Thank you for this wonderful and educational site. It is great to have
such a wealth of information about my favorite composer in one place.
I am curious about the connection between Tchaikovsky's Overture in C minor and
the overture to The Storm.
Could the C minor overture
be regarded as an expanded or revised version of the earlier piece, or did
the composer simply incorporate some themes and passages from The Storm into the later
work? To what extent are these two overtures related?
I vaguely recall seeing a Kalmus miniature score of the Overture in C minor in
my local music store many years ago (I regret that I didn't buy it at the
time), but I don't believe the piece has ever been recorded. I find this surprising,
especially since David Brown (in Tchaikovsky: the Early Years) suggests that
it is a superior work to the Overture in F. Are there
sets of orchestral parts available for the C minor overture, and is
this overture ever performed?
With sincere thanks,
The Overture in C minor
dates from 1865—one year after The Storm, and both were
written as summer compositional exercises as part of Tchaikovsky's studies
at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory (although the C-minor Overture was orchestrated
just after Tchaikovsky's graduation). Neither piece was heard during the composer's
The introductory themes from The Storm were expanded
and modified in the C-minor
overture, but after these initial 90 bars the two pieces go their separate
ways, apart from a brief restatement in each of the folksong The Young
Maiden Walked So Far [Исходила младенька] before the recapitulation.
Although Tchaikovsky went so far as to write "loathsome rubbish" on the
manuscript of the Overture
in C minor, he must have felt that the attractive central section was
worth perserving, since he re-used it in his first opera he Voevoda (1868), together
with extracts from The Storm.
It eventually received its premiere in 1931, and was published for the first
time in 1952.
To the best of my knowledge the overture has only been recorded twice—both times by the USSR Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Alexander Lazarev
and Evgenii Svetlanov respectively. Neither of these versions have been issued
on CD, but Lazarev's version will be broadcast as part of
BBC Radio 3's Tchaikovsky Festival next February.
In the meantime you might like to hear my computer-generated MP3 file of the overture
(9.24Mb, 13: 27 mins), which should give a flavour of the music.
A few weeks ago I wrote a message asking whether there are any recordings
of Tchaikovsky's virtually unknown Overture in C minor. As luck would have
it, last week I was in a music store in Prague (Bontonland on Wenceslas Square)
and I found a newly released (2006) CD recording of the C minor Overture,
performed by Evgeny Svetlanov and the USSR State Academic Symphony Orchestra.
It is a great performance of this neglected work, coupled with a riveting
accound of the First Symphony. Unfortunately, the CD booklet contains no information
about the date or location of the recording.
At the same music store I also found another rarity: Samuel Samossud's
1954 recording of The Enchantress
(complete opera), released on CD by Preisser Records. Two great finds in one
With regard to recordings of the C-minor Overture, i have an LP with the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ye. Akulov (on Melodiya: 33C
021477/78(a). In addition this LP also contains a recording of the Overture in F (1866), Overture
to The Voevoda, the choral
work "To Sleep" (1863–64)
and "Couplets of Count Almaviva" (The Barber of Seville).