Souvenir de Hapsal

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Souvenir de Hapsal, Op. 2 (TH 125 ; ČW 100 to 102) [1], was Tchaikovsky's first cycle of pieces for solo piano, written in the summer of 1867 while he was staying at the Estonian resort of Hapsal (now Haapsalu).

Contents

Movements and Duration

  1. Ruines d'un château
    Adagio misterioso (E minor, 114 bars).
  2. Scherzo
    Allegro vivo (F major, 368 bars).
  3. Chant sans paroles
    Allegretto grazioso e cantabile (F major, 69 bars).

A complete performance of all three pieces lasts around 10 to 15 minutes.

Composition

The pieces were written during a break from Tchaikovsky's work on the opera The Voyevoda, in June and July 1867, while the composer was staying at Hapsal together with Modest Tchaikovsky and Anatoly Tchaikovsky, and some members of the Davydov family [2].

Performances

Scherzo (No. 2) was performed for the first time by Nikolay Rubinstein at a special symphony concert of the Russian Musical Society in Moscow, on 27 February/10 March 1868.

Chant sans paroles (No. 3) was performed in Saint Petersburg, apparently for the first time, at the 1st RMS symphony concert on 2/14 November 1874 by Gustav Kross. It was also conducted by Tchaikovskyat a concert in the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in the same city on 3/15 March 1892, in an orchestral arrangement by Max Erdmannsdörfer.

It is not known when Ruines d’un château (No. 1) was first performed.

Publication

The cycle was published for the first time by Pyotr Jurgenson in 1868. Many years later, in 1884, when Jurgenson was undertaking to publish a selection of his works for piano, Tchaikovsky included the complete cycle in his list of pieces worthy of being reprinted [3].

Souvenir de Hapsal appears in volume 51А of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works (1945), edited by Ivan Shishov.

Autographs

The whereabouts of Tchaikovsky's manuscripts for all three pieces are unknow.

Recordings

See: Souvenir de Hapsal: Recordings

Dedications

Souvenir de Hapsal is dedicated to Vera Davydova, later Butakova (1843–1920), younger sister of Lev Davydov (husband of Tchaikovsky’s sister Aleksandra, who was staying at Hapsal when Tchaikovsky wrote the piano pieces.

Related Works

Scherzo (No. 2) was a reworking by Tchaikovsky of the central section of his Allegro in F minor for piano, which had been composed during his studies at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in the early 1860s.

Notes and References

  1. In ČW the titles of Nos. 1 and 3 are translated as Ruins of a Castle and Song Without Words respectively, and the title of the whole set as Recollections of Hapsal  [back]
  2. See Modest Tchaikovsky, Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1900), p. 272 [back]
  3. See letters from Pyotr Jurgenson to Tchaikovsky, 17/29 April and 3/15 May 1884 — Klin House-Museum Archive. See also Letter 2485 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 8/20 May 1884 [back]