Impromptu in A-flat major

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Tchaikovsky's Impromptu for piano, in A-flat major (TH 147 ; ČW 184), was composed in late September/early October 1889 in Saint Petersburg, in connection with the celebrations of Anton Rubinstein's fifty years as an artist.

Contents

Movements and Duration

There is one movement: Moderato con moto (A-flat major, 65 bars), lasting around two minutes in performance.

Composition

In the autumn of 1889 Tchaikovsky was persuaded by the jubilee committee to contribute to the forthcoming celebrations to mark Anton Rubinstein's fiftieth year as a professional musician. He was engaged to conduct two concerts of works by his former tutor, and to provide new works of his own: a chorus a cappella to words by Yakov Polonsky, and a piano piece for an album by former students of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, for a presentation at the jubilee.

In response Tchaikovsky wrote the chorus A Greeting to Anton Rubinstein, and the piano Impromptu. Tchaikovsky complained about this to Nadezhda von Meck on 2/14 October 1889: "I have to attend some rehearsals of my ballet [1], some meetings of the Committee arranging the jubilee celebrations in Rubinstein's honour, and, besides all this, to write two compositions for the jubilee celebrations" [2].

Performances

The Impromptu was performed by Feliks Blumenfeld on 20 November/2 December 1893 at the first Russian Symphony Concert in Saint Petersburg.

Publication

The piece was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in 1897. It was included in volume 53 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works (1949), edited by Anatoly Drozdov.

Autographs

Tchaikovsky's manuscript score of the Impromptu has been lost.

Recordings

See: Impromptu in A-flat major: Recordings

Dedications

The Impromptu was dedicated to Anton Rubinstein, and was included in the album was presented to him at his jubilee celebrations on 18/30 November 1889.

Related Works

See also A Greeting to Anton Rubinstein.

Notes and References

  1. i.e. The Sleeping Beauty [back]
  2. Letter 3947 to Nadezhda von Meck, 2/14 October 1889 [back]