Impromptu in A-flat major
Tchaikovsky's Impromptu (Экспромт) 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.
Movements and Duration
There is one movement: Moderato con moto (A-flat major, 65 bars), lasting around two minutes in performance.
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 , 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" .
The Impromptu was performed by Feliks Blumenfeld on 20 November/2 December 1893 at the first Russian Symphony Concert in Saint Petersburg.
Tchaikovsky's manuscript score of the Impromptu has been lost.
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.
See also A Greeting to Anton Rubinstein.