Work on this orchestration was begun after the completion of the full score of the Fifth Symphony. i.e. after 14/26 August 1888 . According to a note by on the manuscript by Herman Laroche, Tchaikovsky completed the instrumentation on 9/21 September 1888 at Frolovskoye.
"I don't know if I wrote to you...", Tchaikovsky informed Nadezhda von Meck on 14/26 September 1888, "that some time ago I promised to orchestrate an overture composed by my old friend Laroche, which he partly through inexperience and partly through ill-health, could not score himself. It is a product of exceptional talent, and demonstrates how much music has lost because this gifted genius man is suffering from a lack of confidence which effectively paralysis his creative ability" . Further on in this same letter, Tchaikovsky reported that the overture was causing him a great deal of trouble.
On 5/17 November 1888 in Saint Petersburg, the first performance of the overture-fantasia took place in a concert of Tchaikovsky’s works . It was not a success, in spite of Tchaikovsky’s ardent attempts to bring Herman Laroche’s works to public notice.
Музыкальное наследие Чайковского (1958), pp. 497–499
This page was last updated on 12 February 2013