C minor (1865–66).
No information survives concerning the process of composing the Overture. In a letter to his brothers Anatoly and Modest of 10/22 January 1866, Tchaikovsky reports on his work on the instrumentation: "I've orchestrated the greater part of my summer overture, and to my horror it’s turning out to be terribly long, which I didn’t expect at all" .
As Nikolay Kashkin recalled, soon after Tchaikovsky’s move to Moscow, Nikolay Rubinstein asked if any of his compositions could be performed in the 1866 concert season, and Tchaikovsky suggested his Overture in C minor . Rubinstein considered that it could not possibly be performed .
On 19/31 January 1866 Tchaikovsky sent the manuscript to Herman Laroche in Saint Petersburg so that the latter might submit it to Anton Rubinstein for performance . But Anton Rubinstein’s judgement on the Overture was also unfavourable . Subsequently the composer himself made the following note on the front of the full score: "Overture, written in Moscow in January 1866 and played nowhere (a frightful abomination)".
References to the Overture in C minor are also encountered in Sergey Taneyev’s letters to Modest Tchaikovsky from 1896 and 1897. For instance, on 23 July/4 August 1897, Taneyev reported that: "I have now found the manuscript of the overture that you wrote about, in C minor (with the episode from the overture to The Storm)... and I can show it to you on your arrival" .
The Overture was performed for the first time only in the 1931 concert season in Voronezh, conducted by Konstantin Saradzhev, professor of the Moscow State Conservatory . The Overture’s second subject was used by Tchaikovsky in the finale of the first act of the opera The Voyevoda.
The Overture was not published during Tchaikovsky's lifetime. It was printed for the first time in 1952 in the Complete Edition of Tchaikovsky's works .
Музыкальное наследие Чайковского (1958), pp. 274–275
This page was last updated on 16 February 2013