Scherzo à la russe
Op. 1, No. 1 (1867).
Written at the beginning of 1867 in Moscow, at the request of Nikolay Rubinstein, and based upon the melody of a Ukrainian song which Tchaikovsky heard from the gardeners at Kamenka, and called Capriccio . This theme had already been used by the composer in the student String Quartet in B♭ major (1865).
In a letter to Nadezhda von Meck of 27 November/9 December 1879, Tchaikovsky wrote: "My first published piece was Scherzo à la russe, Op. 1" . The piece was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in 1868, together with the student Impromptu in E♭ minor.
In 1884, Pyotr Jurgenson undertook to publish a collection of Tchaikovsky's piano works, and asked the composer to select the pieces for this edition . Amongst other works, Tchaikovsky decided on the Scherzo à la russe, with the reservation that "'perhaps in view of its difficulty. you would prefer not to print it? It’s up to you: I chose it only because Nikolay Grigoryevich played it" .
Herman Laroche, considering the piano pieces Op. 1, Op. 4, Op. 5 and Op. 8, noted: "The first of Tchaikovsky's works to appear in print were short piano pieces, published by Jurgenson in Moscow. They were evidently so successful that the Moscow pianists often performed them at their concerts" .
The Scherzo is dedicated to Nikolay Rubinstein.
From: Музыкальное наследие Чайковского (1958),
This page was last updated on 14 February 2013