Blessed is He Who Smiles

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The chorus Blessed is He Who Smiles (Бпажен, кто улыбается), for unaccompanied men's voices (TH 83 ; ČW 71), was written by Tchaikovsky on 7/19 December 1887 at Maydanovo.

Contents

Instrumentation

Scored for male (TTBB) chorus, a cappella.

Movements and Duration

There is one movement: Allegro moderato (F major, 63 bars), lasting around 3 minutes in performance.

Text

The words are by "K.R." (= Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich of Russia, 1858–1916), from his poem of the same name.

Composition

The chorus appears to have been commissioned by Karl Albrecht. According to the manuscript score it was written on 7/19 December 1887 at Maydanovo, at around the same time as the Six Romances, Op. 63, also to words by Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. In a letter of 8/20 December to Karl Albrecht, sent with the manuscript, Tchaikovsky reported: "I am sending you the one chorus that I have written, and cannot do any more for the present" [1].

Performances

The first performance was given by the student choir of Moscow University on 8/20 March 1892, conducted by Viktor Malm, in the hall of the Nobles’ Club in Moscow.

Publication

Pyotr Jurgenson published the choral score and parts in 1889 [2], and the chorus was included in volume 43 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works (1941), edited by Ivan Shishov and Nikolay Shemanin.

Autographs

Tchaikovsky's manuscript score is now preserved in the Glinka National Museum Consortium of Musical Culture in Moscow (ф. 88, No. 126).

Dedication

Blessed is He Who Smiles is dedicated to the Student Choir of Moscow University.

Recordings

See: Blessed is He Who Smiles: Recordings

Notes and References

  1. Letter 3431 to Karl Albrecht, 7/19 December 1887 [back]
  2. Passed by the censor on 9/21 September 1889 [back]