Music for the Fountain Scene in Pushkin's tragedy (?1863–65).
Composed as an assignment for Anton Rubinstein, as part of Tchaikovsky's studies at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Adelaida Spasskaya, a fellow student of Tchaikovsky at the conservatory, wrote: "I recall how A[nton] G[rigoryevich], after going over a fairly large number of instruments with us, including the harp, had us write and orchestrate, employing the harp, the fountain scene from Boris Godunov. No one, of course, wrote anything worthwhile. Only P. I. Tchaikovsky fulfilled this task brilliantly" .
Aleksandr Rubets also wrote about this in his memoirs: "…[Anton] Rubinstein had Tchaikovsky write music for the Fountain Scene from Pushkin’s Boris Godunov. This turned out to be quite a substantial composition and was fully orchestrated. Perhaps the score for this scene is preserved among the composer’s papers; for the present it is not to be found in the catalogue of his works. It was, I remember, both soaring and inspired, despite its Italianisms" .
The full score was taken to Saint Petersburg by Yelizaveta Shobert, and was later sent by Herman Laroche to Tchaikovsky in Moscow . In his letters to Tchaikovsky of 11/23 January and 27 January/8 February 1866, Laroche considered Boris Godunov, the Characteristic Dances, the overture to The Storm and the piece The Romans at the Coliseum to be "student works, preparatory and experimental, judged particularly unfavourably because of their misuse of the brass instruments" .
The music to Boris Godunov was not published, and the autograph has not survived.
Музыкальное наследие Чайковского (1958), p. 190
This page was last updated on 12 February 2013