The Volunteer Fleet
At the end of 1877 Pyotr Jurgenson approached Tchaikovsky with a request to write a "Skobelev March" as a response to the war between Russia and Turkey. Tchaikovsky flatly refused: "I’m not taking up your suggestion, because I cannot. It's so terribly vulgar" .
In April 1878 the Russian government formed a committee to organize a Volunteer Fleet and to appeal for donations towards the war effort. It seems that as a result of this, Pyotr Jurgenson repeated his request, this time suggesting that it was Tchaikovsky's patriotic duty to agree to it . The March was composed on 24 April/6 May at Kamenka, the same day that Jurgenson's letter was received (according to the author’s date on the manuscript). That very day the manuscript was dispatched to Jurgenson in Moscow together with a letter: "I have written the march and am sending it to you. No fee is necessary, because I am also a patriot; but I ask you not to include my name, but to come up with an appropriate pseudonym" .
It is not known who invented the pseudonym, but on the autograph score Tchaikovsky wrote "P. Sinopov" .
The March was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in May 1878. The cover of the edition contained the note: "All proceeds, with the exception of publishing costs, will be donated to the fund for acquiring a cruiser".
From: Музыкальное наследие Чайковского (1958),
This page was last updated on 14 February 2013