Suite from the ballet, Op. 71a (1892).
The suite from the ballet The Nutcracker originated as a result of a request from the Saint Petersburg branch of the Russian Musical Society for Tchaikovsky to provide something from his new ballet to be performed at a concert on 29 February/12 March 1892, and for him to conduct this music himself . At that time Tchaikovsky was preparing to orchestrate the ballet, and he began with the numbers which he had decided to select for the suite.
Among the surviving rough sketches of the ballet, and also among notes on the manuscripts and other documents, are a number of variants of titles of the suite. Originally, Tchaikovsky intended to call it "Suite from the ballet The Fir Tree" [Сюита из балета «Елка»] , or "Suite from the ballet The Christmas Tree" [Сюита из балета «Рождественская елка»] . This title was changed much later to "Suite from music to the ballet The Nutcracker (Casse-Noisette)" .
The earliest lists of numbers for the suite also contained Chocolate (Spanish Dance) and Final Waltz. The second movement of the suite — Characteristic Dances — was to be called In the Kingdom of Sweets and Toys [«В царстве лакомств и игруншек»]. The Trepak dance was originally called Russian Dance, the Pipe Dance [«Танец пастушков»] was Reed Pipes [«Свирелки»], and The Sugar Plum Fairy [«Фея драже»] was The Sweet Fairy [«Фея конфект»].
Tchaikovsky began orchestrating the suite on 28 January/9 February 1892 . By 31 January/12 February 1892 the first number of the suite was ready . On 8/20 February, at Maydanovo, the orchestration of the suite was completed (according to a note on the manuscript full score of the suite).
The concert for which the suite was compiled took place on 7/19 March 1892 (the ninth symphony concert of the Saint Petersburg branch of the Russian Musical Society). The author conducted.
On 9/21 March the composer wrote to Pyotr Jurgenson: "The suite from the ballet was a success. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to publish it" . The full score of the suite was issued by Jurgenson in June 1892.
At the request of the Russian Musical Society, Tchaikovsky donated the manuscript full score of the suite to the library of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and it carries the inscriptions: "To the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, as a souvenir of the concert on 7 March 1892. P. Tchaikovsky" .
For many years the full score was believed to have been lost; it was discovered by chance by the conductor E. P. Zablotsky among some unrelated papers in 1946, and transferred to the P. I. Tchaikovsky House-Museum at Klin.
Музыкальное наследие Чайковского (1958), pp. 182–184
This page was last updated on 16 February 2013