first movement introduction, written after most of the work, sets up this obscurity, which continues into the exposition by avoiding the tonic. Beethoven’s late manner is the audible source of Tchaikovsky’s approach, of presenting distinctive themes freed from clear key orientation. Tchaikovsky also makes melodic allusions to Beethoven in his scherzo theme (compare with the scherzo of Beethoven’s op.74), and the opening of his finale (compare the same location in Beethoven’s op.130).

The folkish aspects of the quartet, notably the second theme of the first movement, are a counterpoise to Beethoven. Modest’s remark linking the composition of the Second Quartet with svyatki, costumed neighbours who call during Christmastide and expect some cheer for their trouble, may provide a key to Tchaikovsky’s unusual expression: much about the Second, including its orchestral mannerisms, is nicely explained as a metaphor for tipsiness, the intensely serious slow movement excepted. If there is something of Russian Christmas about this music, it would help explain why the Second was so well received in Russia and so disregarded elsewhere, and why Tchaikovsky himself esteemed it so.

The striking features of the Third Quartet (1876) are attributable to its purpose as a memorial to the violinist Ferdinand Laub. A stylistic link to Beethoven could again be argued, but Tchaikovsky’s voice predominates in the lyric expansiveness of the first movement, which runs to over 600 bars, and in the graphically funereal second theme of the slow movement, which mimics the chorus and chanting of the priest at an Orthodox panikhida, or memorial service. This is the first unambiguous inspiration from a churchly source in Tchaikovsky’s music.

(iv) Piano music.

The secondary status accorded his works for solo piano is curious in light of their advocacy by Nikolay Rubinstein and Hans von Bülow. Many factors locate the short works which constitute most of the repertory: a distinction between salon and concert, expedients of commerce, the shadow of larger compositions in other media, a tendency to excerpt and Tchaikovsky’s open condescension about many of them. At the heart of the problem is that piano music did not fully engage Tchaikovsky’s creative imagination, and that he did not develop a distinctive idiom for the instrument, as Chopin and Liszt had.

These criticisms do not invalidate the attractions of this repertory, which Tchaikovsky’s contemporaries enjoyed and his publishers exploited with myriad arrangements. These include the ubiquitous ‘Chant sans paroles’ from op.2, the Souvenir de Hapsal, a town where the composer and Modest took refuge after holiday funds ran out in the summer of 1867. The Romance op.5, dedicated to Artôt, may refer to Artôt and Tchaikovsky in its principal themes, an operatic cantabile which echoes the lyric of Chopin’s nocturnes blatantly juxtaposed with a Russian dance. Laroche observed that the two did not go well together, an unwitting affirmation of the composer’s possible subtext, that the two persons did not go well together either. The Humoresque op.10 no.2, written in Nice in the winter of 1871–2, quotes a folktune of that locale in the middle section. The main theme – with its ambiguous tonic, saucy wrongnotedness, and metre-disorientating rhythms – was a natural choice for Stravinsky to appropriate for Le baiser de la fée. The theme and variations of op.19 is Tchaikovsky’s first piano composition to exceed the dimensions of a miniature. All six pieces of op.21 are based on the same melody; the tragic tone of the Marche funèbre, which quotes the Dies irae, is attributable to the death of Eduard Zak, a 19-year-old youth of whom the composer had grown fond.

(v) Concertante music.

A concern about characteristic writing for the solo instrument marks Tchaikovsky’s concertante works. He routinely solicited advice from virtuosos in this connection, with mixed results. When Nikolay Rubinstein exposed the flaws in the First Piano Concerto (on the Russian Christmas Eve, 1874) Tchaikovsky rebelled, changing little and rededicating that work to Bülow, who went on to play the first performance. When Fitzenhagen mutilated the solo part in the Variations on a Rococo Theme, Tchaikovsky acquiesced to added repeat signs, the relocation and in one instance the deletion of variations. These changes obscured the music’s relationship to the 18th century, which was less one of emulation than of pastiche, Tchaikovsky’s bow to Mozart’s era expressed in his own rhythmic and chordal language.

In the First Piano Concerto Tchaikovsky redefined concertante in light of the soloist-dominated concertos of Chopin and Ries, partly by using the orchestra to the full extent of its expressive capability and by writing extended passages where the piano accompanies it. Balancing this, the persistently demanding solo part (which may owe something to Henry Litolff’s concerto symphonique), together with unexpected cadenzas which offer perorations in mid-pattern, make pianistic idiom crucial to maintaining the polarity of expressive weight between soloist and orchestra. Tchaikovsky shares this polarity with Liszt, but whereas Liszt eases the demand for architectural weight by connecting short movements of brightly contrasting themes, Tchaikovsky deploys his forces at full capacity to a sonata-allegro structure, engaging in a much more involved musical argument. As had become his way by 1874, he individualized the classical pattern with striking materials (the song of blind Ukrainian singers, a café waltz and a folksong) and with the celebrated first-movement introduction, which literally drops out of the work, but not before leaving its mark – in the distinctive inclusion of introductions to subsequent themes, in its key, which defines a tonal realm for lyrical themes throughout the concerto, and in its subjective affinity with the grand reprise of the lyric theme of the finale.

Tchaikovsky’s concertante works for violin – the Sérénade mélancolique and the Valse-scherzo – are more modest, and resemble inner movements of larger works. Later, the Méditation from the Souvenir d’un lieu cher found its origin in that source, a rejected slow movement from the Violin Concerto.

(vi) Songs.

Our understanding of Tchaikovsky’s 103 songs is lodged between condescension in English-language criticism and praise in a much more lively Russian scholarship, which views them in a different frame of reference. That difference is between judging how music divines and elevates the meaning of a poem, and how the intonational properties of words are vivified by music. The Russian preoccupation with speech intonations is deep rooted and culturally based, yet prone to disregard in the West in manifestations less extreme than those of Dargomïzhsky and Musorgsky. Tchaikovsky also warrants consideration in this critical arena, even though he believed that people do not sing the same way they talk, and song accordingly should be allowed the occasional misaccent, to say nothing of a substantial lyric component. His belief espouses musical realism in its way.

As in other genres, Tchaikovsky brought Western and Russian together in the art song. While his range of topics is Schubertian, his prototypical song is modelled on Robert Schumann: a preference for ardent, often gloomy love lyrics in the first person; a willingness to modify the poet’s text, especially to reprise initial verses at the end; a tendency to involve the piano prominently in the expression of a song with introductions and postludes, extended in Tchaikovsky by rich textures and passionate outbursts during the vocal part. The Russian element lies in the basic conception – the urban romance of Glinka, Alyab′yev and others – which Tchaikovsky enriched and refined beyond any limits his predecessors might have imagined.

An appreciation of Tchaikovsky’s songs turns on these distinctions. He was surely aware of their recurrent sentiment and formal mannerism, and no less indifferent to the artistic consequences of repeating himself than Schubert was in writing hundreds of 16-bar lyrics identical in form. The Western concern with musical connotations of poetical meaning, sanctioned by a century of scrutinizing lieder, deflects attention from the interaction of prosody and musical motif, an issue about which Tchaikovsky, in later years, made his concern explicit. The dismissal of the urban romance as a degraded social and musical cliché denies the legitimacy of its heterogeneous origins in folk music, gypsy songs, social dances, mock Asian elements and operatic idioms. Yet this mix was Tchaikovsky’s inheritance, and he drew upon it unabashedly.

The tendency to anthologize Tchaikovsky’s songs has blunted investigation of his choice and grouping of poems, joining forces with our innocence of his motivations to obscure the possibility that groups of songs may originally have been published as coherent entities. Little has been said about the musical and textual integration of the songs within a group, and nothing about the possibility that the texts may be glosses on events in the composer’s life. The op.6 poems, set in the wake of the Artôt affair, read as if addressed to her. Similarly, the op.16 songs may be the composer’s response to the death of Eduard Zak, linked in this purpose to the piano pieces of op.21 by the quotation of the Dies irae in the last song of the group.

(vii) Stage works.

Tchaikovsky’s challenges as an opera composer were as intractable as his inability to deal with them. Problems of dramatic conception more than musical fertility, these challenges were exacerbated by practical difficulties early in his career. Production was limited to the state theatres, where Russian opera ranked below Italian and even below spoken drama, at the same time that prestige for Russian composers resided in opera above all other media. Good librettos eluded him despite the collaboration of talented Russian playwrights; nor were other sources fruitful, including ready-made and self-composed librettos, or commissioned adaptations from literati, including his brother Modest. Once his own social blunders were impediments to success, but Tchaikovsky’s most serious problem as an opera composer was to encourage his voracious muse onto the stage when it lacked dramatic sense. Rare was the time when he was not composing an opera or contemplating doing so, yet his enthusiasm, wedded to a distinctive wilfulness, almost always outstripped his theatrical instinct. That he was not fully aware of this deficiency is manifest in recurrent cycles of sustained enthusiasm followed by self-recrimination at blunders unnoticed in the heat of creation. It also finds expression in posterity’s selective response to his operas, which are rightly embraced for their beauty and characterization, but do not wrench the emotions so inevitably and with such shameless theatrical effect as, say, Puccini or Leoncavallo.

Tchaikovsky’s first opera, Voyevoda (1869, the word denotes a provincial governor), endured a hyperbole of misfortune. He was delighted when Ostrovsky agreed to make the libretto for him, but no collaboration ensued. Ostrovsky was bestowing favour, and it wore thin when in April of 1867 Tchaikovsky lost his draft and asked for a replacement with changes. The dramatist only half complied, leaving the composer to finish the text. In this effort, to say nothing of accepting Ostrovsky’s topic in the first place, Tchaikovsky’s operatic instincts failed. The story, in which the heroine is rescued by her lover from a threatening voyevoda, was bereft of its charm when the intonations of spoken language were removed, together with Russian character types who were operatically superfluous but provided vignettes essential to the play. The fable was generically indeterminate, swerving awkwardly between romantic comedy and serious drama. Any residual tension vanished at the end with the crudest deus ex machina in the arrival of the successor voyevoda to save the lovers from destruction.

The opera fared no better on stage, in part because of the composer’s neurotic reluctance to give offence. Rubinstein’s offer to conduct was refused, the work passing instead to an inexperienced staff musician; in rehearsal Tchaikovsky declined to enforce the merest requirements, deleting a large ensemble when singing two notes against three proved too much for the soloists. All five performances of the opera shared the stage with unrelated ballets. The first night brought the trappings of success from the audience, but ten days later in his review Laroche called the text a bad adaptation of a futile story and found the music too eclectic, effective in quiet moments but spoiled in energetic ones by loud orchestration masking feeble content. A decade later, writing to Nadezhda von Meck, Tchaikovsky affirmed Laroche’s critique, but by then he had burnt the score.

Tchaikovsky’s inability when pondering a scenario to curb his enthusiasm with a cold assessment of stageworthiness would be a continuing drawback. Taking counsel with no-one, he next decided to set a libretto twice removed from de la Motte Fouqué’s Undine. While Zhukovsky’s magnificent translation of Fouqué had earned a place in Russian letters, Count Sollogub’s adaptation of Zhukovsky, which Aleksey L′vov had composed indifferently in 1848, Tchaikovsky set apparently unchanged and untroubled by critical scrutiny. After working on the opera steadily through much of 1869, he sent the completed score to St Petersburg, where it was initially accepted for performance but never staged.

For Oprichnik (1870–74) – the title refers to a special class of hand-picked, ruthless personal agents of Ivan the Terrible – Tchaikovsky adapted his own libretto from Ivan Lazhechnikov’s play. At the heart of the scenario is the kind of personal conflict that motivates successful opera: the hero Andrey is torn between restoring his family honour and securing the love of Natal′ya, his enemy’s daughter. To achieve his goals Andrey must become an oprichnik, which no-one approves, but at the point of doing this he loses his resolve in a mire of ambivalence, first joining, then withdrawing when reproached by his mother. At his wedding to Natal′ya, a plot by his enemies brings Ivan the Terrible to demand seeing Natal′ya alone. Andrey refuses this social impropriety, is beheaded, and the opera ends.

While his story is no more disjointed than that of Verdi’s Il trovatore, with which it has points of contact, Tchaikovsky is no match for the Italian in creating powerful situations. Where Verdi would make much of the surreptitious meeting of Andrey and Natal′ya at the end of Act 1 (as did Lazhechnikov and Shakespeare, with whose Romeo Andrey is compared), Tchaikovsky allows his hero, having broken into Natal′ya’s garden, to go off to see his mother instead. Any parallel with Romeo and Juliet withers in default of Shakespearean intensity of characterization, precluded here by the competing historical component of the story, as the animosity between Andrey’s family and Natal′ya’s diminishes in their shared revulsion towards the oprichniki. Tchaikovsky also lacked Verdi’s sensitivity to the difference between his characters’ public and private utterances. Otello would never sing his love duet to Desdemona in a crowd, whereas Andrey never has a private moment, a dramatic flaw unjustified by recourse to French models and uncompensated in the touching monologues of Andrey’s mother or the nicely crafted folk scenes.

The music is inconsistent. Alongside expertly wrought ensembles in the last three acts and Natal′ya’s unexpectedly gorgeous arioso in Act 1, which anticipates Massenet in its exhilarating counterpoint of voice and horns, we find the same blustery tuttis that propelled the music of Voyevoda anchored to a handful of associative themes so dutiful in plying their trade as to stifle the least dramatic effect. While composers typically recycle music written earlier, and Tchaikovsky did so often, he allowed wilfulness and bad judgment to conspire here in transferring entire numbers from Voyevoda into Oprichnik, sometimes without altering the text. These borrowings mostly affect the first act, creating dramatic longueurs, though he revisited music from Fatum in the love duet of Act 4, and left intact a reference to Meyerbeer in Act 3 when Natal′ya is fleeing from her father (no.11 at bar 112ff; cf the Act 2 stretta of Les Huguenots).

Despite pathological condemnation from César Cui in a review, Oprichnik was successfully produced in four Russian cities. For his part Tchaikovsky acknowledged his critics, intervened to prevent the opera’s revival, and contemplated a revision for the rest of his life. As regards biography, Oprichnik marks a watershed in Tchaikovsky’s dealings with publishers. In 1872 he assigned generous but limited rights to V.V. Bessel if Bessel would publish Oprichnik and see to its production in St Petersburg. Two years later, needing money, he granted Bessel full rights to the opera in return for a sum that was never fully paid. Together with problems in connection with Romeo and Juliet and the Second Symphony, his experience with Bessel brought Tchaikovsky decisively over to Jürgenson.

For about a year before Oprichnik reached the stage Tchaikovsky was contemplating another opera. Kuznets Vakula (‘Vakula the Smith’, 1873–6), to a libretto by Yakov Polonsky adapted from Gogol, was the subject of a competition sponsored by the Russian Musical Society. He composed the opera in three months in the summer of 1874 and submitted the score to the competition committee in January 1875. This turned out, to his shock, to be seven months early. In his impatience to see Vakula produced, Tchaikovsky abandoned all discretion as an anonymous contestant, lobbying to have it produced outside the competition, allowing Nikolay Rubinstein to conduct the overture at a public concert months before he, as one of the judges, would actually adjudicate, and accepting a critique from Rimsky-Korsakov, another official judge, before the prize was awarded. Despite all this Tchaikovsky won, the committee sheepishly affirming that his was the only entry to meet their qualitative standard.

Polonsky’s libretto blends comedy, folk mores and whimsical fantasy. Solokha, the village witch, stirs up a storm with the devil on Christmas Eve. The storm befuddles the townsfolk, a number of whom show up at her door to pay court without knowing that others have come before; the main comic episode of the opera finds Solokha hiding each new suitor in a sack. Meanwhile Vakula, her son, is paying court to the beautiful if vain Oxana, who agrees to marry him if he will produce a pair of slippers belonging to the tsaritsa. Vakula tricks the devil into flying him to St Petersburg, where the slippers are obtained.

At first Vakula seemed to be a turning-point in Tchaikovsky’s operatic career. The popular tale, his growing reputation, the notoriety of the competition, and improvements over Oprichnik – notably lighter scoring and less text repetition – all pointed in a new direction. The music, moreover, is full of particular charms, including bright Ukrainian idioms, the stately polonaise of Act 3, and a vocally sensitive, dramatically apt part for Solokha. Yet many who attended the first performance were disappointed. Kashkin noted bewilderment in Polonsky that the music did not turn out as anticipated; the librettist expected a light opera in the buffa manner and was hearing a lyrical comedy, favouring tenderness over wit. With unsettling discernment, Laroche clarified the problem. Tchaikovsky, he wrote, could not transmit in music a libretto’s full measure of stage effect, which emerges more forcefully in a reading than in a production. The composer’s vigorous invention, more lyric than dramatic, more instrumental than vocal, constantly brings him to miscalculate, if sometimes only slightly, the right musical response to the dramatic moment. In Vakula the music is too warm for the coolness of the humour. Nevertheless, his raw talent is so far superior to others of his generation that it must be taken seriously, even if he is not fully successful in opera.

Two other works for the theatre round out Tchaikovsky’s first decade in Moscow. In 1873 he wrote incidental music for Ostrovsky’s Snegurochka (‘The Snow Maiden’), a variant of the Undine tale in which the daughter of Frost and Spring joins a human family, falls in love, becomes susceptible to the warmth of the sun and dies. The play was specially commissioned to employ the drama, opera and ballet companies of Moscow at a time when only the Bol′shoy Theatre was open. Tchaikovsky’s music, composed in some three weeks in early spring, is interesting for his recycling of music from the opera Undine, his first use of orchestral sound to describe magic settings, familiar from Shchelkunchik (‘The Nutcracker’), and his treatment of a dozen folksongs, possibly in collaboration with Ostrovsky, who was considered an authority on the subject. Either the composer’s haste or Ostrovsky’s intervention may be responsible for the wan impression of the whole, as if Tchaikovsky were suppressing his exuberance in deference to the playwright. The spectacle ran for six performances.

The other work was Lebedinoe ozero (‘Swan Lake’, 1875–6). Also commissioned from the Moscow theatre direction, also a variant of the Undine tale, and also drawing on Tchaikovsky’s opera Undine (for the famous love duet), it was his first ballet and his first theatre work to find a place in the canon. Apart from the commission, the origins of Swan Lake are mysterious. No author or literary forebear is identified in the printed libretto of 1877; no connection between the composer and balletmaster Julius Reisinger can be documented, though some discussion must have taken place, or else Tchaikovsky could not have known what to write. The multilated versions of his score staged in Moscow between 1877 and 1883 were the most serious consequences to date of Tchaikovsky’s compose-and-deliver approach to collaboration; henceforth he would work more closely with dramatists and balletmasters.

However altered by producers, including Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov in their landmark staging at St Petersburg in 1895, Tchaikovsky’s score redefined the place of music in classical ballet. Swan Lake betrayed his inexperience with the genre in its rhythmic complexity and formidable tuttis, but the touching story – of a swan queen who yields to a young prince’s first love entreaties – and sophisticated score were sure to please. The unity of his integrated key scheme may lie beyond immediate perception, but his mastery of the dansante – of devising melodies that match physical movement perfectly – his vivid orchestration, his effective associative themes, and his continuity of thought in music with frequent breaks were unprecedented.

(viii) Other works.

In all periods of his life Tchaikovsky wrote occasional pieces, most of which have disappeared. In his first decade these include a Festival Overture on the Danish national hymn (1866) to mark the wedding of the Russian heir apparent to Princess Dagmar of Denmark, a Serenade for Nikolay Rubinstein’s nameday (1872), cantatas in honour of the singer Osip Petrov (1875) and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Peter the Great (1872), and the ubiquitous Slavonic March (1876), commissioned by the Russian Musical Society for a Red Cross benefit concert to support Russian troops in the Balkans.

Between 1871 and 1875 Tchaikovsky was a music critic for two Moscow newspapers, producing 61 essays in all when a few earlier and later efforts are included. His motives for becoming a journalist are not clear. A gift for exposition and a need for money would have been sufficient reasons, though Kashkin cited Tchaikovsky’s discontent with the state of music criticism in Moscow, and a former student, Mikhail Ivanov, claimed that he did it less out of altruism than practicality: to offset the press’s hostility towards his own music, and (urged on by Rubinstein) to support the conservatory, which was beginning to make enemies.

Whatever his reason, Tchaikovsky’s criticism is variously important. It offers a detailed look at the concert and operatic life of Moscow; it supplements his views of important musicians set forth in letters; it finds him supporting Russian opera over Italian; and it shows him capable of personal vendetta, directed with special vehemence at César Cui. We better understand Cui’s demolition of Oprichnik in April 1874 knowing that in January Tchaikovsky had called him an ignorant, unprincipled critic and a composer of derivative operas and insignificant songs which passed their lives idly on the shelves of music stores.

Tchaikovsky’s first decade in Moscow was remarkable by any measure of professional accomplishment and public acceptance. From the beginning his music was frequently heard, with few delays (discounting those of staging) between composition and première. Within six months of his move to Moscow his Overture in F had been played there and in St Petersburg; in 13 months from December 1867 his dances from Voyevoda were performed four times; between 4/16 and 17/29 March 1870 he had four first performances, in three weeks of November 1875 he had three. Such exposure was a common occurrence. The efficacy of public concerts in spreading the composer’s fame was increased, from 1867, by the publication of songs and piano music to be played in the home. Some of these pieces achieved extraordinary popularity.

The role of colleagues in disseminating Tchaikovsky’s music was critical. Nikolay Rubinstein’s proselytizing as a pianist and conductor far outweighed the temporary falling-out between him and Tchaikovsky over the First Piano Concerto. He conducted the premières of the first four symphonies, the tone poems Fatum, Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Francesca da Rimini, the Slavonic March, as well as excerpts from operas. The worth of his advocacy was incalculable, to be matched in St Petersburg after his death by that of the conductor Eduard Nápravník and the Director of Theatres Ivan Vsevolozhsky. Because of it, the composer was established as a leading light in Russian music by the mid-1880s. Laudatory reviews by Kashkin and Laroche also helped establish Tchaikovsky’s reputation.

This decade was important for Tchaikovsky, finally, for more than the music he wrote. Marking those years, Laroche noted the change in musical mores that had occurred during this time. Before, composers had been totally overshadowed by virtuosos who played nonsense of their own invention. But a new consciousness now informed Russian audiences, who were interested not just in how something was played, but also what it was. Laroche did not attribute this change explicitly to Tchaikovsky; it is nevertheless clear that he was referring to his friend.

4. Marriage and its aftermath, 1877–85.

On 6/18 July 1877 Tchaikovsky married Antonina Ivanovna Milyukova. After his decision to study music this was the most important event in his life. In two months he and Antonina had separated, but they never divorced. The marriage produced a crisis in Tchaikovsky, and although its severest impact had passed in a year, the lingering effects – impaired creativity, exploration of new genres, aimless wanderlust – would last much longer.

Giving account of his brother’s marriage in The Life finds Modest Tchaikovsky at his least commendable. We learn that Pyotr received a letter from a distant acquaintance who now declared her love. He did not love her, but faced an ultimatum to marry her lest she take her own life. He agreed, without telling his colleagues or family in time to stop him. Two weeks after the wedding, fearing insanity, he escaped to Sasha’s estate in the Ukraine. He rejoined his wife in Moscow in September and within ten days fell ill, fleeing to St Petersburg where he suffered a nervous attack. He lay unconscious for about two weeks, whereupon Tchaikovsky’s doctor ordered a new life without Antonina.

Modest acknowledged that he could not be dispassionate on the topic of Pyotr’s marriage, and described it mostly by quoting letters of Pyotr himself. Recent research (Sokolov, D1994) disputes them both, claiming that the marriage was no accident, that Antonina was no stranger, that Tchaikovsky was not blackmailed, and that his medical emergencies were not spontaneous. His resolve to marry grew out of his concern that Modest was becoming too fond of his deaf-mute student Kolya Konradi. Together with the composer’s horror of sexual gossip, this concern brought him to proclaim the virtues of marriage as a corrective to natural inclinations in himself and Modest, expressed in famous letters from the autumn of 1876. Pyotr’s sexuality must also have fuelled the coming disaster, as he stressed to Antonina that the marriage be platonic. Yet the folly of this arrangement, the basis of notorious popular psychology in the West which disdains other causes, figures little in the new research. Tchaikovsky’s marriage came in the confluence of other developments.

The first was money. Even when his income was high Tchaikovsky overspent, an embarrassing fault which required Jürgenson frequently to send him additional funds. In 1877 his financial situation was acute, a point he raised in correspondence with Antonina, who was coming into an inheritance.

The second was teaching. Tchaikovsky was tethered to the conservatory, and frustrated by the time and energy teaching diverted from composition. While this had long been true, the estrangement implicit in keeping his marriage secret from his colleagues bespeaks a particular dissatisfaction at this time, possibly directed at Nikolay Rubinstein. While grateful to Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky could also recall his mockery of the Artôt affair, his delight when it failed, his capricious judgment of the First Piano Concerto, and his contention that Tchaikovsky should be free to become the glory of Russian music, provided he earned little enough to keep him on the faculty.

The third was inspiration. In memoirs published six months after Tchaikovsky’s death, Antonina stated that the cause of their separation was evil tongues claiming that marriage would dry up her husband’s creativity. Given Tchaikovsky’s perpetual sensitivity on this point, her claim rings true and was confirmed in his deep-seated anxieties during months of recuperation. While sexual orientation surely played a part in the crisis, to focus on it exclusively disregards the threat posed by loss of inspiration. Moreover, Antonina was aware of her husband’s sexuality, as she later assured him that he need not worry about her revealing it. For a time the marriage was a topic of family discussion, Sasha reproaching Pyotr for maltreating his wife. But soon his siblings closed ranks behind him, and a sanitized image of Tchaikovsky for posterity allowed Antonina to become, through generations of commentary, a monster.

The disruptions of 1877 brought fundamental changes in Tchaikovsky’s life. He had left the conservatory, though the break would not be official for another year. He had also become financially independent after Nadezhda von Meck, a recently widowed, extremely wealthy woman who had conceived an eccentric attachment for his music, began sending him a regular allowance in the autumn. The correspondence between them, which had begun in December 1876, now flowered into one of the great epistolary exchanges in Western music. Conducted over the next 14 years, it is valuable despite the onset of a businesslike tone after a first stage of passionate intensity and the agreement, less eccentric than it seems, that the correspondents never meet in person. In it Tchaikovsky recounted his life, assessed his compositions, and with the exception of some guarded topics, wrote to his ‘best friend’ a veritable diary.

(i) The Fourth Symphony and ‘Yevgeny Onegin’.

Between 2/14 October 1877, when he left Russia, and 25 February/8 March 1878, when he arrived in Clarens for an extended stay, Tchaikovsky travelled, mostly in Italy. He composed nothing new, but finished two works he had begun before his marriage, the Fourth Symphony and Yevgeny Onegin. Both respond to the events of 1877; both imply a sympathetic view of Antonina.

He had begun the Fourth Symphony around the beginning of May, and had offered the dedication to Meck. New in expression, the symphony nevertheless recalls earlier pieces: the gesturally related outer movements of the First Symphony, the prominent folksong finale of the Second, the intricate first-movement structure of the Third, and the dense textures and virtuoso scoring of Francesca da Rimini, extending in the Fourth to the famous pizzicatos of the Scherzo. The striking ‘fate’ theme, with its ominous fanfares and enharmonic play on A♭ and G♯, suggesting some covert alien factor, its intrusive return to blur the subsections of sonata form in the first movement and its dramatic restatement in the last, repeatedly hint at alarm and tragedy. A programme for the symphony that Tchaikovsky sent to Meck, surely not intended for the dissemination it has received, does little to dispel these connotations, and further obscures an important aspect of the work: the meaning of its finale.

That meaning resides in the ancient folksong Tchaikovsky used in this movement. ‘In the field a little birch tree stood’ was among the children’s songs he was editing at this time: in the springtime a crowd surrounded the tree, broke off twigs to make wreaths, then danced beneath its branches. Both words and setting are significant. The birch tree is solitary, and it is the image of a woman, not only in its verbal gender, but also graphically: its leaves and branches form a female ‘curly-haired one’. The wreaths are wedding wreaths, pointed in the refrain, ‘Ay, lyulli lyulli’, which derives from ‘Lel’, the name of the pagan god of love. The crowd that gathers is of unmarried women who perform a round dance and then throw their wreaths into the stream. Those whose wreaths float on the surface of the water will marry; those whose wreaths sink will not.

The relevance of this song to Antonina’s situation is plain. Tchaikovsky had received the first letter from her on about 4/16 April 1877, had sketched the first three movements of the Fourth by 3/15 May, and the finale by 27 May/8 June, a week after his first meeting with her and four days after he proposed. He was thinking of Antonina and the little birch tree in the same time period.

The relationship of Yevgeny Onegin to Tchaikovsky’s courtship is not in doubt: he was already corresponding with Antonina when the idea of writing Onegin caught fire. The striking forecast Pushkin’s poem makes of Tchaikovsky’s life – Onegin the worldly young man spurning a girl who declares her love in a letter – tends to obscure other topical issues the poet raised, such as the death of inspiration when Lensky is shot and the brutality of social convention. But Tchaikovsky’s alterations, for which Pushkin gave little or no cue, bring the biographical relevance of the opera into focus. These include an invocation to the muse in the opening duet of Tatyana and Olga, placed with magnificent nonchalance in the background of Madame Larina’s chatter with the nurse; giving voice to Triquet and Prince Gremin, who extol Tatyana as their inspiration; and investing the folk with prophecy, when peasants returning from the harvest sing of an attractive young lad with a cudgel crossing a bridge and calling for an innocent maiden on the other side.

One passage from the Letter Scene warrants special attention. Tatyana’s striking question, ‘Are you my guardian angel or an insidious tempter?’, is set off by its own orchestral introduction, then acts as a melodic refrain for the remainder of the scene. Expressed as rhythm, the same line fits Lensky’s famous aria in Act 2, ‘Where have you fled, my springtime’s golden days?’. This likeness confirms the affinity between Tatyana and Lensky, who should have fallen in love with each other but did not, and marks each character’s awareness of the coming of death – Lensky’s physically, Tatyana’s figuratively. Given Tchaikovsky’s sensitivity to words, verbal rhythm can be as important an allusion as melody. This rhythm is a special case because, after the initial downbeat, it fits the prosody of a line from the Orthodox memorial service, ‘With the saints have rest’ (ex.1 ). Everything in the lives of Lensky and Tatyana has brought them to a critical point, represented by the downbeat, after which the rhythm fits both Pushkin’s actual words and this covert echo of the panikhida. Tchaikovsky, who composed the Letter Scene sometime before 6/18 June 1877, had proposed to Antonina on 23 May/4 June. The parallels between life and art seem more than random.

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il′yich 4. Marriage and its aftermath, 1877–85. (i) The Fourth Symphony and ‘Yevgeny Onegin’.: Ex.1

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Be these interpretations as they may, Onegin represents an advance over Vakula in all respects. The characterization is deeper and more sensitive, the contrast of mores brighter – between country and city, and between ancient and modern in the scene with Tatyana and her nurse. A new vividness informs Tchaikovsky’s animation of the libretto, in the external brilliance of the dance sequences and the subtle depiction of the change of season. The lesson Tchaikovsky had learnt was to eschew trumped up theatricality. There is neither moral nor coup de théâtre nor idle posturing in Onegin. The opera offers no more than what it is, and it does not disappoint.

In February 1878 Tchaikovsky wrote to Meck of his satisfaction with the symphony and the opera, asserting that he had taken significant steps forward. But the man who took up new composition again after this was psychically wounded. That month he described to Anatoly the dissociative feeling of being a different person from the Pyotr Il′yich who had suffered the events of 1877, and who now pressed out of himself ‘weak and rotten little themelets’, having to ponder every bar. The manifestations of his wound were not so much in productivity as in a loss of deep musical sense and fertility of invention. As a palliative he took refuge in the suite, or in bravura, or in short pieces where texts or titles provided stimulation and coherence. At the same time new elements entered his thinking to mark the divide before and after 1877. Remembrance, belief and fatalism are henceforth more prominent in his music than before.

No sooner had Tchaikovsky announced to Jürgenson his intention to write some children’s pieces and a setting of the Liturgy than he began two ambitious works which laid bare his impairment: the Piano Sonata op.37 and the Violin Concerto.

The concerto opens with a movement based on two happily conceived melodies which submit to effective elaboration. Here Tchaikovsky may have been inspired by the company of violinist Iosif Kotek, a former student of whom he had grown fond, who had served as intermediary between him and Meck at the outset of their relationship, and who now played through the concerto as Tchaikovsky wrote it. The point of the movement is the elaboration of these melodies, the lack of trenchant discourse, amid laboured drives to cadence and a solo cadenza placed à la Mendelssohn at the end of the development, being masked by the continuous bravura of the solo part. Mendelssohn comes to mind again in the slow movement, whose introduction forestalls any hint of the principal melody, making the effect of the Canzonetta theme a complete surprise. After a long introduction the dashing finale, a rondo with Slavonic verve, is interrupted in its headlong rush only in the middle section. Here, without warning, Tchaikovsky invokes Tatyana’s panikhida rhythm in the same instrument (the oboe) that he announced it in the opera. In this totally dissimilar context, it is a gesture of remembrance.

Remembrance of a more unflattering kind is implicit in the Piano Sonata. In contrast to the Violin Concerto its thematic materials are inert and undistinguished, marked by uninventive, possibly unintended allusions to other composers. Of these there is an odd collection: Meyerbeer, Tchaikovsky himself, the Dies irae, and perhaps most importantly, Schumann, whose Sonata in F♯ minor may be the source not just of allusion (cf the opening of its first movement with bar 18 of the Sonata), but also of the rondo-like mosaic of sections which constitutes the structure. This is Tchaikovsky’s grandest and most derided composition for piano, marked by sterile note-spinning, yet requiring a technique so commanding as to feign artistic merit.

In contrast, the Album pour enfants op.39 is an unheralded success. Whereas Schumann’s influence in the Piano Sonata was noticeable but unacknowledged, in the Album pour enfants it is explicit but unjustified. The audience for Schumann’s Album für die Jugend is not clear, as the pieces are tedious and repetitive, their technical demands unsuitable for children. Tchaikovsky’s music is altogether more congenial, blending the perfect reckoning of rhythm, texture, hand position and fingering with a kinship of title and musical content to delight young players. He wrote the pieces at Kamenka and dedicated them to his seven-year-old nephew Bob Davïdov, to whom he would later dedicate the Sixth Symphony. Hovering behind the inspiration of setting, dedicatee and possibly Mme de Ségur’s Les malheurs de Sophie, given the composer’s recuperative state at the time, is remembrance – of Votkinsk, Dürbach and his own childhood routine, mimicked in the titles and grouping of these pieces into a diurnal cycle.

The Six Romances op.38, composed between February and July 1878, constitute the composer’s occasional diary. The first to be composed, Lyubov′ mertvetsa (‘The Love of a Dead Man’), his only setting of Lermontov, is a gloss on Tchaikovsky’s present situation of still feeling human passion from which ‘death’ did not release him. Pimpinella was copied from the performance of an Italian street singer, a postcard from his Italian journey. To bïlo ranneyu vesnoy (‘It was in Early Spring’) and O, esli b tï mogla (‘O, If Only you Could’) are both love songs on the surface, but the first ends with an apostrophe to remembrance and the second juxtaposes present sorrow with past happiness. Serenada Don-Zhuana (‘Don Juan’s Serenade’) is about insanity; its terrifying aspect, explicit in the sanguine text, enhanced by Tchaikovsky’s unsettling melody in the right hand and the vocal swagger of an idiomatic performance, conveys danger and irrational violence.

Hints of controversy surround Tchaikovsky’s sacred music, almost all of which dates from this period: the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom op.41 (1878), the Vesper Service op.52 (1881) and the Nine Sacred Pieces (1884–5). It is in part a controversy over motivation, and why Tchaikovsky took up sacred art in the first place. Recent tragedy is reason enough in 1878 for him to ponder his belief, though he also held St John’s liturgical text in high regard and claimed that Orthodox music needed reform, to be purged of Italianisms introduced in the 18th century. The express wish of Aleksandr III motivated some of the Nine Sacred Pieces, yet Tchaikovsky’s detractors still faulted his doctrinal pedigree, alleging secularism, scepticism, even atheism.

Legal controversy surrounded the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. Jürgenson published the music after it passed the ecclesiastical censor, whereupon Nikolay Bakhmetev, Director of the Imperial Court Chapel, invoking that institution’s right to approve any sacred music published in Russia, confiscated some 140 copies of the print because Jürgenson had not secured his approval. Jürgenson brought suit, disputing the Chapel’s privilege, and ultimately prevailed in a decision whose effect was a resurgence in the composition of music for the Orthodox Church.

Tchaikovsky’s sacred music is revered today, but some of his contemporaries faulted its prosody, harmonization and devices thought to be Western. Its predominantly homophonic textures and tendency to frequent, direct, joyful proclamation have no source in European models. Its occasional imitation or striking chord progression, which appear to refute his reformist ambitions, may be rooted in Glinka’s conception of Orthodox style as fundamentally chordal with occasional artifice. When writing the Liturgy, a free composition, Tchaikovsky’s effort to revive his recently foundering muse may have affected his commitment to sobriety of style, producing distinctive harmonies and textures. These could be attributed to individual creativity irreverent of the text. Similarly, his use of regular metre in the Liturgy (abandoned in the Vesper Service, which comprised settings of particular chants) may have upset the expected speechlike prosody of traditional choral chanting. Yet Tchaikovsky’s sacred style also had its champions, and in time it became a model for other composers.

(ii) The break with Moscow.

Tchaikovsky left western Europe for Kamenka on 9/21 April 1878, worked on these pieces for a month, then travelled during the summer, briefly to Moscow, then to friends and relatives. Unlike earlier summer holidays, which produced big works such as Vakula and Swan Lake, this one brought forth only bits and pieces. Rubinstein reproached him for withdrawing his services to the World Exhibition in Paris (where at summer’s end he would perform Tchaikovsky’s music), while Anatoly devised a complex settlement with Antonina – before she vanished for a time, and with her the best chance Tchaikovsky ever had for a divorce.

As autumn approached he was fretful about returning to work. Writing to Meck from 4/16 to 13/25 September Tchaikovsky made a litany of complaints which persuaded both of them that he must give up teaching. He must live in the country or abroad; the newspapers were attacking Rubinstein and amorous affairs between professors and students at the conservatory, including unprintable ones; even passengers in Tchaikovsky’s train were gossiping about his private life. But most of all he craved freedom – a resonant word which Meck affirmed in her response – and predicted, if it be denied, the onset of misanthropy and an aversion to composition. Ostensibly sincere, his complaints seem designed to assure Meck’s continued support. When it came he moved decisively, unwilling to stay, as he had agreed, until the end of term. Back from Paris, Rubinstein toasted Tchaikovsky for the prestige he brought to the Moscow Conservatory. But it was too late: Tchaikovsky’s last day as a professor was 6/18 October 1878.

The nomadic life for which he had expressed a desire was now his. Some 20 months of the next six years he spent outside Russia, and easily as much wandering within its borders, alighting from place to place for a few weeks at a time. That his departure from the conservatory eased the irritations of obligatory labour is beyond question; that freedom made him a better composer is not so clear. The fluency of inspiration he had enjoyed in his youth would henceforth revisit but occasionally. The disruptions of travel were partly to blame, as were family emergencies not of his making. But freedom and travel did not manifestly hasten his recuperation. In fact, Tchaikovsky’s new freedom broaches the hackneyed question of whether great art is linked with anguish in the artist. In light of Onegin and the Fourth Symphony this would seem to be true. Upon reflection it becomes a glib and problematical assumption.

Some things stayed the same in Tchaikovsky’s compositions between 1878 and 1885. In opera he continued to cope with a theatrical instinct which sanctioned fundamental lapses in dramatic sense and featured musical externals ever more expert and lavish. His solo songs, notably those of op.47 (1880), continued to offer commentaries on his life – in this case a painful encounter with Antonina – while projecting a nonchalant public face. His programmatic festival overture 1812 (1880) and the Manfred symphony (1885) continued to juxtapose music of great beauty with noise and fray. Of these, 1812, apart from the cannon which make it popular and festive, warrants attention for quoting a liturgical melody (the opening theme) and the national anthems of Russia and France. The brassy statements of ‘La Marseillaise’ are another mask for personal memory, echoing Litolff’s Ouvertüre zu Maximilian Robespierre, a favourite work of Tchaikovsky when he was a student.

The focus of new composition in these years was the orchestral suite, which became a musical commentary on the composer’s freedom. In April 1884, writing to Meck, Tchaikovsky affirmed that his sympathy for the suite originated in the freedom it offered him from the constraints of tradition, convention and rules. As a personal expression, the suite may represent an artistic rebellion comparable to Tchaikovsky’s rebellion against the conservatory, or simply the admission that he had yet to recover from the shocks of 1877. A certain motleyness and the eschewal of personal confession mark the suites and provide a point of departure for critique. Yet the expectation that Tchaikovsky’s music always engaged the emotions is itself biassed, disallowing him any penchant for experimentation or for expressing the beautiful, the charming, or the piquant without angst.

In the First Suite Tchaikovsky seemed to be groping to define the genre. The controlling conception is not clear, as the music projects connectivity and discourse in certain movements, and beauty for its own sake in others. In the opening movement, an ‘Introduzione e fuga’ linked by its title to the Sixth Suite (1871) of Franz Lachner, Tchaikovsky separates the introduction from the fugue proper by a fugal exposition whose motif is then combined with the opening theme. This anticipation of the fugue and the integration of themes suggest purely musical discourse, and establish a premise early in the suite in conflict with those discrete movements whose appeal is more to charm than logic. His quotation of the fugue subject at the end of the last movement, a Schumannesque gesture of unification which operates above or across the separate movements, compounds the confusion. The abandoned titles of the fourth movement, ‘March of the Lilliputians’ and the Gavotte, ‘Dance of the Giants’, suggest initial associations of grotesquerie with the new genre. Brass fanfares reminiscent of the motto of the Fourth Symphony in the introduction and the scherzo may be fatalistic personal touches.

For all this mix of features, a new genre was emerging in the distinctive concertante elements, contrasts between the movements, simple formal patterns, the exploitation of the characteristic, and the emphasis on what Russians would call prelest′ – the charming, the pleasing – not least in capricious rhythms.

Tchaikovsky’s experiment with freedom continued in his next instrumental work, the Second Piano Concerto (1879). Its expansive first movement, with tripartite exposition and lengthy cadenzas, is followed by a striking Andante. Here the piano is joined by solo violin and cello to form a concertino grouping in the manner of a concerto grosso. A rondo concludes the work.

The dedication of the Second Concerto to Nikolay Rubinstein betrayed powerful unspoken sentiments. In it Tchaikovsky seemed to make amends for his abrupt departure from the conservatory the year before, to thank his former colleague for his long advocacy, and to effect a true reconciliation after their differences over the First Piano Concerto in 1874. Homage to Rubinstein, whose interpretation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony was considered superior to those of Hector Berlioz and Richard Wagner, may have moved Tchaikovsky to make his concerto an answer to Beethoven. A slow movement unique in conception and eloquence heads the list of reconceived likenesses with Beethoven’s Concerto in G, which extend in the first movement to subsidiary themes in the same keys as Beethoven, a prominent new theme in the development, and the unexpected importance of C major (in Beethoven as the ‘wrong’ initial key of the finale, in Tchaikovsky for its emphasis in the first movement). Little doubt of his purpose remains at the close of the slow movement when Tchaikovsky refers openly to the analogous location in Beethoven’s Fourth (at bar 286ff). He affirmed his esteem for Rubinstein by rejecting Ziloti’s later attempts to mutilate the slow movement. The concertino had to stay, as it was somehow associated with Rubinstein: when he died in March 1881, about a month after the score of the concerto was published, Tchaikovsky apostrophized his memory in a trio for precisely the instruments of this concertino.

Before Rubinstein’s death Tchaikovsky had reverted to order and limitation in the Serenade for Strings (1880). A string quintet in texture, it neutralized orchestral colour as an element of form. In contrast to the freely associative coherence of the First Suite, the Serenade holds together by as closely knit a motivic network as Tchaikovsky ever wrote, based on the descending melodic tetrachord at the beginning and on ascending scales, first at bar eight of the Sonatina, which are transformed in the waltz theme of the second movement and the introduction of the third. He also invokes now familiar strategies: the Serenade is an essay in Western/Russian rapprochement which favours Russian at the end, in that the Pezzo in forma di sonatina lacks a formal transition and development, which Tchaikovsky pointedly restores in the finale, reconciling his Russian tune with Western pattern and practice. To progress from an ‘imperfect’ first movement to a ‘perfect’ last one recalls Beethoven again, as does the finale’s elegant introduction, which effectively elides the last two movements. Tchaikovsky could have drawn this idea from a number of Beethovenian models – ‘La Malinconia’ of op.18 no.6, op.95, or his final use of this device in op.135.

Rubinstein’s memorial, the Piano Trio ‘To the Memory of a Great Artist’ (1882), combined experiment and conformity in a different way. With no clue except the dedication, the listener senses the music to be topical. Tchaikovsky showed an easy command of sonata-allegro in the first movement, but after a conventional beginning the theme and variations runs to the fanciful. Figural variations and a fugue mix with intonations of the music box, the waltz, the bayan and the mazurka – as if these were personal recollections of Rubinstein. To stem the flood of memory he set apart the weighty final variation, and reprised the opening theme of the first movement as a funeral march at the end.

The Second and Third Suites are musical perorations on freedom. Tchaikovsky wrote the Second between July and October 1883, after four months of enforced residence in Paris during which he helped his niece Tanya Davïdova, morphine addicted, pregnant and unwed, through detoxification and childbirth. These circumstances, of which Modest omits mention in The Life, may explain the work’s eccentric expression, unusual demands of ensemble and scoring (including four accordions), striking image (a touching ‘Rêves d’enfant’, which may refer to Tanya’s newborn) and blatant contrasts. These components can produce an impression of strangeness, randomness, even vulgarity. The pleasing expression of one movement may not survive juxtaposition with the next – the Scherzo burlesque followed by the ‘Rêves d’enfant’ followed by a Dargomïzhskian ‘Wild Dance’. As the reception of the Second Suite has shown, freedom so unrestrained promotes disinterest and confusion in the listener. This work represents Tchaikovsky’s inspiration at its most wilful, its furthest remove from the integral logic of Western models.

By contrast, the Third Suite, drawing on devices used in the Serenade for Strings and the Piano Trio, illustrates the virtues of discipline without abandoning the generic markers of the suite. It is still a miscellany of movements which depend for their effect more on charm than argument. Tchaikovsky continues to avoid the rhetoric of Western music, but favours motivic consistency and colour. The juxtapositions of style in the Second Suite yield here to consistency and intermovement likenesses of pattern and metre, which increase in excitement from movement to movement in anticipation of the finale.

The finale takes its form from the last movement of the Piano Trio: a conventional beginning leads to fanciful variations, and then to an apotheosis set off from the rest of the movement. It draws its expressive arch from the Serenade for Strings, proceeding from a Western perspective to a Russian one. As this happens, the fanciful variations are no less vivid than they were in the Trio, but their connotations are unmistakable even in the absence of verbal clues. By the fourth variation Tchaikovsky has abandoned the Western cliché of consistent figuration over the bass of his theme; by variation seven he has neutralized its original character, in variation eight made a bow to Glinka, and in variation nine adopted the Russian changing background manner. The national identity achieved, he specifies his goal more precisely as courtly and monarchical in variation ten, music for a classical ballerina’s solo, and in the apotheosis, variation 12, a polonaise full of pomp and ceremony.

It is tempting to attribute the reception of this vastly successful work to its auspicious première at St Petersburg in January 1885, conducted by Hans von Bülow, and performances by Tchaikovsky himself from St Petersburg to New York. That success, however, may find its origins in Tchaikovsky’s curbing the extreme freedoms of its predecessor, in his leavening of novelty with control and accessibility.

The Concert Fantasia for piano and orchestra op.56 (1884) is an offspring of the Third Suite in that themes conceived for that work are used in its second movement, ‘Contrasts’. It is Tchaikovsky’s last essay in suite-like freedom. Its point is virtuosity, echoing a time when audiences (to paraphrase Laroche) were less concerned about what was played than how. Tchaikovsky takes his themes beyond their potential for elaboration. The solo cadenza is raised to a higher power in the first movement, where it trumps a development section with what could be, in the virtuoso frame of reference, a fantasia on the principal motif of Vasco da Gama’s ‘O paradis!’ from Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine.

For Tchaikovsky the need to be planning or composing an opera was constant. In this period he wrote Orleanskaya deva (‘The Maid of Orleans’, 1878–9, first performed in 1881), on the life of Joan of Arc, and Mazepa (‘Mazeppa’, 1881–3, first performed in 1884), an episode in the life of that Cossack hetman. In addition, Yevgeny Onegin was first produced in 1879, by students of the Moscow Conservatory, and staged in St Petersburg in 1884.

In The Maid of Orleans Joan is summoned by an angelic choir to battle for Charles VII, a profligate and cowardly monarch. In combat her mercy towards an enemy knight turns to love. At Charles’s coronation, Joan’s father turns everyone against her by accusing her of Satanic powers. Banished, Joan exchanges endearments with her lover, he is slain, and she burnt at the stake.

After consulting many sources Tchaikovsky versified this scenario himself, drawing mainly from Schiller, whose idealism is mitigated by prosaic historical fact and operatic convention. Tchaikovsky’s portrayal of Charles (who is valiant in Schiller) raises doubt about the wisdom of Joan’s allegiance, while ambiguity over the nature of her passion annuls the credibility of the opera’s love interest. In Schiller Joan must resist earthly love. In Tchaikovsky she faces no such imperative; she is simply empowered by her virginal purity. When later, Isolde-like, she raises her sword to kill Lionel (who becomes her lover) but forbears when moonlight illuminates his face, her loss of free agency is no more willed than that of Wagner’s heroine when her glance meets Tristan’s. This precludes any guilt and any justification for her denunciation, and reduces her love, in the absence of Wagner’s elaborate philosophizing, to an empty dramatic device. No personal passion or conflict in Joan (who says nothing in her own defence) offsets the grandiose elements of Tchaikovsky’s conception, leaving the libretto devoid of the attribute he would later extol as ‘intimate character’.

The choice of topic raises questions. Tchaikovsky’s fascination with Joan reached back to childhood, but his denunciation of grand opera (to Taneyev on 2/14 January 1878) – decrying its massive stage effects and mocking the feelings of high and mighty characters – is inconsistent with this project. Explanations advanced for his choice based on the composer’s affinity with Schiller’s androgynous Joan are probably too limiting; more persuasive is Tchaikovsky’s need for reassessment at this juncture of his life, and finding in Joan the outsider ‘the liberating artistic vehicle through which he might create such a reassessment’ (Kearney, E1998). In this light the opera is less an essay in sexuality than a study in the complexity of human nature and the ambivalence of human relationships.

The Maid of Orleans is a hybrid. The historical subject with religious components, big choral scenes, and elaborate ballet all point to Paris, as do certain particulars (Joan’s father is a curmudgeon like Marcel in Les Huguenots, and the coronation at which a parent defames a child proclaimed as divine derives from Le prophète). Tchaikovsky uses Russian precedents to cleanse preposterous and cynical elements from the French prototype: Joan, like Musorgsky’s Boris, is flawed but sincere, and the opera’s religious element is meant to be taken seriously. Unlike the assassins in Les Huguenots, the people in The Maid are socially aware, even if susceptible to malign influence.

The best music in The Maid of Orleans overcomes the libretto and Tchaikovsky’s practice of composing text and music in tandem. Joan’s farewell to the forests, the prayer which precedes it, the engaging Dance of the Jesters, the fleeting duet of Charles and Agnes, the effective orchestral introductions, continued in Mazeppa – all these command the listener’s attention amid verbose passages which betray the composer’s fatigue, remarked in letters, or which illustrate his preoccupation with narrative coherence in a genre which thrives on the lyric elaboration of simple emotions.

Tchaikovsky’s initial enthusiasm for this opera was muted by the trials of publication, difficult rehearsals, censorship (the problem of an archbishop on stage), and obligatory modifications. Critics savaged it after the first performance on 13/25 February 1881, and its run was cut short the next autumn by the absence of a singer for the title role. It was nevertheless Tchaikovsky’s first opera to be produced abroad (in Prague in July 1882). He recognized the need for revisions, but never made them.

Mazeppa was different. Set to a ready-made libretto, it was less tinkered with in relation to its sources than The Maid of Orleans. The wizened Mazeppa, treacherous after many battles, has fallen in love with his goddaughter Maria, and she with him. This scandalizes Maria’s parents and Andrey, a young Cossack sore with love for her. Maria’s father Kochubey denounces Mazeppa as a traitor to Peter the Great, but Peter, unconvinced, delivers him back to Mazeppa, who sees to his torture and execution. At the Battle of Poltava, represented in the opera by a symphonic picture, Mazeppa does in fact turn against Peter. Fleeing in defeat, he encounters Maria, driven to madness by her father’s execution, and Andrey, whom he wounds in a fight. Witless, Maria sings Andrey a lullaby as he dies.

Despite the pairing of old man and young woman, the obligatory Russian genre scenes, and the occasional overblown ensemble, Mazeppa is one of Tchaikovsky’s great creations. A new eloquence in the orchestra is partly responsible. Horrors of the narrative notwithstanding, Tchaikovsky’s characterization is consistently noble and cantabile, whether in Mazeppa’s apostrophes to Maria, or Kochubey’s meditations before his death, or the refrain Maria’s mother sings as she urges her to intercede with Mazeppa to prevent Kochubey’s execution. The shattering effect of Maria’s lullaby is unprecedented in earlier Tchaikovsky. Here calm and quiet magnify the tragedy, a device not lost on Stravinsky at the end of The Rake’s Progress. Mazeppa succeeded in Moscow, stalled in St Petersburg after bad performances and a hostile press, and surprised the composer by the brilliant outcome of a production in Tbilisi in 1885.

(iii) Reception outside Russia.

As the composer focussed inwards, struggling to reaffirm his life and to reignite the fires of his inspiration, the fame of his music began to spread outside Russia (as it continued to grow within) during the last half of the 1870s. After a concert in Moscow in Lent of 1874 Hans von Bülow began learning Tchaikovsky’s music, and went on to praise the First String Quartet, Romeo and Juliet and other works in a German newspaper later that year. He would become an important mentor, playing the solo part at the première of the First Piano Concerto in Boston in 1875, conducting its German première at Wiesbaden in 1879, and taking up many other Tchaikovsky works in subsequent years.

The next milestone after Bülow’s recognition was Hans Richter’s conducting of Romeo and Juliet in Vienna in November 1876. Tchaikovsky’s reception was hampered by the conservative, somewhat eccentric Viennese response to new music (as the reception of Wagner and Bruckner illustrates), and by the hostility of the critic Eduard Hanslick. When the Violin Concerto was played there in 1881 it brought forth a firestorm of insults, of which Hanslick’s (‘stinking music’) is the best known. These condemnations, however, loom small in the general embrace of Tchaikovsky’s music outside Russia.

Years before Hanslick’s insult to the Violin Concerto, Camille Benoît had sympathetically introduced Tchaikovsky’s music to the readers of the Revue et gazette musicale de Paris (17 and 24 June 1877). In 1876 the composer himself had approached Edouard Colonne about the use of his orchestra for an all-Tchaikovsky concert, but abandoned the project for lack of money. For its first significant exposure to Tchaikovsky’s music Paris awaited the International Exhibition of September 1878, in concerts by Nikolay Rubinstein; two months later Turgenev reported to Tolstoy that Tchaikovsky’s reputation had grown as a result. But greater reputation did not bring a rash of performances: in the spring of 1879 Tchaikovsky witnessed the indifferent response of Colonne’s audience to his The Tempest, and after Meck had sponsored a performance of the Fourth Symphony in 1880, he discouraged her from further adventures of this kind. Only with the advent of a Parisian publisher, abetted by Tchaikovsky’s own conducting career in the later 1880s, did his acceptance there gradually increase.

In September 1878 Benjamin Bilse conducted Francesca da Rimini in Berlin, the first of many Tchaikovsky performances in that city, which extended over the next decade to other German venues, notably Leipzig and Hamburg, the headquarters of his German publishers. Meanwhile the beginnings of an energetic following for Tchaikovsky’s music had been established in London with a performance of the First Piano Concerto on 11 March 1876. In the United States there had been performances of the first and second string quartets in Boston by January 1876, in the wake of which Bülow reported to Tchaikovsky that in America he was already counted among the five most important contemporary composers, along with Brahms, Raff, Saint-Saëns and Rheinberger – a selection the composer found irritating.

The years 1877–85 were the most complex in Tchaikovsky’s life. At first recuperative, they became free with the providential intercession of Nadezhda von Meck. But freedom turned into a ship without an anchor, often bound for Europe. Wandering finally prompted him – possibly in 1881 – to ask where he truly belonged. The failure of The Maid of Orleans, Nikolay Rubinstein’s death, the assassination of Aleksandr II, Nápravník’s resignation from the Russian Musical Society in St Petersburg, the first threat to Meck’s fortune, all in that year, reminded him that support for neither his person nor his art was assured. The marriage crisis had eased, the flow of new compositions restored, and the joy of wandering flagged, when Tchaikovsky realized it was time to go home, find a place to live and get a job.

5. Return to life, 1885–8.

(i) Biography.

Frequent travel had come to mean having no place to go; a home meant escape from the hospitality of others. Knowing this, Tchaikovsky rented a house on 5/17 February 1885 in Maydanovo, one of several residences he would occupy in or near the town of Klin, about 90 kilometres from Moscow, for the rest of his life. His first calendar year of residence, 1885, was the only one between 1869 and his death spent wholly within the Russian empire.

His job was to promote the interests of Russian music. Soon after Nikolay Rubinstein’s death Tchaikovsky had resisted offers to return to the conservatory and the Russian Musical Society. His disdain for public life never diminished, but his celebrity (he explained in 1889) obliged him to be involved regardless. In time Rubinstein’s death and the difficulty of replacing him must have prompted Tchaikovsky’s resolve, which brought him two principal occupations. The first was director of the Moscow branch of the Russian Musical Society. In this capacity he invited in the 1889–90 season a galaxy of international stars to conduct in Moscow, including Brahms, Klindworth, Dvořák, Colonne and Massenet (Brahms declined, Massenet postponed). Once that season, when Rimsky-Korsakov despaired over a lethargic percussionist, Tchaikovsky elected to play the castanets in the Spanish Capriccio himself, a strategy that braced the ensemble. He had duties to the Moscow Conservatory as well, but did not return to teaching; he supported Taneyev as director, attended examinations, and brokered sensitive negotiations with the staff.

His other occupation was conducting. Despite occasional interest in reviving this skill, Tchaikovsky had conducted but once in public for almost 20 years when in December 1885 he agreed to conduct the première of his opera Cherevichki. This took place on 19/31 January 1887 after lessons from Hippolyte Altani of the Moscow Opera, and was followed by Charodeyka (‘The Enchantress’) in October. On 15/27 December 1887 Tchaikovsky embarked on the first of many conducting tours. These brought travel (a trip to America was pondered in July 1888), contacts with many important musicians, the dissemination of his music and new publishing outlets. He conducted mostly his own music, but also Mozart, Beethoven (symphonies including the Ninth), Gounod (Faust), Anton Rubinstein, Borodin, even Laroche and Heinrich Ernst.

One outcome of Tchaikovsky’s labour was to win recognition in high places. In 1884 he had been awarded the Order of St Vladimir, Fourth Class, and an audience with the tsar. In 1886 he revived his correspondence with the Grand Duke Konstantin Romanov, from whom he learnt that the empress wished him to compose something for her. With the grand duke, a poet, he engaged in learned debate on various topics, from Russian prosody to Beethoven. In 1888 Aleksandr III awarded Tchaikovsky a lifetime pension. For the last decade of his life he enjoyed the mentorship of Ivan Vsevolozhsky, director of Imperial Theatres, who eased the way for the production of his theatre works.

The composer’s private life during these years was hardly less eventful. Between November 1885 and August 1889 he abandoned Kamenka, his sister’s estate where he once planned a permanent home. His relations with Meck cooled and their correspondence slowed; early in 1886 her fortunes suffered another setback. Old friendships made way for new, including the singer Emilia Pavlovskaya and the composer Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov.

Diaries survive for most of the period 1886–9, from which we may divine details of his personal life. There were a number of romantic attachments in 1886, some with tragic outcomes. That year marks Tchaikovsky’s deep infatuation with his nephew Vladimir Davïdov, known as Bob. Two years earlier, in a diary entry for 23 April/5 May 1884, we find the first occurrence of the letter ‘Z’ as a code for ‘something indefinite’, which irritates and angers Tchaikovsky, followed in a few weeks by the less-mentioned and even more inscrutable ‘X’. There is no cogent rationale to associate these letters with homosexuality, which would hardly have been ‘something indefinite’ to Tchaikovsky at the age of 44.

An ominous counterpoint sounds against the successes of this period in Tchaikovsky’s health. He was unwell for much of 1886 and 1887, and came to believe that his final illness had commenced. On 29 June/11 July 1886 he drafted a will, and then, for more than a year, wrote diary entries which chronicle his misery. Meanwhile death stalked his loved ones. Iosif Kotek had died late in 1884, and by 1887 the toll was heavy; on the evening of his conducting début Tanya Davïdova died in St Petersburg; her sister Vera would follow before another year. Contemporaries were expiring of terrible illnesses, including Nikolay Gubert and Nikolay Kondrat′yev, whose demise Tchaikovsky travelled across Europe to attend for six weeks in the summer of 1887.

(ii) Works.

The press of circumstances and more severe self-criticism made Tchaikovsky less productive during this period, a problem mitigated by his new home and his ability to work efficiently when living in it. His work reflects the new Tchaikovsky, his relationship with the highborn and his reflections on death.

Tchaikovsky received many requests for ceremonial pieces: the Hymn in Honour of SS Cyril and Methodius (1885), Jurists’ March for the 50th anniversary of the School of Jurisprudence (1885), A Greeting to Anton Rubinstein and the Impromptu in A♭ (1889), celebrating the 50th anniversary of his teacher’s artistic activity. He composed the Dumka (Russian rustic scene) op.59 (1886), for his Parisian publisher Félix Mackar, and the Valse-scherzo in A major (1889) for the first issue of the journal Artist (1889).

In the songs of this period Tchaikovsky is more courtier than diarist. The romances of op.60 are a sampler offered in response to the empress’s request; those of op.63, on texts by Konstantin Romanov, are an expression of esteem for his royal friend. In the songs of op.65 the composer is courtier as a troubadour to his lady. Set to French texts, they are dedicated to Désirée Artôt, with whom Tchaikovsky was warmly reacquainted in 1888, almost 20 years after their failed engagement. The poems are both flattering artifice and impassioned declaration.

He wrote some music in times of distraction. The Fourth Suite (Mozartiana) occurred to the composer in May of 1884 while he was translating Le nozze di Figaro, but was realized only in June and July 1887. Orchestrating four pieces of Mozart with Tchaikovsky’s gift for sound was a happy idea. The gigue works best in its new raiment, though lovers of the Ave verum corpus as Mozart wrote it might not settle for alternatives, let alone one with Tchaikovsky’s Lohengrinesque close. The period of his work on the ‘Preghiera’ is pertinent: he began it under treatment for his own medical problems, and finished the entire suite while attending the dying Kondrat′yev. The Pezzo capriccioso for cello and orchestra, a concertante piece in the mould of the Sérénade melancolique, was also composed during that visit.

The great orchestral works of this period – Manfred, the Fifth Symphony and Hamlet – warrant consideration together. Manfred was assigned to Tchaikovsky by Balakirev in 1882; Tchaikovsky initially resisted, and composed the work in 1885 merely to fulfil his promise. His resistance lay partly in the mixture of cheek and creative impotence whereby Balakirev, who demanded respect as a composer, generated work for Tchaikovsky that he could not do himself and then badgered him into doing it. Balakirev’s eunuch-like control was only one problem: his programme was too blatant, too redolent of the New German School; Manfred was a heavy, complex work not well matched with the demands of Tchaikovsky’s public responsibilities; and he was growing cool towards programme music in general.

Objections notwithstanding he proceeded, with mixed results. In the flood of notes irritation – or fatigue – may be detected in allusions to Berlioz and Balakirev, but the central problem with Manfred lies in the inability of the programme to inspire. Hence the insubstantial scherzo, a sound picture indebted to ‘Queen Mab’ that goes on too long, and the Pastorale, an incoherent chain of themes. The finale is unredeemed by the mechanical reprise of the first movement at the end, or by the grand effect of the organ. The first movement, in contrast, nicely conveys the sense of Manfred’s brooding, and explains why Tchaikovsky contemplated making it a tone poem, and dispensing with the other movements.

Manfred left its mark on the Fifth Symphony and Hamlet, composed in the summer of 1888. It provided structural models and left an intertextual trace on the later works (the fourth movement of the Fifth Symphony, bar 122 from the fourth movement of Manfred, bar 151; Hamlet, bar 363 from the third movement of Manfred, bar 267). In the Fifth Symphony Tchaikovsky clearly wished to show what the motto symphony could do free of troublesome external specifications. To this end, he unified its diverse movements with devices more subtle than the motto theme. These comprise motifs which occur across movement boundaries and a rationale of keys which spans the entire symphony. Moreover, a fine sense of oratory informs the symphony, a flawless reckoning of timing and logic in the immediate succession of ideas, which assures its success despite the occasional blatant effect.

Whether the Fifth Symphony has a programme, and what it is, have generated much discussion. An incoherent sketch about bowing to fate, grumbling, doubt, complaint and reproaches has been attached to the work because the composer wrote it shortly before beginning the symphony. But these words make little sense in relation to the finished work, and came well before the burst of creativity in which most of the symphony was composed. Tchaikovsky wrote to Konstantin Romanov that it had no programme. And yet it submits to narrative interpretation, it projects a lucid sequence of persuasive thoughts, without which its legion of admirers could not be explained. Tchaikovsky, emulating Schumann’s Second Symphony, could have written a motto symphony without a programme, but that explanation is too glib for his treatment of the motto, which is radically transformed from movement to movement.

A solution to this enigma may lie in verbal rhythms. Recalling the composer’s habit of modifying references slightly in musical allusions, the rhythm of his motto (omitting the pickup to the third beat) corresponds to the prosody of the Orthodox Easter hymn, ‘Christ is risen!’ (ex.2 ). If that connection was intentional, various aspects of meaning in the Fifth Symphony would be clarified. The triumphal variant of the motto in the last movement would be more than a defeat-to-victory cliché, while the clash between the motto and the worldly intonations of the inner movements would make sense. Attributing meaning to the motto still would not constitute a programme, but it would make the Fifth Symphony consistent with Tchaikovsky’s declaration to Taneyev a decade earlier that symphonies must express sincere feelings. For these, one needs look no further than the tragedies death had recently strewn in Tchaikovsky’s path, of which Kondrat′yev’s agonizing end would be the most indelible; it produced a sadness on which Tchaikovsky remarked when composing the symphony.

Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il′yich 5. Return to life, 1885–8. (ii) Works.: Ex.2

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Hamlet was different. It does not, like The Storm, follow its literary model; unlike Romeo and Juliet or The Tempest, it has no composed programme; unlike 1812, its music is not so obvious as to make a programme unnecessary. Nor does it follow a classical pattern, which would provide coherence independent of external meaning. Tchaikovsky offered only the title to explain five contrasting themes deployed in various keys and oddly articulated, now with pauses, now elided. Other than a periodically affirmed interest in Shakespeare’s play and a request for a piece to be played at a charity concert, no stimulus for its composition can be identified. Unless, that is, Hamlet is an epigone of the first movement of Manfred, the tone poem that movement never became. In sketches Tchaikovsky warned himself not to begin too much like the beginning of Manfred. He may have succeeded as to theme, but there is no doubt of likeness as to strategy: what seems initially an introduction turns out to be a first thematic group, followed by bluntly articulated expressive contrasts. The differences are equally telling in devices whose effectiveness in Manfred he did not replicate: vividness of idea, and a clear sonata-allegro sharply focussed by omitting the development.

While his reason is not known – it may have been director Vsevolozhsky’s persuasion, or the coronation pieces of 1883, or simply personal choice – Aleksandr III showed Tchaikovsky special favour. His support for Tchaikovsky’s stage works was exceptional among Russian composers, welcoming the next regardless of its predecessor’s fate, and expecting a new composition every year or two. This expectation became a rhythm of Tchaikovsky’s life: Mazeppa had been staged in two major houses simultaneously, with first performances in Moscow and St Petersburg days apart. Later in 1884 Yevgeny Onegin was produced in St Petersburg, then opened the season in 1885 with a new écossaise composed for the revival.

The day after he moved into his own home Tchaikovsky began work on Cherevichki (a type of slippers, sometimes ornate, worn by women in the Ukraine). It was a revision of Vakula the Smith, of which, since 1878, Tchaikovsky had lamented the excesses of his inspiration. Between 15/27 February and 22 March/3 April 1885 he simplified its harmony, lightened its texture, improved its melodic lines and added numbers. Of these, couplets in Act 3 for an unnamed regal poet may represent Tchaikovsky the courtier paying homage to Konstantin Romanov. Utterly unrelated to Vakula’s ride on the devil’s back to fetch the Tsaritsa’s cherevichki for Oxana, their very detachment makes this point.

Cherevichki lasted seven performances, in 1887. The new facture did little to bring out the Gogolesque in the story. Tchaikovsky exempts Oxana and Vakula from ironic scrutiny (which Gogol spared no-one), distancing them from the overtly comical characters, who look eccentric as a result. 450 additional bars did little to quicken the opera’s pacing. The lyrical element still prevailed; the work was still more operetta than comedy.

Shortly before revising Vakula Tchaikovsky had chosen his next opera, The Enchantress, on a play by Ippolit Shpazhinsky, to a libretto by the playwright. The Prince of Nizhniy Novgorod seeks to close a disreputable tavern but instead falls in love with its proprietress, Nastas′ya. His jealous wife learns of this and plots Nastas′ya’s death. The Prince presses his suit but Nastas′ya rejects him, as she secretly loves Yury, his son, who comes to avenge his mother. Nastas′ya pleads innocence and confesses her love to Yury, ‘enchanting’ him. They agree to elope, and are about to flee when the Princess, in disguise, poisons Nastas′ya, and the Prince, in a fit of jealousy, kills his son. The opera ends as the Prince dies, convulsed in guilt.

In proceeding with this scenario, Tchaikovsky disregarded advice, common sense, and any residual theatrical instinct he possessed. The double love triangle of Nastas′ya/Princess/Prince and Nastas′ya/Prince/Yury was promising but hopelessly cumbersome without radical curtailment. Shpazhinsky filled the libretto with unnecessary lines, people and action, thus diffusing characterization, obscuring plot direction, and losing critical emotions and events in a welter of incident. In the course of the opera’s long gestation Tchaikovsky came to realize these problems. He resorted to last-minute revisions, but to no avail.

The music speaks where it has the opportunity. Set in 15th-century Russia, the opera made ethnic genre painting a staple rather than a seasoning. As a result Tchaikovsky wrote many effective choruses and ariosos; but as the press of period style wore thin, he slipped from imagined 15th-century into the more congenial sound world of Russo-Western mores in Yevgeny Onegin. Accommodating inessential words made The Enchantress even more short-winded musically than The Maid of Orleans; the listener yearns for expansive soliloquy. The Enchantress received its just deserts in the press, ran for 13 performances in St Petersburg and was transferred to Moscow. There, in 1890, it was given one performance.

Tchaikovsky’s fortunes in the theatre were about to change. His mentor Vsevolozhsky was a maker of collaborations who aspired to the Gesamtkunstwerk. A graphic artist and balletomane, he dreamed of the perfect ballet, with music elevated to the level of artistry his dancers and choreographers had already achieved. When his last official ballet composer retired in 1886, Vsevolozhsky seized the moment: he called a meeting with Tchaikovsky and first balletmaster Marius Petipa. Thus began the greatest collaboration of Tchaikovsky’s career.

6. Years of valediction, 1889–93.

In this last years, Tchaikovsky’s music projected, in its concern for legacy, adherence to the highest standard, and its subtext, a late style rooted in the philosophical distinction between ‘of this world’ and ‘not of this world’. Implicit was a sense of farewell, stimulated by his contemplation of death, and expressed in a range of images from pessimistic to utopian. Farewell had been at issue in the Third Quartet, revisited in Tatyana’s anguish and Lensky’s death. But after the Fifth Symphony – the closest we can locate this change in his music – valediction became a persistent theme.

It transformed his involvement with the everyday. He still took worldly tasks seriously, accepting more public engagements than ever before and bearing worldly fame and woe as best he could. Fame and woe were much in evidence: celebrating Anton Rubinstein’s 50th anniversary jubilee in 1889, resigning from the Russian Musical Society and ending his relationship with Nadezhda von Meck in 1890, journeying to America in 1891, visiting Fanny Dürbach – after 44 years – in 1892, and receiving the honorary doctorate from Cambridge in 1893. But this world was consigned to a separate realm, mitigated by Tchaikovsky’s acceptance of mortality as the way of things. When his day came, he would depart this earth with many worldly duties still in prospect.

The everyday was banished from the realm of creativity, where a youthful fluency flowed anew, as if relieved. With peerless skill and seasoned discipline, he accomplished stunning feats, drafting Pikovaya dama (‘The Queen of Spades’) in 43 days, Spyashchaya krasavitsa (‘The Sleeping Beauty’) in about 40, and the Sixth Symphony in about 24.

(i) Late works.

These accomplishments, notably the theatre works, were not entirely his own doing. Vsevolozhsky recognized that Tchaikovsky’s muse could reach extraordinary heights were it not coping with awkward decisions. To the glory of Tchaikovsky’s legacy and the relief of his own budget, Vsevolozhsky negotiated the composer’s new works, pre-empting Tchaikovsky’s errant theatrical judgment. This strategy and Tchaikovsky’s late style first came together in The Sleeping Beauty, the delayed outcome of meetings with the composer and Petipa in 1886 and the first large work Tchaikovsky created after the Fifth Symphony. With Petipa collaboration was different. Accustomed to lead, Petipa specified his musical requirements for each number. The composer took his advice, worked with him in private, attended rehearsals and made last-minute changes. For his part Petipa braved challenges unprecendented in his own illustrious career by setting music so powerful, diverse and rhythmically complex as Tchaikovsky’s. Vsevolozhsky provided the scenario and drew the costume designs.

The tale of a princess who pricks her finger and is cast in a spell for 100 years to be awakened by a handsome prince might seem an unpromising forum for philosophy, especially when so regulated by the medium, so committed to courtiership, so infused with regality. But in the stages of Princess Aurora’s life – birth, marriage, death and rebirth – and more profoundly in a fable which tells of overcoming time and evil, transforming evil in the person of Fairy Carabosse from terrifying in the prologue to inconsequential in the Dream Entr’acte of Act 2, Tchaikovsky broaches questions not of this world. His music, invariably dansante, ennobling and aptly attuned to the 18th-century pastiche in Act 2, proceeds on a second level untouched by Petipa. Here the contrast in theme between the Lilac Fairy and Carabosse, and the key organization of the entire work, distinguish present and future worlds.

11 days after the première of The Sleeping Beauty Tchaikovsky departed for Florence to compose The Queen of Spades. No work better illustrates the rejuvenation of his creativity late in life. Comfortably ensconced, free of distraction, he produced his richest, densest composition. It was a pendant to The Sleeping Beauty: whereas the ballet contained elements of alarm, its happy outcome was anticipated from the beginning; the opera, exceedingly ‘of this world’, veers relentlessly towards tragedy.

The reclusive Hermann is in love with Lisa, ward of a rich but aged Countess. The Countess harbours a secret – knowledge of three cards that always win – which Hermann, who abstains from gambling, nevertheless seeks to learn. He confronts the Countess, who dies before giving up her secret but appears to him as a ghost and names the cards. Lisa meets Hermann in the hope that he will affirm his love; when instead he proposes a visit to the gaming hall, she despairs and drowns herself. At the tables Hermann plays the first two cards and wins. He plays the third, and instead of the expected ace, draws the Queen of Spades. The Countess’s ghost appears, and Hermann stabs himself.

Tchaikovsky (centre) with Nikolay Figner and Medea Mei-Figner, who created the roles of Hermann and Lisa in ‘The Queen of Spades’ in 1890

Novosti (London)
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The libretto, attributed to Modest (with borrowings from others and help from Pyotr), is an expert adaptation from Pushkin which resonates with symbolic meanings and creates a provocative study in ambiguity. Modest rounded out the story by magnifying what in Pushkin were merely hints. From a remark that Hermann is writing his own love notes he built a substantial passion; Lisa’s extinguishing a candle generates many references to light and darkness. The celebrant’s eulogy at the Countess’s funeral that she had lived in preparation for the midnight bridegroom found much service in the opera, from Hermann’s meetings with the Countess and Lisa (changed to midnight), to the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in St Matthew, made nearly explicit when Lisa dies, and implicit in many references to sustaining or extinguishing light. This last became a framing metaphor, stated in the opening lines by little girls at play (‘Shine brightly, lest the light go out’), a warning unheeded by nature (as a storm overcomes the sunlight, as day gives way to night) and by the principal characters in their ways of death. Late style resides in the opera’s treatment of light, symbolically not of this world, of which we are constantly reminded by the darkness.

Unpredictable events and sudden changes in the characters produce dramatic tension. Whether Hermann is a hypocrite, or the Countess a witch, and whether the heavenly is in control, or the satanic, are questions repeatedly posed. The opera turns on this chaotic ambiguity which makes it, fantastic moments notwithstanding, profoundly realistic.

Tchaikovsky set the text with an array of allusions, from Russian folk laments and dances to Orthodox song, from Grétry to Mozart to Aleksey Kozlovsky to Bizet to French popular tunes. Responding thus to the chaos, he also produced a score which projects a commanding sense of discipline. This paradox is nicely foreshadowed in the introduction, where four unruly themes – some related to the Fifth Symphony – are contained by cadence and rhetorical gesture. He also used style to underscore the ambiguities of the story. Hermann acts like a thief but sings like a lover; the Countess’s ghost appears in the wake of emphatic churchly intonations; even Prilepa and Milozvor in the divertissement re-enact the opera’s dark plot in Arcadian pleasantries, to a paraphrase, wry but apropos, of Papageno’s ‘Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen’.

To promote unity, Tchaikovsky introduced linkages of theme and key. The characters, typically unaware, mimic something which happened earlier, implying an encounter with fate. Hermann first declares his love to Lisa with a melody to which Paulina had earlier sung a lament about death being the outcome of love. Tchaikovsky revisits the key of Hermann’s declaration when the Countess dies and again when Lisa dies. The eerie subtext of these connections gives order to the chaos.

Pleased, Tchaikovsky returned home where he composed, in June and July of 1890, the string sextet Souvenir de Florence. In letters he never connected the piece with the city, making the referents of its title obscure, though Modest explained that the first theme of the Andante was sketched in Florence. The musical materials – passionate, songful, flirtatious, beguiling – could all be Florentine, remembrances in the literal sense of the word vospominaniya in the Russian title. Italianate accents relate the sextet to the Serenade for Strings, to which Tchaikovsky alludes at the outset of the slow movement. If the lack of precise referentiality precludes engagement with the topical aspects of late style, Souvenir de Florence belongs to it as a statement about technique, specifically the reconciliation of Tchaikovsky’s musical imagination with the limited mass and colour of the string ensemble. Language and medium had produced a tension in his quartets, which he masked in the five-part Serenade by putting several players on a part. Six instruments allowed him orchestral possibilities of doubling for emphasis and multiple stops for bigness of sound, yet challenged him to find suitable alternatives in lighter textures and imitation. Clarity of pattern and unbroken momentum stood in striking contrast here to the fermatas and disjunction of his recent multi-movement works.

In September 1890 Tchaikovsky received Meck’s letter, no longer extant, ending their relationship. It was the first of many trials in the coming months. He responded diplomatically to her, then railed at others in anger and shame. The loss of money was hurtful, but more so the implication that he was devoted to her exclusively because she paid him. When after 13 performances (the first on 7/19 December) The Queen of Spades was withdrawn in St Petersburg until autumn, Tchaikovsky suspected the emperor’s disfavour. This put him out of sorts in the spring of 1891 at Rouen, where he had gone to work on Vsevolozhsky’s next project: a double bill, opera and ballet, Iolanta and Shchelkunchik (‘The Nutcracker’).

Iolanta, adapted by Modest from Hertz’s Kong Renés Datter (‘King René’s Daughter’) tells of its blind heroine’s sight restored through the revelation of her malady, the treatment of a Moorish physician, and her love for the knight who first tells her of the wonders of light. In The Nutcracker, after Hoffmann, young Clara becomes infatuated with a toy nutcracker, a present from her godfather Drosselmeyer. She comes down at midnight to visit the nutcracker, and experiences a fantasy in which all the toys come to life in response to an attack by an army of mice. The Nutcracker defeats the Mouse-King with Clara’s deft assistance, whereupon they visit his realm, Confiturembourg. The ballet ends with a divertissement, joined by the benevolent Sugar Plum Fairy, to celebrate the Nutcracker’s safe return home.

Neither opera nor ballet held out the promise of its predecessor. Iolanta might have fared better as a cantata, where its lack of drama would count for less. Tchaikovsky was obviously drawn to depicting the utopia made complete by the provision of light and love, while Modest presented the heroine as childlike, moralistic and sentimental, a pre-Raphaelite figure in her finely wrought medieval setting. But the opera is wholly free of tension, and the composer’s effort to excite, as when the knight Robert extols the delights of physical love, succeeds only in rending the mood. It ran for 11 performances starting on 6/18 December 1892, separated from the ballet after a month, rarely to be revived. Gustav Mahler produced it in Hamburg in 1893, and remembered it in the finale of his ‘Resurrection’ Symphony (cf the beginning of no.4).

In Rouen, however, The Nutcracker was the greater problem. Never pleased with the scenario, Tchaikovsky named ‘Confiturembourg’ in a letter to Vsevolozhsky as the most serious problem demonizing his efforts to compose. His anguish, exceptional in the normal run of his complaints and for being addressed to a patron, intensified when the next day he learnt of the death of his sister Sasha, and the day after that set sail for New York to celebrate the opening of Carnegie Hall. The crisis over The Nutcracker was never resolved in a manner traceable in letters, nor was the scenario changed, nor did Tchaikovsky complain about the piece again. A diary written on the ship provides a clue to that resolution. As in 1878 after the marriage crisis, he now again felt as if he were someone else, and that thoughts of Sasha were like recollections of a distant past. Just as the Album pour enfants may have commemorated a distant past in 1878, Confiturembourg may now have come to signify the past at Kamenka, Sasha’s memory personified in the luminous Sugar Plum Fairy. At the beginning of that character’s first and only pas, Tchaikovsky introduced the rhythm from the panikhida he had used in music for Tatyana and Lensky in Yevgeny Onegin. If this were his purpose, it counted little in that Confiturembourg was atheatrical and inconclusive on stage; it was now an otpevaniye, a ‘singing-away’ of Sasha’s spirit.

Tchaikovsky’s American visit in April and May of 1891 was eventful, pleasant within the limits of a heavy schedule, and successful enough for him to consider returning in 1892. One pleasure was the surprise that his music was so well known. By the time Tchaikovsky arrived in New York, Francesca da Rimini and the fourth and fifth symphonies had been heard, with Hamlet and the First Piano Concerto (again) to follow later in the year, and the suite from The Nutcracker in 1892.

(ii) The last symphony.

On 29 October 1889 Tchaikovsky had expressed to Konstantin Romanov his wish to compose a grand symphony, the conclusion of his compositional career, and to dedicate it to the tsar. No mere chauvinism, this remark was early witness to his testamentary frame of mind. The first sign that he acted on it came in sketches from April to June 1891, during his anguish over Confiturembourg and the American journey. Progress was delayed until 1892, when by 29 May he had composed the first and last movements of a Symphony in E♭. After more delay, he nearly finished the sketches and began to score in October, when newspapers in St Petersburg announced his ‘Sixth Symphony’ for the coming season. Then in December, with little ado, he decided to destroy the symphony. He didn’t, instead transforming one movement into the Third Piano Concerto. Taneyev transformed two others into an Andante and Finale, published as op.79, while Semyon Bogatïryov, in 1951–5, restored and completed the entire work as Symphony no.7.

The Sixth Symphony that we know was composed during February and March 1893 and scored during the summer. In conception it affirms Tchaikovsky’s approach to the genre: a first movement of compositional density rooted in classical form and discourse; inner movements more involved with beauty than philosophy, of simple pattern; a striking finale; and continuous richness of connotation in melody, gesture and sonority.

In message the Sixth Symphony is more inscrutable. Before, Tchaikovsky had used musical ideas with explicit meanings – such as folksongs – or motto themes so strongly connotative as to preclude neutrality. By 1893, however, virtually everything in his music was connotative. He acknowledged the existence of a programme in the Sixth Symphony to Bob Davïdov, but claimed that it would remain an enigma. Whether a tease or a challenge, his remark has made this symphony especially susceptible to interpretation, from the allusion to Beethoven’s Sonate pathétique in its opening bars to the ‘lamento’ figure at the basis of the finale.

All the same, the popular notion that the Sixth Symphony is rife with confession warrants challenge, as does the idea, worthy of Hollywood, that it predicts the composer’s death. There is nothing so pessimistic in the symphony as the outcome of The Queen of Spades, and much to belie pessimism in the second movement and the scherzo, which Tchaikovsky described as triumphant and exulting. Meaning in the Sixth Symphony flows from the premises of Tchaikovsky’s late style. It shares with every work since The Sleeping Beauty a sense of valediction. It is part of a cycle – which, if the evidence to hand is any indication, would have continued had his death come later – of alternating ‘not of this world’ with the sadder contrasts ‘of this world’. The sequence was systematic: first The Sleeping Beauty, then The Queen of Spades; next Iolanta and The Nutcracker – the first an explicit utopia, the second a fantasy one occurring on Christmas night – and then the Sixth Symphony.

This possibility is bolstered by evidence from the music. A quotation of the panikhida melody in the development section of the first movement – from whose words Tchaikovsky had taken the rhythm in Yevgeny Onegin, the Violin Concerto and The Nutcracker – is widely seen as proof of a funereal outlook in the whole. It is, but it merely signals the presence of that enigmatic programme which he reported to Bob Davïdov. Using his well-practised technique of prosodic quotation, Tchaikovsky underlaid every important theme of the first movement with verbal rhythms from the funeral service, and returned to them in the second movement and the finale.

The problem with the Sixth Symphony is not that it gives evidence, but that the evidence it gives is construed to pertain exclusively to Tchaikovsky. Nothing in this work is necessarily autobiographical, any more than are the religious implications of The Queen of Spades or the various elegies from the 1880s. The Sixth Symphony was conceived almost a year, its content fixed seven months, before it was performed. Linking that performance with the composer’s death ten days later is rank speculation. In general, accounts of Tchaikovsky’s death are flawed by inordinate attention paid to his last days at the expense of causes originating long before. He may have experienced a premonition of death in his last months. If so, it fell within the larger time frame of his late style, and much evidence for it comes after the symphony was composed: setting the melancholy poems of op.73; and losing more friends and colleagues – Konstantin Shilovsky, co-librettist of Yevgeny Onegin, Karl Albrecht of the Moscow Conservatory, Vladimir Shilovsky, to whom the composer had once been deeply attached, and Aleksey Apukhtin, his exact contemporary, former classmate and lifelong friend. These events alone would suffice to cause a premonition.

Tchaikovsky conducted the first performance of the Sixth Symphony on 16/28 October 1893; five days later he fell ill; in the morning of 25 October/6 November, after heroic efforts by the best doctors, he died. The cause has never been established. Modest wrote that his brother drank unboiled water, from which he contracted cholera. In 1980 the musicologist Aleksandra Orlova published a theory proposing that he died by suicide, carrying out a sentence passed by a court of honour of his classmates at the School of Jurisprudence: Tchaikovsky’s sexual advances to a young man of high birth were about to be made public, and death was nobler than bringing dishonour upon the school.

The polemics over his death have reached an impasse, one side supporting a biographer not invariably committed to the truth, the other advocating something preposterous by the mores of the day. Neither version withstands scrutiny, making all conclusions provisional. Rumour attached to the famous dies hard: Paganini’s pact with the devil, Salieri’s poison. As for illness, problems of evidence offer little hope of satisfactory resolution: the state of diagnosis; the confusion of witnesses; disregard of long-term effects of smoking and alcohol. We do not know how Tchaikovsky died. We may never find out, any more than we shall learn what killed the composer whose music first filled him with sacred delight.

Pyotr Il′yich Tchaikovsky, 1893

Novosti (London)
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7. Reception.

Tchaikovsky’s posthumous reputation differs by locale – within Russia or without – and by the distinction between his music and his person. Outside Russia, his art was debated in discourses from programme notes to books, most aimed at defining his Russianness. These could be simple attempts to locate his style in the welter of modern musical voices, or complex explanations, as from Hugo Riemann or Iwan Knorr or even Hanslick in his later writings, of the multifarious nature of Tchaikovsky’s gift – European or Asiatic, dramatic or lyrical, symphonic or operatic.

Inside Russia, the composer’s immense stature spawned imitators and performances so numerous as to risk devaluation of the genuine artistic coinage. Yet Tchaikovsky’s art, paradoxically, was sustained and renewed by the cultural avant garde. Arkady Klimovitsky (E1995) cites The Queen of Spades as stimulus for a Tchaikovsky cult founded mostly by poets, painters and philosophers for whom Tchaikovsky exemplified a ‘Petersburg mythos’ which embraced a disparate collection of cultural motifs: phantasmagoria, transformed Western influence, continuity with the 18th century or with Pushkin and the Golden Age of Russian literature, or an interface with Wagner for Russian symbolists. Tchaikovsky excited these tendencies with works such as The Nutcracker, with its marionette-like, Harlequinesque figures, and Iolanthe, with its audible echoes of Tristan (in the english horn solo of the introduction), answering the Liebestod in the survival and gratification of the mythic lovers.

Tchaikovsky’s reputation among concert audiences is secure. In Great Britain, the United States and many other countries, his music has won a following throughout the 20th century second only to Beethoven’s, in contrast to such temporary fashions as Skryabin enjoyed in the 1910s and 20s, and Sibelius through the 1950s. When he was alive, and in the first decades after his death, no significant link was posited between Tchaikovsky’s art and life. Innuendo about his personal life in the Russian press was occasional, and virtually non-existent elsewhere, at the same time that his music was described in robust terms. Albert Stanley, introducing the Sixth Symphony to audiences of the Ann Arbor May Festival in 1897, wrote of the virility of Tchaikovsky’s music, and described the Serenade for Strings in 1902 as having a ‘primal quality’ and a style ‘of breadth and fervor’. The more widely read James Huneker remarked in 1899 on Tchaikovsky’s ‘unfortunate and undoubted psychopathetic temperament’, referring to the Sixth as the ‘Suicide Symphony’, yet praised his ‘tremendous sincerity’ and his ‘passionate, almost crazy intensity’.

Linking Tchaikovsky’s popularity with the emotional appeal of his music, Western aesthetes disdained it for half a century as vulgar, wanting in philosophy and elevated thought. Then, with the removal of taboos in public discussion of the 1960s and 70s, Tchaikovsky’s life was caught up in a discourse, exceptional for its tenacity, linking his music with his sexuality, an indignity that would have caused the composer unspeakable humiliation. When historical factors were brought into play – especially Freud’s pathologizing of homosexuality – specialist opinion of Tchaikovsky’s music changed accordingly, and dubiously slanted assessments of his music followed suit.

In Soviet Russia, by contrast, Tchaikovsky’s sexuality, together with his religious belief and monarchist politics – all aspects of his personality – were largely suppressed. Although his music was part of the canon (Lenin favoured the Sixth Symphony), and it garnered support among advocates of heritage, it came to be criticized through the 1920s as irrelevant to avant gardists in a non-bourgeois, revolutionary society. Detractors claimed that it was ideologically corrupt, that it suffered from a kind of social malaise, and that its emotions were alien to the new Soviet audience. Thus A.N. Ostretsov (C1929), writing a dismissive and tedious account of Tchaikovsky’s socialist and musical characteristics in 1929, found him to be a bad citizen: Europeanized, connected his entire life with bureaucratic and landowning circles, detached from the new political reality. The last was killing for his music, which from the 1880s was subjective, unrealistic, and too profoundly personal to manifest any socially redeeming qualities. For these reasons Tchaikovsky could not be credited with resurrecting Beethoven’s symphonic thought – Beethoven the ‘active musician-citizen’ who conveyed the ‘joy of life’, striving for the realization of democratic emotions, and for ‘bold, collective musical self expression’. Nor did claims of pathology escape the Soviets, though couched in clinical terms and never achieving much notoriety. In 1929 a psychiatrist from Perm (E.R. Klevezal) found clear evidence of raptus melancholicus in the Andante cantabile of the First String Quartet: by using muted strings Tchaikovsky transformed the weeping of his soul into a quiet murmur; the monotonous repetition, present in the first phrase and intensified in the second, was characteristic of the melancholic, while the second theme expressed the highest intensity of Tchaikovsky’s spiritual pain – the primeval outcry of the suffering soul.

With the advent of Socialist Realism in 1932 these judgments fell silent, and Tchaikovsky’s music was affirmed in the mainstream of concert life; in the increasingly muted cultural debate, however, it was emasculated by political expediency. In the 1930s and 40s a new generation of advocates – Al′shvang, Budyakovsky, Kremnev, Zhitomirsky, Yakovlev, Yarustovsky – rehabilitated the composer, writing learned if dogmatic studies about Tchaikovsky which continued to the end of the Soviet era.

In the early 1980s freedom of expression exercised by Soviet emigrés joined forces with modernist criticism (and its penchant for psycho-sexual analysis) and with a politically aggressive gay scholarship to refute stale notions of Tchaikovsky’s pathology. Parallel with this development has come a revival of documentary studies (notably by Thomas Kohlhase and Polina Vaydman) which seek to clarify various questions about Tchaikovsky and his music in the post-Soviet atmosphere of openness.



P.I. Chaykovsky: Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy [Complete works], ed. B.V. Asaf′yev and others (Moscow and Leningrad, 1940–90) [T]

P.I. Chaykovsky: Novoye polnoye sobraniye sochineniy [New complete works] (Moscow and Mainz, 1993) [NTE]

printed works published in Moscow unless otherwise stated


MML Moscow Malïy Theatre MOB Moscow, Bol′shoy Theatre SPM St Petersburg, Mariinsky Theatre SPB St Petersburg, Bol′shoy Theatre

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Genre, acts



First performance




Boris Godunov

music for the Fountain Scene

A.S. Pushkin

?1863–4 (lost)

Dmitry Samozvanets i Vasily Shuysky [Dmitry the Pretender and Vasily Shuysky]

incid music, 2 pieces:

A.N. Ostrovsky

by 30 Jan/11 Feb 1867

MML, 30 Jan/11 Feb 1867


ed. T1955

xiv, 3


June 1867

ed. T1962

xiv, 8

Mazurka, pf arr.

Klin, 7 May 1986

ed. 1986

Putanista [The Tangle]

couplets for the vaudeville

P. Fyodorov

Dec 1867 (lost)

Dec 1867


Voyevoda [The Provincial Governor]

op, 3

Ostrovsky and P.I. Tchaikovsky, after Ostrovsky: Son na Volge [A Volga dream]

8/20 March 1867– sum. 1868

MOB, 30 Jan/11 Feb 1869

ed. T1953

ia, b, v; i suppl (vs)

destroyed by Tchaikovsky; reconstructions by S.S. Popov, lost, and P. Lamm and others, ed. T1953; text modified in T

Le domino noir (D.-F.-E. Auber)

recitatives and choruses

It. trans. of E. Scribe

Oct 1868

MOB, 10/22 Jan 1870

ed. T1971

lx, 151

Undina [Undine]

op, 3

V. Sollogub, after V.A. Zhukovsky’s trans. of F.H.C. de la Motte Fouqué

Jan–July 1869

frags. only, MOB 16/28 March 1870

ed. T1950

Undine’s aria

ii, 3; ii, 161 (vs)

Act I finale

ii, 44; ii, 169 (vs)

destroyed by Tchaikovsky mid-1870s; only frags survive


op, Chorus of Flowers and Insects only, mixed and children’s vv, pf

S. Rachinsky

27 Dec 1869/8 Jan 1870; orchd by 13/25 Jan 1870

Moscow, 18/30 Dec 1870

1902 (vs), ed. T1950

ii, 93; ii, 191 (vs)

Oprichnik [The Oprichnik]

op, 4

Tchaikovsky, after I. Lazhechnikov

Feb 1870–April 1872

SPM, 12/24 April 1874

St Petersburg, 1874 (vs); St Petersburg, 1896 (fs)

iiia, b; xxxiv (vs)

entr’acte to Act 2 by V.S. Shilovsky

Le barbier de Séville

couplets ‘Vous l’ordonnez’ for Almaviva, 1v, 2 vn

P.-A. Beaumarchais, trans. M.P. Sadovsky

by 12/24 Feb 1872

Moscow, Conservatory, 12/24 Feb 1872


xiv, 19


Snegurochka [The Snow Maiden]

incid music, solo vv, chorus, small orch


March–April 1873

MOB (with actors from the MML), 11/23 May 1873

1873 (vs); 1895 (fs)

xiv, 23; xxxiii, 211 (vs)


Kuznets Vakula [Vakula the Smith]

op, 3

Ya. Polonsky, after N.V. Gogol: Noch′ pered rozhdestvom [Christmas Eve]

June–21 Aug/2 Sept 1874

SPM, 24 Nov/6 Dec 1876

1876 (vs)


rev. as Cherevichki

Le nozze di Figaro (W.A. Mozart)


L. da Ponte, trans. Tchaikovsky


Moscow, Conservatory, 5/17 May 1876

1884 (vs)

lx, 192


Lebedinoe ozero [Swan Lake]

ballet, 4

?V. Begichyov and V. Geltser

Aug 1875–10/22 April 1876

MOB, 20 Feb/4 March 1877

1877 (pf red.); 1895 (fs)

xia, b; lvi (pf red.)


Yevgeny Onegin [Eugene Onegin]

lyric scenes, 3

K.S. Shilovsky and Tchaikovsky, after Pushkin

May 1877–20 Jan/1 Feb 1878

MML, 17/29 March 1879

1878 (vs), 1880 (fs)

iv; xxxvi (vs)

Romeo i Dzhul′etta [Romeo and Juliet]

duet, S, T, orch

W. Shakespeare, trans. A.L. Sokolovsky



lxii, 211; lxii, 267 (vs)

partly based on fantasy ov; inc., completed by S.I. Taneyev


aria for Prince Vyazemsky, Act 2

G.A. Lishin

Oct 1878

in SovM, vi (1986), 83–6 [vs]

Orleanskaya deva [The Maid of Orléans]

op, 4

Tchaikovsky, after Zhukovsky’s trans. of F. von Schiller: Die Jungfrau von Orleans, J. Barbier: Jeanne d’Arc and A. Mermet

5/17 Dec 1878–23 Aug/4 Sept 1879; rev. 1882

SPM, 13/25 Feb 1881

1880 (vs) 1902 (fs)

va, b; xxxvii (vs)

text modified in T

La fée

cradle song and (?) waltz for the play

O. Feuillet

?July 1879

comp. ?July 1879; lost

ed. 1955 [see Remarks]

reconstruction of cradle song pubd in Glumov, Muzïka v russkom dramaticheskom teatre (Moscow, 1955), 258

Montenegro at the moment of receiving the news that Russia had declared war on Turkey

music for tableau

27 Jan/8 Feb–30 Jan/11 Feb 1880


Mazepa [Mazeppa]

op, 3

V. Burenin, rev. Tchaikovsky, after Pushkin: Poltava; text for interpolated aria, Act 2, V.A. Kandaurov

sum. 1881–29 April/10 May 1883

MOB, 3/15 Feb 1884

1883 (vs), 1899 (fs)

via, b; xxxviii (vs)

Cherevichki [The Fancy Slippers]

comic-fantastic op, 4

Polonsky, after Gogol: Noch′ pered rozhdestvom [Christmas Eve]; text for interpolated aria, Act 2, N. Chayev

Feb–22 March/3 April 1885

MOB, 19/31 Jan 1887

1885 (vs) 1898 (fs)

viia, b; xxxix (vs)

rev. of Kuznets Vakula

Charodeyka [The Enchantress]

op, 4

I.V. Shpazhinsky

Sept 1885–6/18 May 1887

SPM, 20 Oct/1 Nov 1887

1887 (vs), 1901 (fs)

viiia, b; xla, b (vs)

text modified in T


Domoyov’s monologue for the play


13/25–17/29 Jan 1886

MML, 19/31 Jan 1886

ed. T1940

xiv, 277


Spyashchaya krasavitsa [The Sleeping Beauty]

ballet, prol, 3

M. Petipa and I. Vsevolozhsky, after C. Perrault: La belle au bois dormant

Dec 1888–20 Aug/1 Sept 1889

SPM, 3/15 Jan 1890

1889 (pf red.); ed. T1952 (fs)

xiia, b, v, g; lvii (pf red.)


Pikovaya dama [The Queen of Spades]

op, 3

M.I. Tchaikovsky and P.I. Tchaikovsky, after Pushkin

19/31 Jan–8/20 June 1890

SPM, 7/19 Dec 1890

1890 (vs) 1891 (fs)

ixa, b, v; xli (vs)



incid music, solo vv, small orch

Shakespeare, trans. Dumas and P. Meurice

1/13 Jan–22 Jan/3 Feb 1891

St Petersburg, Mikhaylovsky, 9/12 Feb 1891

1892 (fs)

xiv, 285


Iolanta [Iolanthe]

lyric op, 1

M.I. Tchaikovsky, after V.R. Zotov’s adaptation of H. Hertz: Kong Renés Datter [King René’s Daughter]

10/22 July–15/27 Dec 1891

SPM, 6/18 Dec 1892

1892 (vs and fs pubd separately)

x, xlii

commissioned as companion piece to Shchelkunchik ballet; text modified in T xlii


Shchelkunchik [The Nutcracker]

ballet-féerie, 2

?M. Petipa, after A. Dumas père’s version of E.T.A. Hoffmann: Nussknacker und Mausekönig

Feb 1891–23 March/4 April 1892

SPM, 6/18 Dec 1892

1892 (pf red. and fs pubd separately)

xiiia, b; liv (pf red.)

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for full orchestra unless otherwise stated

View large


Title, forces



First performance


Allegro ma non tanto, G, str


ed. T1967

lviii, 29

Little Allegro, with introduction, D, 2 fl, str


ed. T1967

lviii, 33

Andante ma non troppo, A, small orch


ed. T1967

lviii, 60

Agitato and allegro, e, small orch


ed. T1967

lviii, 40

Allegro vivo, c


ed. T1967

lviii, 90

The Romans in the Coliseum




Groza [The Storm], ov. after Ostrovsky, E

sum. 1864

St Petersburg, 1896

St Petersburg, 24 Feb/7 March 1896

xxi, 3

Characteristic Dances [rev. as Dances of the Serving Maidens in op Voyevoda]

wint. 1864–5

Pavlovsk, 30 Aug/11 Sept 1865

Overture, F

1st version for small orch

aut. 1865

ed. T1952

St Petersburg, 14/26 Nov 1865

xxi, 85

2nd version for full orch

Feb 1866

ed. T1952

Moscow, 4/16 March 1866

xxi, 121

Concert Overture, c

sum. 1865–Jan 1866

ed. T1952

Voronezh, 12 Oct 1931

xxi, 213


Symphony no.1, g (‘Winter Daydreams’)

Incomplete draft

March–Aug 1866

1st version

March–Nov 1866

Moscow, 3/15 Feb 1868

xva, 169, frags. only

2nd version



Moscow, 19 Nov/1 Dec 1883

xva, 5


Festival Ov. on the Danish National Hymn, D [arr. pf 4 hands (1878), T la, 1]

before 12/24 Nov 1866


Moscow, 29 Jan/10 Feb 1867

xxii, 1


Fatum [Fate], sym. poem, c [destroyed by Tchaikovsky, reconstructed R.R. Shoring, 1896]

Sept–Dec 1868

St Petersburg, 1896

Moscow, 15/27 Feb 1869

xxii, 85

Romeo i Dzul′etta [Romeo and Juliet], fantasy ov. after Shakespeare, b

1st version

Oct–Nov 1869

ed. T1950

Moscow, 4/16 March 1870

xxiii, 3

2nd version

sum. 1870

Berlin, 1871

St Petersburg, 5/17 Feb 1872

xxiii, 199, frags. only

3rd version

completed 29 Aug/10 Sept 1880

Berlin, 1881

Tbilisi, 19 April/1 May 1886

xxiii, 89

Serenade for Nikolay Rubinstein’s nameday, small orch

by 1/13 Dec 1872

ed. T1961

Moscow, 6/18 Dec 1872

xxiv, 3


Symphony no.2, c (‘Little Russian’)

1st version [arr. pf 4 hands (St Petersburg, 1874), T xlvii, 93]

June–Nov 1872

ed. T1954

Moscow, 26 Jan/7 Feb 1873

xvb, 169

2nd version [arr. pf 4 hands (St Petersburg, 1880), T xlvii, 7]

Dec 1879–Jan 1880

St Petersburg, 1880

St Petersburg, 31 Jan/12 Feb 1881

xvb, 9


Burya [The Tempest], sym. fantasia after Shakespeare, f [arr. pf 4 hands by E. Langer (1875)]

7/19 Aug–10/22 Oct 1873


Moscow, 7/19 Dec 1873

xxiv, 13


Symphony no.3, D (‘Polish’)

5/17 June–1/13 Aug 1875


Moscow, 7/19 Nov 1875



Slavyansky marsh [Slavonic March] (Serbo-Russky marsh), B♭ [arr. pf (1876), T lb]

completed 25 Sept/7 Oct 1876


Moscow, 5/17 Nov 1876

xxiv, 117 [music modified]


Francesca da Rimini, sym. fantasia after Dante, e [arr. pf 4 hands by K. Klindworth (1877)]

Oct–5/17 Nov 1876


Moscow, 25 Feb/9 March 1877

xxiv, 186


Symphony no.4, f

May 1877–26 Dec 1877/7 Jan 1878


Moscow, 10/22 Feb 1878



Suite no.1, D [arr. pf 4 hands (1879), T xlix, 5]

15/27 Aug 1878–22 Aug/3 Sept 1879


Moscow, 8/20 Dec 1879



Capriccio Italien, A [arr. pf 4 hands (1880), T la, 45]

Before 16/28 Jan–12/24 May 1880


Moscow, 6/18 Dec 1880

xxv, 3


Serenade, C, str [arr. pf 4 hands (1881), T lb, 3]

9/21 Sept–14/26 Oct 1880


St Petersburg, 18/30 Oct 1881

xx, 301


1812, festival ov., E♭ [arr. pf, and pf 4 hands (1882)]

After 30 Sept/12 Oct–7/19 Nov 1880


Moscow, 8/20 Aug 1882

xxv, 97 [music modified]

Festival Coronation March, D [arr. pf (1883), T lb, 89]

5/17 March–before 23 March/4 April 1883


Moscow, 23 May/4 June 1883

xxv, 187 [music modified]


Suite no.2, C [arr. pf 4 hands, collab. A. Hubert (1884), T xlix, 85]

July–13/25 Oct 1883


Moscow, 4/16 Feb 1884



Suite no.3, G [arr. pf 4 hands (1885), T xlix, 175]

April–19/31 July 1884


St Petersburg, 12/24 Jan 1885

xx, 3

Elegy in honour of Ivan Samarin, G, str [used as Act 4 entr’acte, Hamlet, 1891]

2/14–6/18 Nov 1884


Moscow, 16/28 Dec 1884

xxvi, 5


Manfred, sym. after Byron, b [arr. pf 4 hands, collab. A. Hubert (1886), T xlviii, 5]

April–22 Sept/4 Oct 1885


Moscow, 11/23 March 1886


Jurists’ March, D

Oct–5/17 Nov 1885


St Petersburg, 5/17 Dec 1895

xxvi, 15


Suite no.4, G (‘Mozartiana’) [based on works by Mozart]

17/29 June–28 July/9 Aug 1887


Moscow, 14/26 Nov 1887

xx, 225


Symphony no.5, e

?9/21 May–14/26 Aug 1888


St Petersburg, 5/17 Nov 1888



Hamlet, fantasy ov. after Shakespeare, f

June–7/19 Oct 1888


St Petersburg, 12/24 Nov 1888

xxvi, 47


Voyevoda, sym. ballad, after A. Mickiewicz, a

Sept 1890–22 Sept/4 Oct 1891

St Petersburg, 1897

Moscow, 4/18 Nov 1891

xxvi, 153


Shchelkunchik [The Nutcracker], suite from the ballet [arr. pf (1897)]

Jan–8/20 Feb 1892


St Petersburg, 7/19 March 1892

Symphony no.7, E♭ [unfinished; sketches used for Pf Conc. no.3, and for Andante and Finale, pf, orch; restored and completed by S.S. Bogatïryov]

May–Dec 1892

ed. S.S. Bogatïryov, 1961

Moscow, 7 Feb 1957


Symphony no.6, b (‘Pathétique’) [arr. pf 4 hands (1893), T xlviii, 131]

4/16 Feb–19/31 Aug 1893


St Petersburg, 16/28 Oct 1893


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Solo instrument and orchestra

View large


Title, forces



First performance




Piano Concerto no.1, b♭

Nov 1874–9/21 Feb 1875


Boston, 13/25 Oct 1875

xxviii, 5

arr. 2 pf


xlvia, 5


Sérénade mélancolique, b, vn, orch

Jan–Feb 1875


Moscow, 16/28 Jan 1876

xxxa, 3

arr. vn, pf


lva, 3


Variations on a Rococo Theme, A, vc, orch

Dec 1876

ed. W. Fitzenhagen, 1889

Moscow, 18/30 Nov 1877

T incl. both orchestral score (xxxb, 5) and red. for vc and pf (lvb) in Tchaikovsky’s original version

arr. vc, pf

ed. W. Fitzenhagen, 1878


Valse-scherzo, C, vn, orch

early 1877


Paris, 20 Sept 1878

xxxa, 19

arr. vn, pf


lva, 15


Violin Concerto, D

5/17 March–30 March/11 April 1878


Vienna, 4 Dec 1881

xxxa, 39

arr. vn, pf


lva, 39


Piano Concerto no.2, G

10/22 Oct 1879–28 April/10 May 1880


New York, 12 Nov 1881

xxviii, 167

arr. 2 pf


xlvia, 131


Concert Fantasia, G, pf, orch

June–24 Sept/6 Oct 1884


Moscow, 22 Feb/6 March 1885

xxix, 5

arr. 2 pf


xlvib, 5


Pezzo capriccioso, b, vc, orch

12/24 Aug–30 Aug/11 Sept 1887


Paris, 28 Feb 1888

xxxb, 51

arr. vc, pf


lvb, 43


Piano Concerto no.3, E♭ [1 movt; also named Allegro de concert and Konzertstück]

23 June/5 July–3/15 Oct 1893


St Petersburg, 7/19 Jan 1895

xxix, 161

arr, 2 pf


xlvib, 73


Andante, B♭, Finale, E♭, pf, orch [unfinished; completed and orchd S. Taneyev]

? begun 1891

St Petersburg, 1897

St Petersburg, 8/20 Feb 1896

lxii, 3


arr. 2 pf

St Petersburg, 1897

lxii, 137

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View large


Title, forces



First performance






Na son gryadushchiy [At Bedtime] (N. Ogaryov), unacc. chorus [arr. mixed chorus, orch (1960), T, xxvii, 455, xxxiii, 201]


ed. 1941

xliii, 5

K radosti [To Joy] (cant., Schiller: An die Freude, trans. K. Aksakov and others), S, A, T, B, SATB, orch

Nov–Dec 1865

ed. 1960

St Petersburg Conservatory, 29 Dec 1865/10 Jan 1866

xxvii, 3, xxxiii, 3

Priroda i lyubov′ [Nature and Love] (Tchaikovsky), S, S, A, chorus, pf

Dec 1870


Moscow, 16/28 March 1871

xliii, 59

Vesna [Spring], S, S, A, women’s chorus



Cantata in commemoration of the bicentenary of the birth of Peter the Great (Ya. Polonsky), T, chorus, orch

Feb–March 1872

ed. 1960

Moscow, 31 May/12 June 1872

xxvii, 189, xxxiii, 85

Pubd in T with new text by S. Gorodetsky; music modified

Chorus in celebration of the golden jubilee of Osip Petrov (N. Nekrasov), T, chorus, orch

by 17/29 Dec 1875

ed. 1960

St Petersburg Conservatory, 24 April/6 May 1876

xxvii, 341, xxxiii, 151

Vecher [Evening] (Tchaikovsky), unacc. chorus, 1st version, in C

by 1876

by 1876


Liturgy of St John Chrysostom, unacc. chorus [arr. pf, 1879]

May–August 1878


Kiev, June 1879

lxiii, 17

Cantata, unacc. 3-pt. women’s chorus [text by student of the Patriotic Institute]

Aug–Sept 1880


Vecher [Evening] (N.N. [Tchaikovsky]), unacc. 3-pt. men’s chorus, 2nd version, in G

by 13/25 Dec 1881


xliii, 9


Vesper Service, unacc. chorus (17 harmonizations of liturgical songs) [also with pf acc. (1882)]

May 1881–7/19 Dec 1882


Moscow, 27 June/9 July 1882

lxiii, 67

Moskva [Moscow] (coronation cant., A. Maykov), Mez, Bar, chorus, orch

9/21 March –24 March/5 April 1883

vs, 1885; fs, 1888

Moscow, Kremlin, 15/27 May 1883

xxvii, 361, xxxiii, 161 (vs)

9 sacred pieces, unacc. mixed chorus [also with pf acc., 1885]:


lxiii, 203

Kheruvimskaya pesnya [Cherubic Hymn], F

Nov 1884

Moscow, 17 Feb/1 March 1886

Kheruvimskaya pesnya, D

Nov 1884

Moscow, 2/14 Nov 1903

Kheruvimskaya pesnya, C

Nov 1884

Moscow, 22 Oct/3 Nov 1891

Tebe poyom [We Sing to Thee]

April 1885

Moscow, 17 Feb/1 March 1886

Dostoyno est′ [It is Truly Fitting]

April 1885

Moscow, 2/14 Nov 1903

Otche nash [Our Father]

April 1885

Moscow, 12/24 Dec 1893

Blazhenni yazhe izbral [Blessed are They, whom Thou hast Chosen]

April 1885

Moscow, 17 Feb/1 March 1886

Da ispravitsya [Let my Prayer Ascend], S, S, A, SATB

April 1885

Moscow, 17 Feb/1 March 1886

Nïne silï nebesnïye [Now the Powers of Heaven]

April 1885

Moscow, 28 March/9 April 1891

Hymn in honour of SS Cyril and Methodius (Tchaikovsky), unacc. chorus, based on a Cz. hymn [arr. pf (1885)]

6/18–8/20 March 1885


Moscow Conservatory, 6/18 April 1885

lxiii, 263

Jurist’s Song in honour of the 50th anniversary of the School of Jurisprudence (Tchaikovsky) unacc. chorus

by 27 Sept/9 Oct 1885


St Petersburg, 5/17 Dec 1885

lxiii, 265

Otche nash [Our Father]

late 1880s


lxiii, 270

Blazhen, kto ulïbayetsya [Blessed is he who Smiles] (K. Romanov), unacc. 4-pt. men’s chorus

7/19 Dec 1887


Moscow, 8/20 March 1892

xliii, 14

Angel vopiyashe [An Angel Cried Out], unacc. chorus

18 Feb/2 March 1887

ed. 1906

Moscow, 8/20 March 1887

lxiii, 255

Nochevala tuchka zolotaya [The Golden Cloud has Slept] (M.Y. Lermontov), unacc. chorus

5/17 July 1887

ed. 1922

xliii, 12

A greeting to Anton Rubinstein for his golden jubilee as an artist (Ya. Polonsky), unacc. chorus

20 Sept/2 Oct–30 Sept/12 Oct 1889


St Petersburg, Hall of the Court Assembly, 18/30 Nov 1889

xliii, 18


Legenda [Legend] (A.N. Pleshcheyev), unacc. chorus [arr. of solo song]

Jan 1889


St Petersburg, 19/31 March 1889

lxiii, 267

Solovushka [The Nightingale] (Tchaikovsky), unacc. chorus

by 15/27 Dec 1889


Moscow, 13/25 Dec 1892

xliii, 23

Ne kukushechka vo sïrom boru [’Tis not the Cuckoo in the Damp Pinewood] (N. Tsïganov), unacc. chorus

by 14/26 Feb 1891


xliii, 26

Bez porï, da bez vremeni [Without Time, Without Season] (Tsïganov), unacc. 4-pt, women’s chorus

by 14/26 Feb 1891


xliii, 34

Chto smolknul veseliya glas [The Voice of Mirth Grew Silent] (A.S. Pushkin), unacc. 4-pt, male chorus

by 14/26 Feb 1891


xliii, 30

Noch′ [Night] (Tchaikovsky), SATB, pf [reworking of part of Mozart’s Fantasia in c k475]

1/13–3/15 March 1893


Moscow Conservatory, 9/21 Oct 1893

xliii, 43

View large

Chamber music


Adagio, C, 4 hn, 1863–4, T lviii, 10

Adagio, F, 2 fl, 2 ob, 2 cl, eng hn, b cl, 1863–4, T lviii, 26

Adagio molto, E♭, str qt, hp, 1863–4, T lviii, 14

Allegretto, E, str qt, 1863–4, T lviii, 4

Allegretto moderato, D, str trio, 1863–4, T lviii, 3

Allegro, c, pf sextet (pf, 2 vn, va, vc, db), 1863–4, T lviii, 17

Allegro vivace, B♭, str qt, 1863–4, T lviii, 6

Andante ma non troppo, e, prelude, str qt, 1863–4, T lviii, 11

Andante molto, G, str qt, 1863–4, T lviii, 9

String Quartet, B♭ [1 movt only], 15/27 Aug – 31 Oct/11 Nov 1865, ed. (1940), T xxxi, 3


String Quartet no.1, D [Andante cantabile arr. vc, str orch by Tchaikovsky, Feb 1888, ed. (1956), T xxxb, 73], Feb 1871 (1872), T xxxi, 25


String Quartet no.2, F, completed by 18/30 Jan 1874, parts (1875), score (1876), T xxxi, 63


String Quartet no.3, e♭ [Andante funebre arr. vn, pf by Tchaikovsky, 1877 (1877), T lva, 143], early Jan–18 Feb/1 March 1876 (1876), T xxxi, 115


Souvenir d’un lieu cher, vn, pf, March–May 1878 (1879), T lva, 105

1 Méditation, d

2 Scherzo, c

3 Mélodie, E♭


Piano trio, a, Dec 1881–28 Jan/9 Feb 1882 (1882), T xxxiia


Souvenir de Florence, str sextet, D, 12/24 June–Aug 1890 (sketches begun in 1887); rev. Dec 1891–Jan 1892 (1892), T xxxiib


for solo piano unless otherwise stated


Valse [Anastasiya valse], 1854, facs. in Den′ (21 Oct/2 Nov 1913), suppl.

Piece on the tune ‘Vozle rechki, vozle mostu’ [By the river, by the bridge], Sept–Dec 1862 lost [a musical jest on the pianist Anton Herke, based on music by Konstantin Lyadov]

Allegro, f, 1863–4, inc., T lviii, 205

Theme and variations, a, 1863–4, ed. S. Taneyev (1909), T lia, 3


Sonata, c♯, 1865, ed. S. Taneyev (1900), T lia, 27


Two pieces, March 1867 (1867), T lia, 81

1 Scherzo à la russe, B♭, on Ukrainian folktune [adaptation of 1-movt str qt, B♭]

2 Impromptu, e♭, 1863–4


Souvenir de Hapsal, June–July 1867 (1868), T lia, 105:

1 Ruines d’un château, e

2 Scherzo, F

3 Chant sans paroles, F

Potpourri on themes from the opera Voyevoda, 1868 (1868) [pubd under pseud. Cramer], T lib, 197


Valse caprice, D, Oct 1868 (1868), T lib, 3


Romance, f, Nov 1868 (1868), T lib, 23


Valse-scherzo [no.1], A, by 3/15 Feb 1870 (1870), T lib, 31


Capriccio, G♭, by 3/15 Feb 1870 (1870), T lib, 43


Trois morceaux, by 26 Oct/7 Nov 1870 (1871), T lib, 57:

1 Rêverie, D

2 Polka de salon, B♭

3 Mazurka de salon, d [reworking of mazurka from incid music to Dmitry Samozvanets i Vasily Shuysky]


Deux morceaux, Dec 1871/Jan 1872 (1876), T lib, 81:

1 Nocturne, F, pubd separately (1874)

2 Humoresque, e, pubd separately (1875) [arr. vn, pf by Tchaikovsky, 1877, T lva, 137]


Six morceaux, by 29 Oct/8 Nov 1873 (1874), T lib, 91:

1 Rêverie du soir, g

2 Scherzo humoristique, D

3 Feuillet d’album, D

4 Nocturne, c♯ [arr. vc, small orch by Tchaikovsky, Feb 1888, T xxxb, 83]

5 Capriccioso, B♭

6 Thème original et variations, F


Six morceaux, composés sur un seul thème, by 28 Nov/10 Dec 1873 (St Petersburg, 1873), T lib, 139:

1 Prélude, B

2 Fugue à 4 voix, g♯

3 Impromptu, c♯

4 Marche funèbre, a♭

5 Mazurque, a♭

6 Scherzo, A♭


Les saisons, Dec 1875–Nov 1876 (1876), T lii, 3:

1 Janvier: Au coin du feu, A

2 Février: Carnaval, D

3 Mars: Chant de l’alouette, g

4 Avril: Perce-neige, B♭

5 Mai: Les nuits de mai, G

6 Juin: Barcarolle, g

7 Juillet: Chant du faucheur, E♭

8 Août: La moisson, b

9 Septembre: La chasse, G

10 Octobre: Chant d’automne, d

11 Novembre: Troika, E

12 Décembre: Noël, A♭

Funeral March on themes from opera The Oprichnik, pf 4 hands, 7/19–16/28 March 1877, lost

March for the Volunteer Fleet, C, 24 April/6 May 1878 (1878) [pubd under pseud. P. Sinopov], T lii, 65


Album pour enfants: 24 pièces faciles (à la Schumann), ?14/26 Feb–Oct 1878 (1878), T, lii, 139 [Tchaikovsky’s orig. sequence; nos. in brackets indicate Jürgenson’s pubd order]:

1 (1) Prière du matin, G

2 (2) Le matin en hiver, D

3 (4) Maman, G

4 (3) Le petit cavalier, D

5 (5) Marche des soldats de bois, D

6 (9) La nouvelle poupée, B♭

7 (6) La poupée malade, g

8 (7) Enterrement de la poupée, c

9 (8) Valse, E♭

10 (14) Polka, B♭

11 (10) Mazurka, d

12 (11) Chanson russe, F

13 (12) Le paysan prélude, B♭

14 (13) Chanson populaire (Kamarinskaya), D

15 (15) Chanson italienne, D

16 (16) Mélodie antique française, g

17 (17) Chanson allemande, E♭

18 (18) Chanson napolitaine, E♭

19 (19) Conte de la vieille bonne, C

20 (20) La sorcière (Baba Yaga), e

21 (21) Douce rêverie, C

22 (22) Chant de l’alouette, G

23 (24) A l’église, e

24 (23) L’orgue de barberie, G


Douze morceaux (difficulté moyenne), 12/24 Feb–30 April/12 May 1878 (1879), T lii, 73

1 Etude, G

2 Chanson triste, g

3 Marche funèbre, c

4 Mazurka, C

5 Mazurka, D

6 Chant sans paroles, a

7 Au village, a/C

8 Valse, A♭

9 Valse, f♯ [1st version, 4/16 July 1876, T liii, 235; rev. 1878]

10 Danse russe, a

11 Scherzo, d

12 Rêverie interrompue, f


Sonata, G, ?1/13 March–26 July/7 Aug 1878 (1879), T lii, 173

Nathalie-valse, G, 5/17 Aug 1878 (1949), T liii, 32


Six morceaux, Aug–10/22 Sept 1882 (1882), T liii, 3–31, 34:

1 Valse de salon, A♭

2 Polka peu dansante, b

3 Menuetto scherzoso, E♭

4 Natha-valse, A [New version of the Nathalie-valse]

5 Romance, F

6 Valse sentimentale, f

Impromptu-caprice, G, Sept 1884 (Paris, 1885), T liii, 57


Dumka: Russian rustic scene, c, 15/27 Feb–21 Feb/5 March 1886 (1886), T liii, 63

Valse-scherzo [no.2], A, by 16/28 Aug 1889 (1889), T liii, 77

Impromptu, A♭, 20 Sept/2 Oct–30 Sept/12 Oct 1889 (1897), T liii, 85

Aveu passionné, e, ?1892 (Moscow and Leningrad, 1949), T liii, 229 [largely a transcr. of an episode in the sym. ballad The Voyevoda, 1890–91]

Military march [for the Yurevsky Regiment], B♭, 24 March/5 April–5/17 May 1893 (1894), T liii, 91


Dix-huit morceaux, 7/19 April–22 April/4 May 1893 (1893), T liii, 97:

1 Impromptu, f

2 Berceuse, A♭

3 Tendres reproches, c♯

4 Danse caractéristique, D

5 Méditation, D

6 Mazurque pour danser, B♭

7 Polacca de concert, E♭

8 Dialogue, B

9 Un poco di Schumann, D♭

10 Scherzo-fantaisie, e♭

11 Valse bluette, E♭

12 L’espiègle, E

13 Echo rustique, E♭

14 Chant élégiaque, D♭

15 Un poco di Chopin, c♯

16 Valse à cinq temps, D

17 Passé lointain, E♭

18 Scène dansante (invitation au trépak), C

Impromptu (Momento lirico), A♭, 1892 (1894), T lxiii, 295 [inc., completed by Taneyev, sketches in T lxii, suppl.]

Songs and duets

duets in T xliii, songs in T xliv–xlv


Moy geniy, moy angel, moy drug [My Genius, my Angel, my Friend] (A. Fet: K Ofeliy [To Ophelia], c1855–60, ed. in SovM (1940), nos.5–6

Mezza notte (P.I. Tchaikovsky), c1860 (St Petersburg, c1865)

Nochnoy posmotr [The Midnight Review] (V.A. Zhukovsky), c1864, lost


Shest′ romansov [Six Romances], 23 Nov/5 Dec–30 Nov/12 Dec 1869 (1870); Ne ver′, moy drug [Do not believe, my friend] (A.K. Tolstoy); Ni slova, o drug moy [Not a word, O my friend] (A. Pleshcheyev, after M. Hartmann: Molchaniye [Silence]); I bol′no, i sladko [It is both painful and sweet] (E.P. Rostopchina: Slova dlya muzïki [Words for Music]); Slyeza drozhit [A Tear Trembles] (A.K. Tolstoy); Otchevo? [Why?] (L. Mey, after H. Heine: Warum sind dann die Rosen so blas? from Lyrisches Intermezzo); Net, tol′ko tot, kto znal [No, Only One who has Known] (Mey, after J.W. von Goethe: Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, Mignon’s song from Wilhelm Meister) [known in Eng. as None but the Lonely Heart]

Zabït′ tak skoro [To Forget so Soon] (A. Apukhtin), before 26 Oct/7 Nov 1870 (1873)

Pesn′ Zemfirï [Zemfira’s song] (A.S. Pushkin: Tsïganï [The Gypsies]), ?1870s, ed. in SovM (1940), nos.5–6


Shest′ romansov [Six Romances], ?Dec 1872 (St Petersburg, 1873): Kolïbel′naya pesnya [Cradle Song] (A. Maykov, from cycle Novogrecheskiye pesni [New Greek Songs]), arr. pf, 1873, T lib, 181; Pogodi! [Wait!] (N. Grekov); Poymi khot raz [Accept this Once] (Fet: Anruf an die Geliebte of Beethoven from the cycle Melodies); O, spoy zhe tu pesnyu [O Sing that Song] (Pleshcheyev, after F. Hemans: Mother O Sing me to Rest), arr. pf, 1873, T lib, 184, and vn, pf, 1873; Tak chto zhe? [So what, then?] (N.N. [Tchaikovsky]), arr. pf, 1873, T lib, 189; Novogrecheskaya pesnya [New Greek Song] (Maykov, from Novogrecheskiye pesni [New Greek songs])

Unosi moyo serdtse [Take my Heart Away] (Fet: Pevitse [To the Songstress]), by 29 Sept/11 Oct 1873, ed. in Nuvellist (1873), no.11

Glazki vesnï golubïye [Blue Eyes of Spring] (M. Mikhaylov, after Heine: Die blauen Frühlingsaugen), by 29 Sept/11 Oct 1873, ed. in Nuvellist (1874), no.1


Shest′ romansov [Six Romances], Feb–March 1875 (St Petersburg, 1875): Primiren′ye [Reconciliation] (N. Shcherbina); Kak nad goryacheyu zoloy [As Over Burning Embers] (F. Tyutchev); Pesn′ Min′onï [Mignon’s Song] (Tyutchev, after Goethe: Kennst du das Land, from Wilhelm Meister); Kanareyka [The Canary] (Mey); Ya s neyu nikogda ne govoril [I Never Spoke to Her] (Mey, from cycle Oktavï [Octaves]); Kak naladili: Durak [As they Kept Saying: Fool] (Mey: Pesnya [Song])


Shest′ romansov [Six Romances], ?March–before 8/20 April 1875 (1875): Na son gryadushchiy [At Bedtime] (N. Ogaryov); Smotri, von oblako! [Look, the Cloud there!] (N. Grekov; Stansï [Stanzas]); Ne otkhodi ot menya! [Do not Leave Me!] (Fet, from Melodii [Melodies]); Vecher [Evening] (Mey, after T. Shevchenko); Ali mat′ menya rozhala [Did my Mother Bear Me?] (Mey, after A. Mickiewicz: Pesnya [A Song]); Moya balovnitsa [My Little Favourite] (Mey, after Mickiewicz: Pieszczotka moja); rev. later


Shest′ romansov [Six Romances], by 11/23 April 1875 (1875): Net, nikogda ne nazovu [No, I Shall Never Tell] (Grekov, after A. de Musset: Chanson de fortunio); Korol′ki [The Little Corals] (Mey, after L.-V. Kondratowicz); Zachem? [Why?] (Mey); On tak menya lyubil [He loved me so] (?A. Apukhtin); Ni otzïva, ni slova, ni priveta [Neither Response, nor Word, nor Greeting] (Apukhtin); Strashnaya minuta [The Fearful Moment] (N.N. [Tchaikovsky])

Khotel bï v edinoye slovo [I should like in a single word] (Mey, after a poem in Heine’s Die Heimkehr), before 3/15 May 1875, ed. in Nuvellist (1875), no.9

Ne dolgo nam gulyat [We have not far to walk] (Grekov), before 3/15 May 1875, ed. in Nuvellist (1875), no.11

Sobaka nizkaya [Lowly Dog] (Tchaikovsky), jesting song, 1876, MS Moscow, State Central Archive for Literature and Art, fond 1336, Opis 1, ed. khr 16, listy 4, 14, text in TW v, 416


Shest′ romansov [Six Romances] 11/23 Feb–13/25 July 1878 (1878): Serenada Don-Zhuana [Don Juan’s Serenade] (A.K. Tolstoy: Don Zhuan); To bïlo ranneyu vesnoy [It was in the early spring] (A.K. Tolstoy); Sred′ shumnovo bala [Amid the din of the ball] (A.K. Tolstoy); O, esli b tï mogla [O, if only you could] (A.K. Tolstoy); Lyubov′ mertvetsa [The love of a dead man] (M.Y. Lermontov); Pimpinella (N.N. [Tchaikovsky]), from a Florentine popular song)


Shest′ duetov [Six Duets], 4/16 June–24 Aug/5 Sept 1880 (1881): Vecher [Evening] (I. Surikov), S, Mez; Shotlandskaya ballada [Scottish ballad] (A.K. Tolstoy trans.: Edward), S, Bar; Slyozï [Tears] (Tyutchev), S, Mez; V ogorode, vozle brodu [In the garden, near the ford] (Surikov, after Shevchenko), S, Mez; Minula strast′ [The Passion has Passed] (A.K. Tolstoy), S, T; Rassvet [Dawn] (Surikov), S, Mez, orchd, T xxvii, 473


Sem′ romansov [Seven Romances], July–before 30 Aug/11 Sept 1880 (1881): Kabï znala ya [If only I had known] (A.K. Tolstoy); Gornimi tikho letela dusha nebesami [Calmly the spirit flew up to heaven] (A.K. Tolstoy); Na zemlyu sumrak pal [Dusk fell on the earth] (N. Berg, after Mickiewicz); Usni, pechal′nïy drug [Sleep, poor Friend] (A.K. Tolstoy); Blagoslavlyayu vas, lesa [I Bless you, Forests] (A.K. Tolstoy, from John Damascene); Den′ li tsarit? [Does the day reign?] (Apukhtin), orchd 12/24 Feb 1888, lost; Ya li v pole da ne travushka bïla? [Was I not a little blade of grass?] (Surikov: Malorossyskaya pesnya [Ukrainian song]), orchd by 25 Sept/7 Oct 1884, T xxvii, 489


Shestnadtsat′ pesen dlya detey [Sixteen Songs for Children], nos.1–15, late Oct–3/15 Nov 1883, no.16, 7/19 Jan 1881; nos.1–16 (1884): Babushka i vnuchek [Granny and Grandson] (A.N. Pleshcheyev, after L. Kondratowicz); Ptichka [The Little Bird] (Pleshcheyev, after Kondratowicz); Vesna (Travka zeleneyet) [Spring (The Grass is Turning Green)] (Pleshcheyev: Sel′skaya pesnya [Country Song], trans. from Pol.); Moy sadik [My Little Garden] (Pleshcheyev); Legenda [Legend] (Pleshcheyev, from an Eng. source), orchd 2/14 April 1884 (1890), T xxvii, 501, arr. unacc. mixed chorus Jan 1889 (?1890), T lxiii, 267; Na beregu [On the Bank] (Pleshcheyev: Kartinka [A Picture]; Zimniy vecher [Winter Evening] (Pleshcheyev); Kukushka [The Cuckoo] (Pleshcheyev: Basnya [Fable], after C. Gellert); Vesna (Uzh tayet sneg) [Spring (The Snow is Already Melting)] (Pleshcheyev); Kolïbel′naya pesn′ y buryu [Lullaby in a Storm] (Pleshcheyev); Tsvetok [The Little Flower] (Pleshcheyev, after L. Ratisbonne); Zima [Winter] (Pleshcheyev: Iz zhizni [From Life]); Vesennyaya pesnya [Spring Song] (Pleshcheyev); Osen′ [Autumn] (Pleshcheyev); Lastochka [The Swallow] (Surikov, after T. Lenartowicz); Detskaya pesenka [Children’s Song] (K. Aksakov) (1881)


Shest′ romansov [Six Romances], no.1, ?early 1884; nos.2–3, Sept/Oct 1884; nos.4–6, 19 Nov/1 Dec–1/13 Dec 1884; nos.1–6 (1885): Skazhi, o chom v teni vetvey [Tell me, what in the shade of the branches] (V. Sollogub); Na nivï zhyoltïye [On the golden cornfields] (A.K. Tolstoy); Ne sprashivay [Do not Ask] (A. Strugovshchikov, after Goethe: Heiss mich nicht reden, from Wilhelm Meister); Usni! [Sleep!] (D. Merezhkovsky); Smert′ [Death] (Merezhkovsky); Lish tï odin [Only thou Alone] (Pleshcheyev, after A. Kristen)


Dvenadtsat′ romansov [Twelve Romances], 19/31 Aug–8/20 Sept 1886; nos.1–6 (1886), nos.7–12 (1887): Vcherashnyaya noch′ [Last Night] (A. Khomyakov: Nachtstück); Ya tebe nichevo ne skazhu [I’ll Tell you Nothing] (Fet: Romans [Romance], from Melodii [Melodies]); O, esli b znali vï [O, if Only you Knew] (Pleshcheyev, after S. Prudhomme); Solovey [The Nightingale] (Pushkin, from Pesni zapadnïkh slavyan [Songs of the Western Slavs], after V.S. Karadžić: Tri velichayshikh pechali [The Three Greatest Sorrows]); Prostïye slova [Simple Words] (N.N. [Tchaikovsky]); Nochi bezumnïye [Frenzied Nights] (Apukhtin); Pesn′ tsïganki [Gypsy Song] (Ya. Polonsky); Prosti [Forgive] (N. Nekrasov); Noch′ [Night] (Polonsky); Za oknom v teni melkayet [Behind the Window in the Shadow] (Polonsky: Vizov [The Summons]); Podvig [The Heroic Deed] (Khomyakov); Nam zvyozdï krotkiye siyali [The mild stars shone for us] (Pleshcheyev: Slova dlya muzïki [Words for Music])


Shest′ romansov [Six Romances] (K. Romanov), Nov–Dec 1887 (1888): Ya snachala tebya ne lyubila [I did not love you at first]; Rastvoril ya okno [I opened the window]; Ya vam ne nravlyus [I do not please you]; Pervoye svidaniye [The first meeting]; Uzh gasli v komnatakh ogni [The fires in the rooms were already out]; Serenada (O ditya, pod okoshkom tvoim) [Serenade (O child, beneath thy window)]


Six mélodies (Fr. texts, trans. A. Gorchakova), sum.–10/22 Oct 1888 (1889): Sérénade (Où vas-tu, souffle d’aurore) (E. Turquéty: Aurore); Déception (P. Collin); Sérénade (J’aime dans le rayon de la limpide aurore) (Collin); Qu’importe que l’hiver (Collin); Les larmes (A.-M. Blanchecotte); Rondel (Collin)


Shest′ romansov [Six Romances] (D. Rathaus), 22 April/5 May–5/17 May 1893 (1893): Mï sideli s toboy [We Sat Together] (from cycle Romansï [Songs]); Noch′ [Night]; V etu lunnuyu noch′ [On this Moonlit Night]; Zakatilos solntse [The Sun has Set]; Sred′ mrachnïkh dney [Amid Sombre Days] (from cycle Romansï [Songs]); Snova, kak prezhde, odin [Again, as Before, Alone]

Kto idyot? [Who Goes?] (Apukhtin), lost

Arrangements and editions

C.M. von Weber

Scherzo, Pf Sonata, op.39 (j199), orchd 1863, T lviii, 121

L. van Beethoven

Pf Sonata, op.31 no.2, orchd ?1863

4 versions

L. van Beethoven

exposition, Vn Sonata, op.47 (‘Kreutzer’), orchd 1863–4, T lviii, 177

J. Gungl

Valse: Le retour, pf, orchd 1863–4, T lix, 17

R. Schumann

Adagio and Allegro brillante from Symphonische Etüden, op.13, orchd 1864, T lviii, 136

K. Kral

Triumphal March, pf, orchd May 1867

A.S. Dargomïzhsky

Malorossiyskiy kazachok [Little Russian Kazachok], fantasia, arr. pf 1868, T lx, 3

E. Tarnovskaya

Ya pomnyu vsyo [I Remember Everything], song transcr. pf by Dubuque, arr. pf 4 hands 1868, T lx, 31

50 Russ. folksongs, arr. pf 4 hands, ?aut. 1868 (nos.1–25), and by 25 Sept/7 Oct 1869 (nos.26–50) [1–25 taken mostly from the collection of K. Villebois (1860)

25–50 taken mostly from M.A. Balakirev’s collection (1886)

no.23 collected by A. Ostrovsky, nos.24, 47, collected by Tchaikovsky], T lxi, 3

A. Rubinstein

Ivan Grozny [Ivan the Terrible], musical picture, orch, arr. pf 4 hands, 26 Sept/8 Oct–30 Oct/11 Nov 1869, T lx, 39

A.I. Dubuque

Maria-Dagmar, polka, pf, orchd ?1866, T lix, 24

A.S. Dargomïzhsky

Nochevala tuchka zolotaya [The Golden Cloud has Slept], 3vv, pf, pf pt. orchd ?1876, T lix, 319

A. Rubinstein

Don Quixote, musical picture, orch, arr. pf 4 hands 1870, T lx, 93

A. Stradella

O del mio dolce, aria, 1v, pf, orchd 29 Oct/10 Nov 1870, T lix, 269

D. Cimarosa

Trio, Le faccio un inchino, from Il matrimonio segreto, orch from vs 1870, T lix, 276

C.M. von Weber

Finale (Perpetuum mobile) from Pf Sonata no.1 j138, 1871, T lx, 14

V. Prokunin

66 Russ. folksongs, ed. 1872, T lxi, 61

M.A. Mamontova

A Collection of Children’s Songs on Russ. and Ukrainian Melodies, harmonized by 26 Aug/7 Sept 1872 (1st issue, 24 songs, pubd 1872), and by May 1877 (2nd issue of 19 songs, pubd 1949, T lxi, 169


Gaudeamus igitur, arr. for 4-pt. men’s chorus, pf 1874, T lx, 188

J. Haydn

Gott erhalte, Austrian national anthem, orchd by 12/24 Feb 1874, T lix, 35

R. Schumann

Ballade vom Haideknaben, op.122 no.1, declamation, 1v, pf, orchd 28 Feb/11 March 1874, T lix, 43

F. Liszt

Der König in Thule, 1v, pf, orchd 22 Oct/3 Nov 1874, T lix, 305

M.I. Glinka

S nebesi uslïshi [From the Heavens Hearken], 4vv, underlaid text, before 15/27 Dec 1877 (1878)

D.S. Bortnyans′ky

Polnoye sobraniye dukhovno-musikal′nikh sochineniy [Complete church music], ed. 20 June/3 July–27 Oct/8 Nov 1881

M.I. Glinka

couplets on a theme from A Life for the Tsar, linked with the Russian national anthem, 29 Jan/9 Feb–4/16 Feb 1882

W.A. Mozart

4 pieces, usually known as Suite no.4 (‘Mozartiana’): Gigue (k574); Minuet (k355); Ave verum corpus (k618); Theme and 10 variations on a theme of Gluck from La rencontre imprévue (k455), orchd 17/29 June–28 July/9 Aug 1887, T xx, 225

H. Laroche

Karmozina, fantasy ov., pf, orchd 15/27 Aug–9/21 Sept 1888, T lix, 60

S. Menter (?collab. F. Liszt)

Ungarische Zigeunerweisen, pf, arr. pf, orch 1893, T lix, 179


  • Edition: P.I. Chaykovsky: Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy: literaturnïye proizvedeniya i perepiska [Complete works: literary works and correspondence], 1–17 (Moscow, 1953–81) [vols.i and iv not pubd; vols.v–xvii contain letters] [TW]
  • Rukovodstvo k prakticheskomu izucheniyu garmoniy [Guide to the practical study of harmony], completed 2/14 Aug 1871 (Moscow, 1872); TW iiia, 3–163
  • ‘Pis′mo v redaktsiyu “Golosa”’ [Letter to the editor of ‘The Voice’], Sanktpeterburgskiye vedomosti (1/13 March 1873); TW ii, 374 only
  • ‘Betkhoven i yego vremya’ [Beethoven and his time], Grazhdanin (1873), nos.7, 8, 11, 12; TW iiib, 485–520
  • ‘“Zhizn′ za Tsarya” na milanskoi stsene’ [‘A Life for the Tsar’ on the Milan stage], Russkiye vedomosti (25 May/6 June 1874); TW ii, 374–9
  • Kratkiy uchebnik garmoniy, prisposoblennïy k chteniyu dukhovno-muzïkal′nikh sochineniy v Rossiy [A short manual of harmony, adapted to the study of religious music in Russia], 1874 (Moscow, 1875); TW iiia, 164–217
  • ‘Pis′mo v redaktsiyu gazety “Russkiye vedomosti”’ [Letter to the editor of the newspaper ‘The Russian News’], Russkiye vedomosti (15/27 May 1875); TW xvii, 265–7
  • ‘Poslediye dni zhizni N.G. Rubinshteyna’ [The last days in the life of N.G. Rubinstein], Moskovskiye vedomosti (23 March/4 April 1881); Russkiye vedomosti (24 March/5 April 1881); TW x, 65–7
  • ‘Redaktoru-izdatelyu zhurnala “Muzykal′noye obozreniye” V.V. Besselyu’ [To the editor-publisher of the journal ‘Music Review’ V.V. Bessel], Muzykal′noye obozreniye (24 Dec 1886/5 Jan 1887), TW xiii, 545–6
  • ‘Wagner and his Music’, Morning Journal [New York] (3 May 1891); Russ. trans., TW ii, 329–30
  • Editing and correcting of musical terms in Slovar′ russkago yazïka [Dictionary of the Russian language], 2–3, Oct 1892–3 (Moscow, 1892–5)
  • ‘Avtobiograficheskoye opisaniye puteshestviya za granitsu v 1888 godu’ [Autobiographical description of a journey abroad in 1888], Russkiy vestnik (1894), no.2, pp.165–203; TW ii, 333–64
  • G.A. Larosh [H. Laroche], ed.: Muzïkal′nïye fel′etonï i zametki Petra Il′icha Chaykovskago (1868–1876 g.) [Musical feuilletons and notes of Tchaikovsky] (Moscow, 1898; rev. 2/1953 by V.V. Yakovlev as Muzïkal′no-kriticheskie stat′i); TW ii, 25–330
  • I.I. Chaykovsky, ed.: Dnevniki P.I. Chaykovskogo [Diaries of Tchaikovsky] (Moscow and Petrograd, 1923/R; Eng. trans. 1945)
  • ‘P.I. Čajkovskijs Autobiographie aus dem Jahre 1889’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 7 (2000), 3–11 [intro by A. Poznansky]
  • ‘U P.I. Chaykovskago’ [with P.I. Tchaikovsky], Novosti dnya, 13/25 April 1892; repr. SovM (1965), no.5, pp.30–34
  • ‘Beseda s Chaykovskom v noyabre 1892 g. v Peterburge’ [A conversation with Tchaikovsky in November 1892 in St Petersburg], Peterburgskaya zhizn′ (12/24 Nov 1892); TW ii, 367–73
  • ‘U avtora “Iolantï”’ [with the composer of Iolanta], Peterburgskaya gazeta (6/18 Dec 1892); repr. SovM (1965), no.5, 34–5
  • ‘Guvernantka Chaykovskago’ [Tchaikovsky’s governess], Novosti i birzhevaya gazeta (14/26 Nov 1896)
  • F.-A. Gevaert: Traité général d’instrumentation (1863), sum. 1865 (1866), TW iiib, 11–360
  • G. Meyerbeer/E. Scribe: Les Huguenots: Urbain’s cavatina ‘Une dame noble et sage’, by 5/17 June 1868 (1868)
  • R. Schumann: Musikalische Haus- und Lebensregeln (1850), by 20 July/1 Aug 1868 (1869), TW iiib, 361–70
  • R. Schumann: ‘Vorwort zu Opus 3’, 1868, TW iiib, 371–6
  • J.C. Lobe: Katechismus der Musik (1851), completed 8/20 Nov 1869 (1870), TW iiib, 377–484
  • Trans. from the Ger. of texts used by A. Rubinstein:
  • 12 persische Lieder, op.34 (F. von Bodenstedt, after Mirza Shafi), by 12/24 Dec 1869 (1870)
  • 4 songs, op.32 nos.1 and 6 and op.33 nos.2 and 4, ?1870–71 (?1871)
  • 6 romances, op.72, ?1870–71 (?1871)
  • 6 romances, op.76, ?1871 (?1872)
  • 3 songs, op.83 nos.1, 5 and 9, ?1871 (?1872)
  • W.A. Mozart/L. da Ponte: Le nozze di Figaro, trans. of da Ponte’s lib, 1875 (1884)
  • Trans. from the It. of 5 texts used by Glinka by 15/27 Dec 1877 (1878): Mio ben, ricordati; Ho perduto il mio tesoro; Mi sento il cor traffigere; Pur nel sonno; Tu sei figlia
  • G.F. Handel: Israel in Egypt, trans. of text (collab. Taneyev), 1886 (1912)


    A: Catalogues and bibliographies
  • P. Jürgenson, ed.: Catalogue thématique des oeuvres de P. Tschaikowsky (Moscow, 1897/R)
  • Yu. Ėngel: ‘Rukopisi Chaykovskago’ [Tchaikovsky’s manuscripts], MS (1916), Khronika, no.20, pp.3–5
  • I. Glebov [B. Asaf′yev], ed.: Proshloye russkoy muzïki: materialï i issledovaniya, i: P.I. Chaykovsky [The past of Russian music: materials and research, i: Tchaikovsky] (Petrograd, 1920)
  • M. Shemanin: ‘Literatura o P.I. Chaykovskom za 17 let (1917–34)’ [Literature about Tchaikovsky, 1917–34], Muzïkal′noye nasledstvo, ed. M.V. Ivanova-Boretskogo (Moscow, 1935), 76–93
  • V. Yakovlev, ed.: Dni i godï P.I. Chaykovskogo: letopis′ zhizni i tvorchestva [Tchaikovsky’s days and years: a chronicle of his life and work] (Moscow and Leningrad, 1940)
  • K. Davïdova and others, eds.: Avtografï P.I. Chaykovskogo v arkhive Doma-Muzeya v Klinu: spravochnik [Tchaikovsky’s autographs in the House Museum at Klin: a guide] (Moscow, 1950–52)
  • G. Andreyeva, ed.: Chaykovskiy Petr Il′ich (1840–1893gg): opis′ dokumental′nykh materialov lichnogo fond no.905 [Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Il′ich (1840–1893): inventory of documentary materials of personal archive no.905] (Moscow, 1955)
  • B.V. Dobrokhotov and V.A. Kiselyov, eds.: Avtografï P.I. Chaykovskogo v fondakh Gosudarstvennogo tsentral′nogo muzeya muzïkal′noy kul′turï imeni M.I. Glinki: katalog-spravochnik [Tchaikovsky’s autographs preserved in the State Central Museum of Musical Culture named after Glinka: catalogue] (Moscow, 1956)
  • G.S. Dombayev, ed.: Muzïkal′noye naslediye P.I. Chaykovskogo: spravochnik [Tchaikovsky’s musical legacy: a guide] (Moscow, 1958)
  • G.S. Dombayev: Tvorchestvo Petra Il′icha Chaykovskogo v materialakh i dokumentakh [The compositions of Tchaikovsky in materials and documents] (Moscow, 1958)
  • Systematisches Verzeichnis der Werke von Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowsky: ein Handbuch für die Musikpraxis (Hamburg, 1973)
    B: Correspondence, diaries, reminiscences
      (i) Tchaikovsky’s letters
    • V.A. Zhdanov, ed.: P. Chaykovsky: Pis′ma k rodnïm [Letters to relatives], i: 1850–1879 (Moscow, 1940)
    • V.A. Zhdanov, ed.: P. Chaykovsky: Pis′ma k blizkim: izbrannoye [Selected letters to relatives] (Moscow, 1955)
    • B.V. Asaf′yev and others, eds.: P. Chaykovsky: Literaturnïye proizvendeniya i perepiska [Literary works and correspondence], Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy, 5–17 (Moscow, 1959–81)
    • G. von Meck, ed.: Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Letters to his Family: an Autobiography (London, 1981)
    • V. Sokolov, ed.: ‘Pis′ma P.I. Chayskovskogo bez kupyur: neizvestnye stranitsï epistolyarii’ [The letters of Tchaikovsky without cuts: unknown pages of his correspondence], P.I. Chaykovsky Al′manakh, 1 (Moscow, 1995), 118–34; Ger. trans. in Čajkovskij-Studien, iii (1998), 137–62
    • T. Kohlhase: ‘Čajkovskij und die Union Internationale des Compositeurs: ein bisher unbekannter Brief Čajkovskijs von 1884’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 4 (1997), 8–18
    • A. Poznansky: ‘Unknown Tchaikovsky: a Reconstruction of Previously Censored Letters to his Brothers (1875–1879)’, Tchaikovsky and his World, ed. L. Kearney (Princeton, NJ, 1998), 55–96
    • T. Kohlhase: ‘Neue Čajkovskij-Funde’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 6 (1999), 2–16
    (ii) Editions including letters to Tchaikovsky
  • V. Karenin, ed.: ‘V.V. Stasov i P.I. Chaykovsky: neizdannïye pis′ma’ [Unpublished letters], Russkaya mïsl′ (1909), no.3, pp.93–149
  • S. Lyapunov, ed.: Perepiska M.A. Balakireva s P.I. Chaykovskim [Balakirev’s correspondence with Tchaikovsky] (St Petersburg, [1912]); repr. in Mily Alekseyevich Balakirev: vospominaniya i pis′ma, ed. E. Frid (Leningrad, 1962)
  • M. Chaykovsky, ed.: Pis′ma P.I. Chaykovskogo i S.I. Taneyeva [Letters of Tchaikovsky and Taneyev] (Moscow, 1916)
  • V. Yakovlev, ed.: ‘P.I. Chaykovsky i N.G. Rubinshtein (1866–1881)’, Istoriya russkoy muzïki v issledovaniyakh i materialakh, ed. K.A. Kuznetsov, 1 (Moscow, 1924), 153–82 [incl. 22 letters 1870–80]
  • V.A. Zhdanov and N.T. Zhegin, eds.: P.I. Chaykovsky: Perepiska s N.F. fon Mekk [Correspondence with N.F. von Meck] (Moscow and Leningrad, 1934–6)
  • V.V. Yakovlev: ‘Pis′ma Chaykovskogo’ [Tchaikovsky’s letters], Chaykovsky na moskovskoy stsene (Moscow and Leningrad, 1940), 247–486 [incl. correspondence with K. Albrecht, K. Shilovsky, E. Pavlovskaya, I. Shpazhinsky, P. Shchurovsky, S. Flerov, M. Lentovsky, K. Val′ts, A. Fedotov and M. Gerts]
  • V.A. Zhdanov and N.T. Zhegin, eds.: P.I. Chaykovsky: Perepiska s P.I. Yurgensonom [Correspondence with Jurgenson] 1 (Moscow and Leningrad, 1938); ii, ed. V.A. Zhdanov (Moscow, 1952)
  • V. Kiselyov, ed.: ‘Perepiska P.I. Chaykovskogo i G.L. Katuara’ [The correspondence of Tchaikovsky and Catoire], and ‘Perepiska P.I. Chaykovskogo i A.K. Glazunova’ [The correspondence of Tchaikovsky and Glazunov], SovM sbornik, 3 (1945), 45–54; 55–66
  • A.N. Rimsky-Korsakov, ed.: ‘Perepiska P.I. Chaykovskogo i N.A. Rimskogo-Korsakova’ [The correspondence of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov], SovM sbornik, 3 (1945), 121–148
  • V. Zhdanov, ed.: P.I. Chaykovsky, S.I. Taneyev: pis′ma [Letters] (Moscow, 1951)
  • I. Golubovsky, ed.: Aleksandr Il′ich Ziloti: vospominaniya i pis′ma [Ziloti: recollections and letters] (Leningrad, 1963)
  • K. Klindworth: ‘Unveröffentlichte Briefe an Tschaikowsky,’ MG, 15 (1965), 547–51
  • N. Alekseyev, ed.: Chaykovsky i zarubezhnïye muzïkantï: izbrannïye pis′ma inostrannïkh korrespondentov [Tchaikovsky and foreign musicians: selected letters of foreign correspondents] (Leningrad, 1970)
  • [P. Chaykovsky and others]: ‘Pis′ma, dokumentï’ [Letters, documents], SovM (1990), no.6, pp.91–6
  • E. Garden and N. Gotteri, eds.: To my Best Friend: Correspondence between Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von Meck 1876–1878 (Oxford, 1993)
  • T. Kohlhase: ‘Drei bisher unbekannte Briefe Čajkovskijs von 1887, 1891 und 1893, sowie sechs weitere Briefe vom 20. August 1893’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 21–49
  • T. Kohlhase: ‘Ein bisher unbekannter Brief Čajkovskijs vom 11./23. März 1884’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 4 (1997), 8–18
  • T. Kohlhase: ‘Čajkovskijs Briefwechsel mit Dr Friedrich Sieger (Direktor der Frankfurter Museumsgesellschaft) und ein bisher unbekannter Brief vom 6./18. Januar 1891’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 5 (1998), 4–16
  • T. Kohlhase: ‘“Paris vaut bien une messe!” Bisher unbekannte Briefe, Notenautographe und andere Čajkovskij-Funde’, Čajkovskij-Studien, 3 (1998), 163–298
    (iii) Reminiscences
  • M. Ivanov: ‘Pyotr Il′ich Chaykovsky: †26-go oktyabrya 1893 goda’, Novoye vremya (3 and 10 Nov 1893)
  • N. Kashkin: Vospominaniya o P.I. Chaykovskom [Recollections of Tchaikovsky] (Moscow, 1896/R 1954, abridged)
  • V. Bessel: ‘Moi vospominaniya o P.I. Chaykovskom’ [My recollections of Tchaikovsky], EIT 1896–7, suppl.1, pp.19–43
  • N.F. Findeysen: ‘Vospominaniya o Chaykovskom Losova’ [Losov’s recollections of Tchaikovsky], RMG, 4 (1897), 899–900
  • M. Sh—in: ‘Iz vospominaniy o P.I. Chaykovskom’ [From recollections of Tchaikovsky], RMG, 4 (1897), 1051–4
  • B. Fitingof-Shel′ [Fitinhof-Schell]: ‘Al′bom avtografov: XVIII. Pyotr Il′ich Chaykovsky’, Moskovskiye vedomosti (5 Jan 1899)
  • A. Spasskaya: ‘Tovarishcheskaya vospominaniya o P.I. Chaykovskom’ [A colleague’s recollections of Tchaikovsky], RMG, 6 (1899), 1113–18
  • K. de-Lazari [K.N. Konstantinov]: ‘Vospominaniya o Petre Il′yiche Chaykovskom’ [Reminiscences of Tchaikovsky], Rossiya (25 and 31 May, 12 June, 18 July 1900)
  • A. Door: ‘Vospominaniya o P.I. Chaykovskom’ [Reminiscences of Tchaikovsky], Moskovskiye vedomosti (28 March 1901)
  • I. Klimenko: Moi vospominaniya o Petre Il′yiche Chaykovskom [My recollections of Tchaikovsky] (Ryazan, 1908; repr. 1995 in P.I. Chaykovsky al′manakh)
  • V. Ivanov: ‘P.I. Chaykovsky: iz lichnïkh vospominaniy’ [Tchaikovsky: from personal reminiscences], Moskovskiye vedomosti (25 Oct 1909)
  • N. Kashkin: ‘Iz vospominaniy o P.I. Chaykovskom’ [From reminiscences of Tchaikovsky], Proshloye russkoy muzïki (St Petersburg, 1920), 99–132
  • Mme. A. Tchaikovsky [Praskovia Tchaikovskaya]: ‘Recollections of Tchaikovsky’, ML, 21 (1940), 103–9
  • Yu. Davïdov: Zapiski o P.I. Chaykovskom [Memoirs about Tchaikovsky] (Moscow, 1962)
  • V. Protopopov, ed.: Vospominaniya o P.I. Chaykovskom [Recollections of Tchaikovsky] (Moscow, 1962, 2/1973)
  • E. Smythe, A. Brodsky and S. Neuberg-Kashkina: ‘Iz vospominaniy’ [From recollections], SovM (1990), no.6, pp.96–8
  • D. Brown: Tchaikovsky Remembered (London, 1993)
  • E. Kuhn, ed.: Tschaikowsky aus der Nähe: Kritische Würdigungen und Erinnerungen von Zeitgenossen (Berlin, 1994)
  • A. Poznansky, ed.: Tchaikovsky Through Others’ Eyes (Bloomington, IN, 1999)
    C: Essays and monographs
  • N. Kashkin: ‘Dvadtsatipyatiletiye (1865–1890) deyatel′nosti P.I. Chaykovskago’ [25 years (1865–90) of Tchaikovsky’s activity], Russkoye obozreniye (Aug 1890), 815–32
  • N.D. Kashkin: ‘P.I. Chaykovsky (†25 oktyabrya 1893): opït kharakteristiki yego znachenie v russkoy muzïke’ [Tchaikovsky (†25 Oct 1893): an attempt to characterize his significance in Russian music], Russkoye obozreniye (Dec 1893), 986–98
  • V. Baskin: P.I. Chaykovsky (St Petersburg, 1894)
  • G. Laroche and N.D. Kashkin: Na pamyat′ o P.I. Chaykovskom [In memory of Tchaikovsky] (Moscow, 1894)
  • I. Knorr: Peter Jljitsch Tschaikowsky (Berlin, 1900)
  • R. Newmarch: Tchaikovsky: his Life and Works, with Extracts from his Writings, and the Diary of his Tour Abroad in 1888 (London, 1900/R, rev. 2/1908/R by E. Evans)
  • M. Chaykovsky: Zhizn′ Pyotra Il′icha Chaykovskogo: po dokumentam, khranyashchimsya v arkhive imeni pokoynago kompozitora v Klinu [The life of Tchaikovsky: according to documents, preserved in the late composer’s archive at Klin] (Moscow, 2/1901–3/R; Ger. trans., 1903; Eng. trans., abridged, 1906/R)
  • I. Lipayev: Pyotr Il′ich Chaykovsky (Moscow, 1905)
  • E. Evans: Tchaikovsky (London, 1906/R, 3/1966)
  • A. Koptyaev: Istoriya novoy russkoy muzïki v kharakteristikakh, i: P. Chaykovsky (St Petersburg, 2/1913)
  • O. Keller: Peter Tschaikowsky: ein Lebensbild (Leipzig, 1914)
  • I. Glebov [B. Asaf′yev]: P.I. Chaykovsky: yego zhizn′ i tvorchestvo [Tchaikovsky: his life and works] (Petrograd, 1922)
  • R. Stein: Tschaikowskij (Stuttgart, 1927)
  • M. Pekelis: ‘Chto deystvenno dlya nas v Chaykovskom’ [What there really is for us in Tchaikovsky], Muzïka i revolyutsiya (1928), no.11, pp.22–7
  • G. Nikol′skaya: ‘Chaykovsky v muzïkal′noy literature revolyutsionnïkh let’ [Tchaikovsky in the musical literature of the Revolutionary years], Muzïka i revolyutsiya (1928), no.11, pp.51–2
  • A. Ostretsov: Pyotr Il′ich Chaykovsky: sotsialisticheskaya i muzïkal′naya kharakteristika [Socialist and musical characteristics] (Moscow, 1929)
  • D. Zhitomirsky: ‘O simfonizme Chaykovskogo’, SovM (1933), no.6, pp.50–65
  • S. Popov: ‘Novoye o zabïtïkh muzïkal′nïkh proizvedeniyakh P.I. Chaykovskogo’ [New information about forgotten works of Tchaikovsky], SovM (1933), no.6, pp.102–4
  • M.D. Calvocoressi and G. Abraham: Masters of Russian Music (London, 1936/R) [incl. G. Abraham: ‘Peter Tchaikovsky’, 249–334; rev. and repr. 1944/R as Tchaikovsky: a Short Biography)
  • E. Lockspeiser: ‘Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Mme. von Meck’, MQ, 22 (1936), 38–44
  • N. Berberova: Chaykovsky: istoriya odinokoy zhizni [Tchaikovsky: the history of a solitary life] (Berlin, c 1936; Ger. trans., 1938; Fr. trans., 1948) [novelized biography]
  • N. Rukavishnikov: ‘Pushkin v biblioteke P. Chaykovskogo’, SovM (1937), no.1, pp.60–81
  • G. Abraham: ‘Tchaikovsky: some Centennial Reflections’, ML, 21 (1940), 110–19
  • N. van der Pals: Peter Tschaikowsky (Potsdam, 1940)
  • H. Weinstock: Tchaikovsky (New York, 1943/R)
  • G. Abraham, ed.: Tchaikovsky: a Symposium (London, 1945/R, R 1970 as The Music of Tchaikovsky)
  • D. Zhitomirsky: ‘Zametki ob instrumentovke Chaykovskogo’ [Notes on Tchaikovsky’s instrumentation], SovM sbornik, 3 (1945), 10–22
  • D. Shostakovich and others: Russian Symphony: Thoughts about Tchaikovsky (New York, 1947/R)
  • W. Serauky: ‘P.I. Tschaikowsky in seinem Verhältnis zu Romantik und Realismus’, Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Karl-Marx-Universität Leipzig: gesellschafts- und sprachwissenschaftliche Reihe, 1/5 (1951–2), 1–7
  • K. von Wolfurt: Peter Iljitsch Tschaikowski (Zürich, 1952, 2/1978)
  • F. Zagiba: Tschaikovskij: Leben und Werk (Zürich, Leipzig and Vienna, 1953)
  • E.M. Orlova and V.V. Protopopov, eds.: B.V. Asaf′yev: Izbrannïye trudï [Selected works], 2 (Moscow, 1954)
  • K.Yu. Davïdova, V.V. Protopopov and N.V. Tumanina: Muzïkal′noye naslediye P.I. Chaykovskogo: iz istorii yego proizvedeniy [Tchaikovsky’s musical legacy: from the history of his works] (Moscow, 1958)
  • A. Al′shvang: P.I. Chaykovsky (Moscow, 1959, 3/1970)
  • M.R. Hofmann: Tchaikovski (Paris, 1959/R; Eng. trans., 1962)
  • N. Tumanina: Chaykovsky: put′ k masterstvu 1840–1877 [The path to mastery] (Moscow, 1962)
  • G. Erismann: Piotr Illitch Tchaïkovski (Paris, 1964)
  • E. Grosheva, D. Zhitomirsky and T. Sokolova, eds.: Vasily Yakovlev: Izbrannïye trudï o muzïke [Selected works about music], i: P.I. Tchaikovsky (Moscow, 1964)
  • Archimandrite Konstantin: ‘Chaykovsky, natsional′nïy kompozitor: k 125-letiyu yego rozhdeniya: poslesloviye’ [Tchaikovsky, a national composer: on the 125th anniversary of his birth: an afterword], Pravoslavnïy put′ (Jordanville, NY, 1965), 164–92
  • L. and E. Hanson: Tchaikovsky: a New Study of the Man and his Music (London, 1965)
  • N. Tumanina: P.I. Chaykovsky: velikiy master, 1878–1893 [Great master] (Moscow, 1968)
  • V. Tsukkerman: Vïrazitel′nïye sredstva liriki Chaykovskogo [The expressive means of Tchaikovsky’s lyric] (Moscow, 1971)
  • B. Asaf′ev: O muzïke Chaykovskogo: izbrannoye [About Tchaikovsky’s music: a selection] (Leningrad, 1972)
  • E. Garden: Tchaikovsky (London, 1973)
  • J. Warrack: Tchaikovsky (London, 1973)
  • G.B. Bernandt: G.A. Larosh: Izbrannïye stat′i [Selected articles], ii: P.I. Chaykovsky (Leningrad, 1975)
  • D. Brown: Tchaikovsky: a Biographical and Critical Study (London, 1978–91)
  • G. Norris: Stanford, the Cambridge Jubilee and Tchaikovsky (London, 1980)
  • M. Rittikh, ed.: P.I. Chaykovsky i russkaya literatura (Izhevsk, 1980)
  • P. Vaydman: ‘Zamïslï 1887–1888 godov’ [Conceptions of 1887 and 1888], SovM (1980), no.7, pp.84–90
  • Yu. Rozanova: P.I. Chaykovsky, Istoriya russkoy muzïki, ii/3 (Moscow, 1981)
  • H. Zajaczkowski: ‘The Function of Obsessive Elements in Tchaikovsky’s Style’, MR, 43 (1982), 24–30
  • N. Sin′kovskaya: Teatr v zhizni i tvorchestve P.I. Chaykovskogo [Theatre in the life and work of Tchaikovsky] (Izhevsk, 1985)
  • H. Zajaczkowski: Tchaikovsky’s Musical Style (Ann Arbor, 1988)
  • M. Rittikh, ed.: P.I. Chaykovsky: voprosï istorii i stilya [Tchaikovsky: questions of history and style] (Moscow, 1989)
  • Yu. Rozanova, ed.: Chaykovsky: k 150-letiyu so dnya rozhdeniya: voprosï istoriya, teoriya i ispolnitel′stva [Tchaikovsky: on the 150th anniversary of his birth: questions of history, theory and performance] (Moscow, 1990)
  • L. Korabel′nikova: ‘Pis′ma k Chaikovskomu: dialog s ėpokhoi’ [Letters to Tchaikovsky: dialogue with an epoch], SovM (1990), no.6, pp.103–14
  • S. Neef: ‘Was ist der Name meiner Gegenwart? Zum 150 Geburtstag Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowskys’, MG, 40 (1990), 170–77
  • A. Orlova, ed.: Tchaikovsky: a Self-Portrait (Oxford, 1990)
  • Yu. Rozanova, ed.: Chaykovsky: voprosï istorii i teorii: vtoroy sbornik statey [Tchaikovsky: questions of history and style: second collection of articles] (Moscow, 1991)
  • L. Sidel′nikov: P.I. Chaykovsky (Moscow, 1992)
  • J. Brenner: Tchaïkowsky, ou La nuit d’octobre, 1840–1893 (Monaco, 1993)
  • C. Casini and M. Delogu: Čajkovskij: la vita, tutte le composizioni (Milan, 1993)
  • A. Lischke: Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovski (Poitiers, 1993)
  • Tchaikovsky and his Contemporaries: Westport, CT, 7–9 Oct 1993, ed. A. Mihailovic
  • P. Vajdman: ‘Unbekannter Čajkovskij: Entwürfe zu nicht ausgeführten Kompositionen’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 281–97
  • A. Poznansky: ‘Tchaikovsky as Communist Icon’, For S.K.: in Celebration of the Life and Career of Simon Karlinsky (Oakland, CA, 1994), 233–46
  • A. Holden: Tchaikovsky: a Biography (New York, 1995)
  • E. Sorokina and others, eds.: P.I. Chaykovsky: k 100 letiyu so dnya smerti (1893–1993) [Tchaikovsky: on the 100th anniversary of his death] (Moscow, 1995)
  • S. Frolov, ed.: P.I. Chaykovsky: issledovaniya i materialï: sbornik studencheskikh rabot [Studies and materials: a collection of student works] (St Petersburg, 1997)
  • T. Kohlhase: ‘Musikalische Kinderszenen bei Cajkovskij’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 4 (1997), 31–52; repr. in Čajkovskij-Studien, iii (1998), 417–38
  • R. Taruskin: Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays (Princeton, NJ, 1997)
    D: Biographical studies
      (i) Family and close acquaintances
    • M. Delines: ‘Une institutrice française’, Le temps (23 Nov 1896)
    • N. Kashkin: ‘P.I. Chaykovsky i yego zhizneopisaniye’ [Tchaikovsky and his biography], Moskovskiye vedomosti (11 Jan, 14 May, 11 June, 20 Aug 1902; 16 March, 27 June 1903)
    • V.D.: ‘P.I. Yurgenson: biograficheskiy nabrosok’ [Biographical sketch], RMG, 11 (1904), 385–91
    • M. Chaykovsky: ‘German Avgustovich Larosh: 13 maya 1845–7 oktyabrya 1904’, introduction to G.A. Larosh [H. Laroche], Sobraniye muzïkal′no-kriticheskikh statey, 1 (Moscow, 1913), v–xxv
    • N. Kashkin: ‘Vospominaniya o G.A. Laroshe’ [Recollections of Laroche], Sobraniye muzïkal′no-kriticheskikh statey, 1 (Moscow, 1913), xxvi–xlii
    • Yu. Keldïsh, ed.: E.F. Napravnik: avtobiograficheskiye, tvorcheskiye materialï, dokumentï, pis′ma [Napravnik: autobiographical, creative materials, documents, letters] (Leningrad, 1959)
    • V. Yakovlev: ‘Chaykovsky i Apukhtin’, Izbrannïye trudï o musïke [Selected works about music], 1 (Moscow, 1964), 373–8
    • B. Anshakov, ed.: Il′ya Petrovich Chaikovsky: zhizn′ i deyatel′nost′ [Life and activity] (Izhevsk, 1976)
    • B. Anshakov: Brat′ya Chaykovskiye [The Tchaikovsky brothers] (Izhevsk, 1981)
    • L. Barenboim: Nikolay Grigor′yevich Rubinshteyn: istoriya zhizni i deyatel′nosti [Rubinstein: the story of his life and activity] (Moscow, 1982)
    • M. Kogan: ‘Rodoslovnaya’ [Genealogy], SovM (1990), no.6, pp.83–90
    • P. Vaydman: ‘Nachalo: novïye materialï iz arkhiva P.I. Chaykovskogo’ [The beginning: new materials from Tchaikovsky’s archive], Nashe naslediye (1990), no.2, pp.19–22 [about Tchaikovsky’s parents]
    • A. Poznansky: ‘Modest Čajkovskij: in his Brother’s Shadow’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 233–46
    • M. Bobéth: ‘Petr Il′ic Čajkovskij und Hans von Bülow’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 2 (1995), 15–26
    • L. Dianova: ‘“Avtobiografiya” G.A. Larosha: materialï k biografii i portretu uchyonogo’ [Laroche’s ‘Autobiography’: materials for his biography and for a portrait of the scholar], P.I. Chaykovsky: issledovaniya i materialï (St Petersburg, 1997), 76–101
    • K. Grönke, ed.: ‘Genealogische Tafeln Čajkovskij/Assier, Miljukov, Davydov, fon-Mekk’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 4 (1997), 19–30
    (ii) Personal characteristics and outlook
  • D. Brown: ‘Balakirev, Tchaikovsky, and Nationalism’, ML, 42 (1961), 227–41
  • P. Vaydman: Tvorcheskiy arkhiv P.I. Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s creative archive] (Moscow, 1988)
  • O. Zakharova: ‘Chaykovsky chitaet Bibliyu’ [Tchaikovsky reads the Bible], Nashe naslediye (1990), no.2, pp.22–4
  • A. Poznansky: Tchaikovsky: the Quest for the Inner Man (New York, 1991)
  • N. Smith: ‘Perceptions of Homosexuality in Tchaikovsky Criticism’, Context [Melbourne], no.4 (1992–3), 3–9
  • H. Zajaczkowski: ‘On Čajkovskij’s Psychopathology and its Relationship with his Creativity’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 307–28
  • A. Lischke, ed.: Tchaikovski au miroir de ses écrits (n.p., 1996)
  • C. Müller: ‘“Mein Arbeitssystem ist ganz und gar des eines Handwerkers”: Anmerkungen zu Čajkovskijs Schaffensweise’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 5 (1998), 26–46
    (iii) Marriage
  • N.F. Findeyzen: ‘P.I. Chaykovsky v 1877–84 gg.’, RMG, 9 (1902), nos.26–7, 28–9, 30–31, 34–5, 39–40
  • A. Chaykovskaya: ‘Vospominaniya vdovï P.I. Chaykovskago’ [Memoirs of Tchaikovsky’s widow], RMG, 20 (1913), 915–27
  • M. Rukavishnikov: ‘Vstrechi Chaykovskogo s Dezire Arto’ [Tchaikovsky’s meetings with Désirée Artôt], SovM (1937), no.9, pp.43–54
  • V. Sokolov: Antonina Chaykovskaya: istoriya zabïtoy zhizni [Antonina Tchaikovskaya: the story of a forgotten life] (Moscow, 1994)
    (iv) Professional activities other than composition
  • I. Pryanishnikov: ‘P.I. Chaykovsky: kak dirizhyor’ [Tchaikovsky as conductor], RMG, 3 (1896), 1001–8
  • G. Timofeyev: P.I. Chaykovsky v roli muzïkal′nago kritika [Tchaikovsky in the role of music critic] (St Petersburg, 1899)
  • G. Bernandt: ‘Chaykovsky-publitsist’, SovM (1940), no.3, pp.39–44
  • A. Ogolevets: ‘Chaykovsky: avtor uchebnika garmonii’ [Tchaikovsky: author of a texbook on harmony], SovM (1940), nos.5–6, pp.124–9
  • G. Golovinsky: ‘Chaykovsky: muzïkal′nïy kritik’, SovM (1950), no.8, pp.81–6
  • E. Gershovsky: ‘Chaykovsky v departamente yustitsii’ [Tchaikovsky in the department of justice], SovM (1959), no.1, pp.83–8
  • V. Tsukkerman: ‘Ob odnom pedagogicheskom opïte Chaykovskogo’ [Concerning one effort of Tchaikovsky at pedagogy], SovM (1959), no.12, pp.63–78
  • V. Yakovlev: ‘Chaykovsky: dirizhor’, Izbrannïye trudï o muzïke [Collected works about music], 1 (Moscow, 1954), 411–16
  • A. Mann: ‘Tchaikovsky as Teacher’, Music and Civilization: Essays in Honor of Paul Henry Lang, ed. E. Strainchamps, M.R. Maniates and C. Hatch (New York, 1984), 279–96
  • L. Neff: ‘A Documentary Glance at Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov as Music Theorists’, Tchaikovsky and his World, ed. L. Kearney (Princeton, NJ, 1998), 333–54
    (v) Tchaikovsky in particular locales
  • J. Mullen: ‘Tchaikovsky’s Visit to Baltimore’, Maryland Historical Magazine, 34/1 (1939), 41–5
  • B. Gusman: ‘Chaykovsky v Moskve, 1865–1877’, SovM (1939), no.5, pp.48–65
  • V. Korganov: Chaykovsky na Kavkaze [Tchaikovsky in the Caucasus] (Yerevan, 1940)
  • Yu. Davïdov: Klinskiye godï tvorchestva Chaykovskogo [The Klin years of Tchaikovsky’s creativity] (Moscow, 1965)
  • K. Mayburova: Chaykovs′kiy na Ukraïni (Kiev, 1965)
  • V. Fédorov: ‘Čajkovskij et la France: à propos de quelques lettres de Čajkovskij à Félix Mackar’, RdM, 54 (1968), 16–95
  • L. Konisskaya: Chaykovsky v Peterburge (Leningrad, 1969)
  • K. Davïdova: Chaykovsky v Klinu: Maydanovo, Frolovskoye, Klin (Moscow, 1976)
  • B. Anshakov and others: Dom Muzey P.I. Chaykovskogo v Votkinske [The Tchaikovsky home-museum at Votkinsk] (Izhevsk, 1978)
  • M. Kuna: Čajkovskij a Praha [Tchaikovsky and Prague] (Prague, 1980)
  • P.E. Vaydman and B. Anshakov, eds.: P.I. Chaykovsky i Ural [Tchaikovsky and the Urals] (Izhevsk, 1983)
  • E. Yoffe: Tchaikovsky in America: the Composer’s Visit in 1891 (New York, 1986)
  • L. Sidel′nikov and G. Pribegina: 25 Days in America: for the Centenary of Peter Tchaikovsky’s Concert Tour (Moscow, 1991)
  • T. Kohlhase, ed.: ‘Schlagworte, Tendenzen und Texte zur frühen Čajkovskij-Rezeption in Deutschland und Österreich’, Čajkovskij-Studien, 3 (1998), 327–54
  • P. Vaydman: ‘“… hätte mich das Schicksal nicht nach Moskau gestossen”: Beitrag zu einer neuen Čajkovskij-Biographie’, Čajkovskij-Studien, 3 (1998), 557–69
    (vi) Tchaikovsky’s death
  • A. Tuchin: ‘U groba P.I. Chaykovskago’ [At Tchaikovsky’s grave], Moskovskiye vedomosti (28 Oct 1893)
  • ‘Pokhoronï Chaykovskago’ [Tchaikovsky’s burial], Novoye vremya (29 Oct 1893)
  • A. Orlova: ‘Tayna zhizni Chaykovskogo’ [The secret of Tchaikovsky’s life], Novïy Amerikanets, no.39 (1980), 20–21
  • A. Orlova: ‘Tayna smerti Chaykovskogo’ [The secret of Tchaikovsky’s death], Novïy Amerikanets, no.40 (1980), 22–3
  • A. Orlova: ‘Kholera ili samoubiystvo?’ [Cholera or suicide?], Novïy Amerikanets, no.75 (1981), 38–42
  • A. Orlova: ‘Tchaikovsky: the Last Chapter’, ML, 62 (1981), 125–45
  • N. Berberova, M. Brown and S. Karlinsky: ‘Tchaikovsky’s “Suicide” Reconsidered: a Rebuttal’, High Fidelity, 31/8 (1981), 49, 85
  • A. Poznansky: ‘Tchaikovsky’s Suicide: Myth and Reality: a Documentary Study’, 19CM, 11 (1987–8), 199–220
  • N. Berberova: ‘Looking Back at Tchaikovsky ’, Yale Review, 2nd ser., 80/3 (1992), 60–73
  • A. Poznansky: Samoubiystvo Chaykovskogo: mif i real′nost′ [Tchaikovsky’s suicide: myth and reality] (Moscow, 1993)
  • V. Sokolov: ‘Čajkovskijs Tod’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 259–80
  • N. Blinov: Poslednyaya bolezn′ i smert′ P.I. Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s last illness and death] (Moscow, 1994) [pubd with the following]
  • V. Sokolov: Do i posle tragedii [Before and after the tragedy] (Moscow, 1994) [pubd with the preceding]
  • K. Grönke: ‘Čajkovskijs Tod: ein kritischer Literaturbericht’, Mitteilung der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 2 (995), 31–54; rev. in Čajkovskij-Studien, iii (1998), 379–403
  • A. Poznansky: Tchaikovsky’s Last Days (Oxford, 1996)
  • D. Brown: ‘How did Tchaikovsky Die and Does it Really Matter?’, ML, 78 (1997), 581–8
  • A. Poznansky: ‘Čajkovskijs Homosexualität und sein Tod: Legenden und Wirklichkeit’, Čajkovskij-Studien, 3 (1998), 3–135
    E: Stage works
  • V. Bogdanov-Berezovsky: Opernoye i baletnoye tvorchestvo Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s operas and ballets] (Leningrad and Moscow, 1940)
  • A.I. Shaverdian, ed.: Chaykovsky i teatr (Moscow and Leningrad, 1940)
  • V.V. Yakovlev, ed.: Chaykovsky na moskovskoy stsene: pervïye postanovki v godï yego zhizni [Tchaikovsky on the Moscow stage: first performances during his life] (Moscow and Leningrad, 1940)
  • E. Stark and others: P.I. Chaykovsky na stsene Teatra Operï i Baleta imeni S.M. Kirova (b. Mariinsky) [Tchaikovsky on the stage of the Theatre of Opera and Ballet named for Kirov (formerly the Mariinsky)] (Leningrad, 1941)
  • A. Glumov: Muzïka v russkom dramaticheskom teatre: istoricheskiye ocherki [Music in the Russian dramatic theatre: historical essays] (Moscow, 1955)
    (i) Ballet
  • D. Zhitomirsky: Baletï P. Chaykovskogo (Moscow and Leningrad, 1950, 2/1958)
  • C.W. Beaumont: The Ballet called Swan Lake (London, 1952)
  • Yu. Slonimsky: P.I. Chaykovsky i baletnïy teatr yego vremeni [Tchaikovsky and the ballet theatre of his time] (Moscow, 1956)
  • Yu. Slonimsky: ‘Lebedinoye ozero’ P. Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake] (Leningrad, 1962)
  • Yu. Rozanova: Simfonicheskiye printsipï baletov Chaykovskogo [Symphonic principles of Tchaikovsky’s ballets] (Moscow, 1976)
  • E. Grillo: Il lago dei cigni (Rome, 1982)
  • R.J. Wiley: ‘On Meaning in Nutcracker ’, Dance Research, 3/1 (1984), 3–28
  • A. Demidov: ‘Lebedinoye ozero’ [Swan Lake] (Moscow, 1985)
  • R.J. Wiley: Tchaikovsky’s Ballets: Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker (Oxford, 1985, 2/1991)
  • E. Dulova: Baletï P.I. Chaykovskogo i zhanrovaya stilistika baletnoy muzïki XIX veka [Tchaikovsky’s ballets and the genre stylistics of 19th-century ballet music] (Leningrad, 1989)
  • M. Konstantinova: ‘Spyashchaya krasavitsa’ [The Sleeping Beauty] (Moscow, 1990)
  • P. Weber-Bockholdt: ‘Das Rosen-Adagio: Gedanken zur Qualität von Čajkovskijs Ballettmusik’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 299–306
  • G. Dobrovol′skaya: ‘Shchelkunchik’ [The Nutcracker] (St Petersburg, 1996)
    (ii) Opera
  • N. Kashkin: ‘Iolanta: opera v odnom deystvii, Tekst M.I. Chaykovskago, Muz. P.I. Chaykovskago’ [Iolanta: opera in one act, text by M.I. Tchaikovsky, music by P.I. Tchaikovsky], Artist [Moscow] (Dec 1893), 110–14
  • V. Bessel: ‘Neskol′ko slov po povodu vozobnovleniya “Oprichnika” P. Chaykovskago na stsene Mariinskago teatra (iz moikh vospominaniy o Chaykovskom)’ [A few words about the revival of Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Oprichnik’ on the Mariinsky stage (from my recollections of Tchaikovsky)], RMG, 4 (1897), 1717–20
  • I. Al′zutsky: Kritika muzïki i libretto operï ‘Pikovaya dama’ P.I. Chaykovskago i M.I. Chaykovskago (St Petersburg, 1910)
  • S. [Popov]: ‘Pervaya opera Chaykovskogo’ [Tchaikovsky’s first opera], Kul′tura teatra (1921), no.5, pp.27–32 [on The Voyevoda]
  • R. Shapiro, ed.: Pikovaya dama, opera: muzïka P.I. Chaykovskogo: k sorokapyatiletiyu so dnya pervoy postanovki na stsene bïvsh. Mariinskogo teatra 1890–1935 [The Queen of Spades … on the 45th anniversary of the first production on the stage of the former Mariinsky Theatre, 1890–1935] (Leningrad, 1935)
  • I. Remezov: ‘Obrazï Chaykovskogo na opernoy stsene’ [Images of Tchaikovsky on the operatic stage], SovM (1940), nos.5–6, pp.114–32
  • B. Yarustovsky: Opernaya dramaturgiya Chaykovskogo (Moscow, 1947)
  • I. Nest′yev: Mazepa P. Chaykovskogo (Moscow and Leningrad, 1949)
  • V. Vanslov: Cherevichki P. Chaykovskogo [Cherevichki by Tchaikovsky] (Moscow and Leningrad, 1949)
  • V. Ferman: ‘Cherevichki (Kuznets Vakula) Chaykovskogo i Noch′ pered Rozhdestvom Rimskogo-Korsakova: opït sravneniya opernoy dramaturgii i muzïkal′nogo stilya’ [Tchaikovsky’s Cherevichki (Vakula the Smith) and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Christmas Eve: an attempt at comparison of operatic dramaturgy and musical style], Voprosï muzïkoznaniya, 1 (1953–4), 205–38
  • V.V. Protopopov and N.V. Tumanina: Opernoye tvorchestvo Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s operatic works] (Moscow, 1957)
  • N. Sin′kovskaya: Opera P.I. Chaykovskogo ‘Charodeyka’ [The Enchantress] (Moscow, 1959)
  • G. Abraham: ‘Tchaikovsky’s First Opera’, Festschrift Karl Gustav Fellerer zum sechzigsten Geburtstag, ed. H. Hüschen (Regensburg, 1962/R), 12–18 [on The Voyevoda]
  • V.V. Yakovlev: ‘Chaykovsky v poiskakh opernogo libretto’ [Tchaikovsky in search of an opera libretto], Izbrannïye trudï o muzïke, 1 (Moscow, 1964), 379–410
  • V.V. Yakovlev: ‘Modest Il′ich Chaykovsky, avtor opernïkh tekstov’, Izbrannïye trudï o muzïke, 1 (Moscow, 1964), 417–81
  • A. Shol′p: ‘Yevgeny Onegin’ Chaykovskogo (Leningrad, 1982)
  • R. Taruskin: ‘“The Present in the Past”: Russian Opera and Russian Historiography, c1870’, Russian and Soviet Music: Essays for Boris Schwarz, ed. M.H. Brown (Ann Arbor, 1984), 77–146 [on Oprichnik]
  • P. Taylor: Goglian Interludes: Gogol’s Story ‘Christmas Eve’ as the Subject of the Operas by Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov (London, 1984)
  • J. Warrack: ‘Tchaikovsky’s “Mazeppa”’, Opera, 35 (1984), 1309–15
  • L. Krasinskaya: Opernaya melodika P.I. Chaykovskogo: k voprosu o vzaimodeystvii melodii i rechevoy intonatsii [Tchaikovsky’s operatic melody: on the question of the interaction of melody and vocal intonation] (Leningrad, 1986)
  • N. Sin′kovskaya: ‘Neizvestnaya strannitsa’ [An unknown page], SovM (1986), no.6, pp.81–6 [an insert aria for The Oprichnik]
  • N. John, ed.: Eugene Onegin (London, 1988) [ENO guide]
  • D. Seibert: ‘The Dramaturgy of Tchaikovsky’s “Mazeppa”’, MR, 49 (1988), 272–88
  • L. Nevedomskaya: ‘Mazepa’ P.I. Chaykovskogo (Moscow, 1989)
  • L. Karagicheva: ‘Dve ėtyuda o “Pikovoy dame”’ [Two studies about The Queen of Spades], SovM (1990), no.6, pp.46–67
  • H. Zajaczkowski: ‘Tchaikovsky: the Missing Piece of the Jigsaw Puzzle’, MT, 131 (1990), 238–42 [on The Maid of Orléans]
  • M. Bonfel′d: ‘K probleme mnogourovnevosti khudozhestvennogo teksta’ [On the problem of the multiple levels of the artistic text], MAk (1993), no.4, pp.197–203
  • J. Parakilas: ‘Musical Historicism in The Queen of Spades ’, Tchaikovsky and his Contemporaries: Westport, CT, 7–9 Oct 1993, 177–85
  • L. Lauer: ‘Čajkovskijs Pikovaja Dama und die Tradition der französischen Opéra-comique-Ballade’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 199–205
  • S. Neef: ‘Čajkovskij mit den Augen Stravinskijs gesehen: zum Verhältnis von ontologischer und psychisch determinierter Zeit in den Opern Čajkovskijs’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 223–32
  • M. Tcherkashina: ‘Tchaikovsky, The Maid of Orleans: the Problem of the Genre and the Specific Treatment of the Subject’, International Journal of Musicology, 3 (1994), 175–85
  • A. Klimovitsky: ‘Otzvuki russkogo sentimentalizma v pushkinskikh operakh Chaykovskogo’ [Echoes of Russian sentimentalism in Tchaikovsky’s Pushkin operas], MAk (1995), no.1, pp.167–78
  • K. Grönke: ‘Mädchen singen von Liebe: Anmerkungen zu einem festen Szenen-Typus in Čajkovskijs Puškin-Opern’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 4 (1997), 53–64
  • A. Briggs: ‘Tchaikovsky and Pushkin: Men of Russian Letters’, Opera, 49 (1998), 516–22
  • K. Grönke: ‘Čajkovskijs Einakter Iolanta: Verwandlung durch Liebe’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 5 (1998), 17–25
  • L. Kearney: ‘Tchaikovsky Androgyne: The Maid of Orleans ’, Tchaikovsky and his World, ed. L. Kearney (Princeton, NJ, 1998), 239–76
  • L. Braun: ‘Das “pezzo concertato” in Čajkovskijs Opern’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 6 (1999), 17–26
    F: Orchestral
  • K. Chv [Chernov]: ‘Simfonii P.I. Chaykovskago’, RMG, 11 (1904), nos.10–13/14
  • A. Budyakovsky: P.I. Chaykovsky: simfonicheskaya muzïka (Leningrad, 1935)
  • A. Al′shvang: ‘Poslednyaya simfoniya Chaykovskogo’ [Tchaikovsky’s last symphony], SovM (1940), nos.5–6, pp.48–69
  • I. Yampol′sky: ‘Neopublikovannïye rukopisi “Variatsiy na temu rokoko” Chaykovskogo’ [Unpublished manuscripts of Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme], SovM sbornik, 3 (1945), 32–44
  • I. Rïzhkin: ‘Shestaya simfoniya Chaykovskogo’ [Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony], SovM (1946), no.1, pp.70–83; nos.2–3, pp.96–107
  • D. Zhitomirsky: ‘Rannyaya redaktsiya “Zimnikh gryoz”’ [The early version of Winter Daydreams], SovM (1950), no.5, pp.65–6
  • Yu. Kremlyov: Simfonii P.I. Chaykovskogo (Moscow, 1955)
  • N. Nikolayeva: Simfonii P.I. Chaykovskogo ot ‘Zimnikh gryoz’ k ‘Pateticheskoy’ [Tchaikovsky’s symphonies from Winter Daydreams to the Pathétique] (Moscow, 1958)
  • S. Bogatïrev: ‘Ot redaktora’ [From the editor], P. Chaykovsky, Simfoniya es-dur: vosstanovleniye, instrumentovka i redaksiya S. Bogatïreva: partitura (Moscow, 1961), 5–18
  • Yu. Khokhlov: Orkestrovïye syuitï Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s orchestral suites] (Moscow, 1961)
  • G. Krauklis: Skripichnïye proizvedeniya P.I. Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s compositions for violin] (Moscow, 1961)
  • P. Chaykovsky: Shestaya simfoniya, Pateticheskaya: chernovaya rukopis′ 1893 g. [Sixth Symphony, Pathétique: manuscript draft 1893] (Moscow, 1962)
  • A. Dolzhansky: Simfonicheskaya muzïka Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s symphonic music] (Moscow and Leningrad, 1965, 2/1981)
  • R. Thomas: ‘Tschaikowskys Es-Dur-Sinfonie und Idee einer Sinfonie “Das Leben”’, NZM, Jg.128 (1967), 160–62
  • J. Friskin: ‘The Text of Tchaikovsky’s B♭ minor Concerto’, ML, 50 (1969), 246–51
  • V. Blok: ‘Na puti k “Pateticheskoy”’ [On the path to the Pathétique], SovM (1970), no.9, pp.78–80
  • G. Pribegina: Introduction to facs. of P.I. Tchaikovsky: Shestaya simfoniya/Sixth Symphony (Moscow, 1970) [incl. Eng. trans.]
  • U. Niebuhr: ‘Der Einfluss Anton Rubinstejns auf die Klavierkonzert Peter Tschaikowskys’, Mf, 27 (1974), 412–34
  • T. Kohlhase: ‘Einführung und Analyse’, in P.I. Tschaikowsky Sinfonie Nr.6 (Mainz, 1983), 247–384
  • H. Zajaczkowski: ‘Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony’, MR, 45 (1984), 265–76
  • A. Klimovitsky: ‘Zametki o Shestoy simfonii Chaykovskogo: k probleme: Chaykovsky na poroge XX veka’ [Notes on Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony: apropos the problem: Tchaikovsky on the threshold of the 20th century], Problemï muzïkal′nogo romatizma (Leningrad, 1987), 109–29
  • I. Zemtsovsky: Po sledam vesnyanki iz fortepiannogo kontserta P. Chaykovskogo: istoricheskaya morfologiya narodnoy pesni [In the footsteps of the spring song from Tchaikovsky’s [1st] Piano Concerto: historical metamorphosis of folksong] (Leningrad, 1987)
  • Yu. Kholopov: ‘O sisteme muzïkal′nïkh form v simfoniyakh Chaykovskogo’ [On the system of musical forms in Tchaikovsky’s symphonies], SovM (1990), no.6, pp.38–45
  • Yu. Keldysh: ‘Simfonizm Chaykovskogo i ėvolyutsiya simfonicheskogo mïshleniya v XIX veke’ [Tchaikovsky’s symphonism and the evolution of symphonic thought in the 19th century], SovM (1990), no.12, pp.92–101
  • D. Seibert: ‘The Tchaikovsky Fifth: Symphony without a Program’, MR, 51 (1991), 36–45
  • S. Dammann: ‘Überlegungen zu einer problemgeschichtlichen Untersuchung von Čajkovskijs 4. Sinfonie’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 87–102
  • T.L. Jackson: ‘Aspects of Sexuality and Structure in the Later Symphonies of Tchaikovsky’, MAn, 14 (1995), 3–25
  • C. Coppola: ‘The Elusive Fantasy: Genre, Form and Program in Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini ’, 19CM, 22 (1998–9), 169–89
  • T.L. Jackson: Tchaikovsky: Symphony no.6 Pathétique (Cambridge, 1999)
    G: Chamber and solo
  • R. Genika: ‘Fortepiannoye tvorchestvo P.I. Chaykovskago’ [Tchaikovsky’s piano music], RMG, 15 (1908), nos.1–2, 5, 7, 11–13, 43–5, 47, 50
  • P. Zaitsev: ‘Yunosheskoye proizvedeniye P.I. Chaykovskago’ [A youthful work of Tchaikovsky], Den′ (21 Oct 1913), suppl. [incl. photographs of Tchaikovsky’s first surviving work, the ‘Anastasia Waltz’]
  • N.F. Findeyzen: Kamernaya muzïka Chaykovskogo (Moscow, 1930)
  • A. Nikolayev: Fortepiannoye naslediye Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s piano legacy] (Moscow, 1949, 2/1958)
  • L. Raaben: Skripichnïye i violonchel′nïye proizvedeniya P.I. Chaykovskogo [Tchaikovsky’s works for violin and violoncello] (Moscow, 1958)
  • A. Gol′denveyzer: ‘Variatsii Bėtkhovena i Variatsii Chaykovskogo’, Iz istorii sovetskoy Betkhovenianï [From the history of Soviet Beethoveniana] (Moscow, 1972), 231–9
  • L. Auerbakh: Trio Chaykovskogo ‘Pamyati velikogo khudozhnika’ [Tchaikovsky’s Trio ‘In Memory of a Great Artist’] (Moscow, 1977)
  • P. Vaydman: ‘Listï iz Al′boma’ [Leaves from an album], Muzïkal′naya zhizn′ (1986), no.20, pp.9, 14 [variant for piano of the mazurka from Ostrovsky’s The False Dmitry and Vasily Shuysky]
  • T. Kohlhase: ‘Kritischer Bericht zu Band 69b der Neuen Čajkovskij-Gesamtausgabe (NCE): Grande Sonate op.37 und Kindernalbum op.39’, Čajkovskij-Studien, 3 (1998), 439–555
    H: Vocal
  • M. Lisitsïn: ‘P.I. Chaykovsky: kak dukhovnïy kompozitor’ [Tchaikovsky as sacred composer], RMG, 4 (1897), 1199–214
  • N. Martsenko: P.I. Chaykovsky v nashey tserkovnoy muzïke [Tchaikovsky in our church music] (Odessa, 1903)
  • S. Smolensky: O ‘Liturgii’ op.41 soch. Chaykovskago [About Tchaikovsky’s Liturgy, op.41] (St Petersburg, 1903)
  • N. Kompaneysky: ‘Kherumvimskaya pesn′ no.3 (C-dur) P.I. Chaykovskago’ [Tchaikovsky’s Cherubic Hymn no.3 (in C major)], RMG, 11 (1904), 1019–23
  • A. Nikol′sky: ‘P.I. Chaykovsky kak dukhovnïy kompozitor’ [Tchaikovsky as a sacred composer], Musïka i zhizn′ (1908), no.10, pp.6–9; no.11, pp.4–7
  • A. Al′shvang: ‘Romansï Chaykovskogo’, SovM (1939), nos.9–10, pp.100–22; (1940), no.1, pp.14–27
  • ‘Dva neopublikovannïkh romansa P.I. Chaykovskogo’ [Two unpublished songs by Tchaikovsky], SovM (1940), nos.5–6, 133–7
  • E. Orlova: Romansï Chaykovskogo (Moscow and Leningrad, 1948)
  • V. Vasina-Grossman: ‘Romansï Chaykovskogo’, Russkiy klassicheskiy romans XIX veka (Moscow, 1956), 265–98
  • G. Abraham: ‘Russia’, A History of Song, ed. D. Stevens (London, 1960/R, 2/1970), 338–75
  • T. Kohlhase: ‘Tschaikowskij als Kirchenmusiker’, Festschrift Georg von Dadelsen, ed. T. Kohlhase and V. Scherliess (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1978), 189–229
  • M. Rakhmanova: ‘Ogromnoye i yeshchyo yedva tronutoye pole deyatel′nosti’ [An immense and hardly touched field of activity], SovM (1990), no.6, pp.67–74
  • V. Morosan: ‘A Stranger in a Strange Land: Tchaikovsky as a Composer of Church Music’, Tchaikovsky and his Contemporaries: Westport, CT, 7–9 Oct 1993, 197–225
  • K. Nikitin: ‘Ob odnom khore P.I. Chaykovskogo, schitavshemsya uteryannïm’ [About a chorus by Tchaikovsky considered lost], P.I. Chaykovsky Al′manakh, 1 (Moscow, 1995), 136–44
  • V. Morosan: ‘The Sacred Choral Works of Peter Tchaikovsky’, P. Tchaikovsky: The Complete Sacred Choral Works, Monuments of Russian Sacred Music, 2nd ser., 1–3 (Madison, CT, 1996), lxxxiii–cxix
    I: Arrangements
  • O. Demyanova: ‘50 russkikh narodnïkh pesen v obrabotke Chaykovskogo’ [Tchaikovsky’s arrangement of 50 Russian folksongs], Soobshcheniya Instituta Istorii Iskusstv, 15 (1959), 88–116
  • B. Rabinovich, ed: P.I. Chaykovsky i narodnaya pesnya [Tchaikovsky and folksong] (Moscow, 1963)
  • D. Lehmann: ‘Tschaikowsky als Bearbeiter russischer Volkslieder’, RBM, 19 (1965), 28–52
  • V. Kiselyov: ‘Poslednyaya instrumentovka’ [The last orchestration], SovM (1968), no.11, pp.116–17 [On Tchaikovsky’s arr. of Sophie Menter’s ‘Ungarische Zigeunerweisen’]
  • S. Yevseyev: Narodnïye pesni v obrabotke P.I. Chaykovskogo [Folksongs in Tchaikovsky’s arrangement] (Moscow, 1973)
    J: Tchaikovsky and other composers
  • N. Myaskovsky: Chaykovsky i Bėtkhoven (Moscow, 1912)
  • I. Martïnov: ‘Chaykovsky i Glinka’, SovM (1940), no.1, pp.28–37
  • I. Martïnov: ‘Skryabin i Chaykovsky’, SovM sbornik, 3 (1945), 23–31
  • V. Kiselyov: ‘Antonin Dvozhak v Rossii’, SovM (1951), no.11, pp.78–82
  • V.V. Yakovlev: ‘Borodin i Chaykovsky’, SovM (1954), no.1, pp.66–74
  • G. Blank: ‘Über die Beziehungen P.I. Tschaikowskys zum Schaffen Robert Schumanns’, Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Pädagogischen Hochschule Zwickau, 9/2 (1973), 108–27
  • E. Garden: ‘The Influence of Balakirev on Tchaikovsky’, PRMA, 107 (1980–81), 86–100
  • I. Barsova: ‘“… Samïye pateticheskiye kompozitorï evropeyskoy muzïki”’ [‘… The most emotional composers of European music’], SovM (1990), no.6, pp.125–32 [Tchaikovsky and Mahler]
  • O. Skorbyashchenskaya: ‘Chaykovsky i Veber’, SovM (1990), no.12, pp.101–5
  • M. Frolova: ‘Chaykovsky i Shuman’, Voprosï istorii i teoriya: vtoroy sbornik statey, ed. Yu. Rozanova (Moscow, 1991), 54–64
  • I. Barsova: ‘Mahler: ein “Schuler” Čajkovskijs?’ Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 51–6
  • R. Bartlett: ‘Tchaikovsky and Wagner: a Reassessment’, Tchaikovsky and his Contemporaries: Westport, CT, 7–9 Oct 1993, 95–116
  • M. Bobéth: ‘Čajkovskij und das Mächtige Häuflein ’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 63–85
  • D. Lehmann: ‘Čajkovskijs Ansichten über deutsche Komponisten’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 207–16
  • V. Smirnov: ‘Čajkovskij und Stravinskij’, Čajkovski-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 253–8
  • L. Lauer: ‘Čajkovskij und Mozart: ein Leserbrief von 1881’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 2 (1995), 55–8
  • T. Kohlhase, ed.: ‘Čajkovskijs Wagner-Rezeption: Daten und Texte’, Mitteilungen der Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft, 4 (1997), 70–96
    K: Theory and analysis
  • A. Al′shvang: Opït analiza tvorchestva P.I. Chaykovskogo [An attempt to analyse Tchaikovsky’s works] (Moscow and Leningrad, 1951)
  • L. Mazel′: ‘Osnovïe chertï melodiki Chaykovskogo’ [Basic features of Tchaikovsky’s melody], O melodii (Moscow, 1952), 252–68
  • M. Roytershteyn: O yedinstve sonatnogo tsikla P.I. Chaykovskogo [On the unity of Tchaikovsky’s sonata cycle] (diss., Leningrad Conservatory, 1970)
  • V. Kostaryov: Stroyeniye i tematicheskiye razvitiye v sonatnïkh razrabotkakh proizvedeniy P.I. Chaykovskogo [Structure and thematic development in sonata development sections of Tchaikovsky] (diss., U. of Sverdlovsk, 1972)
  • Yu. Tyulin: Proizvedeniya Chaykovskogo: strukturnïy analiz [Tchaikovsky’s compositions: a structural analysis] (Moscow, 1973)
  • F. Vitachek: Ocherki po iskusstvu orkestrovki XIX veka: istoricheskiy-stilisticheskiy analiz partitur Berlioza, Glinki, Vagnera, Chaykovskogo i Rimskogo-Korsakova [Essays in the art of orchestration in the 19th century: historico-stylistic analysis of the scores of Berlioz, Glinka, Wagner, Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov] (Moscow, 1979)
  • R. Stolz: Temporal Incongruence in Selected Compositions of Peter Il′ich Tchaikovsky (diss., Ohio State U., 1982)
  • N. Sin′kovskaya: O garmonii P.I. Chaykovskogo: ocherki [About Tchaikovsky’s harmony: essays] (Moscow, 1983)
  • D. Arutyunov: Sochineyiya P.I. Chaykovskogo v kurse analiza muzïkal′nïkh proizvedeniy [Works of Tchaikovsky in a course in musical analysis] (Moscow, 1989)
  • V. Erohin: ‘An der Schwelle zum neuen Jahrhundert: Anmerkungen zu Čajkovskijs Harmonik’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 103–9
  • T. Frumkis: ‘Zu deutschen Vorbildern von Čajkovskijs Harmonielehre’, Čajkovskij-Symposium: Tübingen 1993, 111–26
  • S. Dammann: Gattung und Einzelwerk im symphonischen Frühwerk Čajkovskijs (Stuttgart, 1996)
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