Suite No. 4
(Сюита № 4)
Mozartiana (Моцартиана), Op. 61 (1887).
Tchaikovsky first had the idea of compiling a suite from works by Mozart in 1884, while he was working on the recitatives and translation of Mozart’s opera The Marriage of Figaro. On 17/29 May 1884 he noted in his diary: “Played Mozart and was in raptures. Thought about a suite from Mozart" . Distracted by other compositional projects, Tchaikovsky only returned to this idea in 1886. In his diary we read: 4/16 February—“In Jurgenson's store chose some Mozart for a suite” ; 6/18 February—“Vacillating over my choice of Mozart”; 8/20 February—“After supper was carried away with choosing from Mozart for a suite...”. Evidently a selection of Mozart’s piano pieces had been chosen, but work on the opera The Enchantress prevented the composer from taking up his new project.
On 11/23 July 1886 Tchaikovsky wrote to Sergey Taneyev: “I have still not commenced the Mozart suite” . It was almost a year before Tchaikovsky started to work on the orchestration of the suite, in Borzhom, where he had gone to take the waters. On 17/29 July 1887 he wrote in his diary: "After dinner started to orchestrate the Mozart variations” . There are further references in his diary for 19/31 July and 20 July/1 August. On the latter date Tchaikovsky wrote to Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov: “Long ago I began to think about orchestrating a suite from piano pieces by Mozart” .
In a letter to Pyotr Jurgenson of 24 June/6 July 1887, the composer reported on his work on the suite: “I’ve done almost nothing. I say almost because for around an hour each day I’m occupied with orchestrating piano pieces by Mozart, which by the end of the summer I should have turned into a suite. In my opinion this suite has a good selection of pieces and a novel character (the old given a contemporary treatment) . In the same letter Tchaikovsky wrote: “The only thing is, I don’t know what it should be called. It’s necessary to come up with something new from the name Mozart, because if the suite is a success then I shall do another, and even a third” . I don't want Mozartiana, for that’s too reminiscent of Kreisleriana , etc.”. In his letter of reply of 4/16 July, Jurgenson persuaded Tchaikovsky to adopt the title Mozartiana, saying that “Any resemblance or similarity to Kreisleriana is of no significance” .
Until late June/early July, Tchaikovsky was occupied in the orchestration of the fourth movement of the suite—Theme and Variations . On 4/16 July he noted in his diary: “After dinner worked on the Ave verum, i.e. scoring the third movement of the suite” . On 6/18 July Tchaikovsky left Borzhom in order to visit the seriously-ill Nikolay Kondratyev in Aachen, where he arrived on 15/27 July. It is possible that the orchestration of the Ave verum had been completed in Borzhom, or on 18/30 July at Aachen, since in his diary for 18/30 July he noted: “After tea began scoring the Gigue (i.e. the first movement of the suite)". The Gigue was finished on 21 July/2 August . Tchaikovsky reported his progress on the Mozart suite in letters to Sergey Taneyev and Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov on 22 July/3 August .
Immediately after the Gigue, Tchaikovsky orchestrated the Minuet (the second movement of the suite) and completed this on 23 July/4 August . On 28 July/9 August he wrote in his diary: “I finished putting the final touches to my suite” . In a letter of 29 July/10 August he told Pyotr Jurgenson that he was sending him the completed suite: “In the course of the orchestration I made minute enhancements and modifications to the harmony...”, wrote the composer, “which I considered necessary so that this could be published in a piano duet arrangement” . With Tchaikovsky’s agreement, Jurgenson commissioned the piano duet arrangement from Eduard Langer . In the same letter, Tchaikovsky indicated that three movements from the suite—the first, second and fourth—comprised piano pieces by Mozart, and the third was an arrangement for orchestra of the chorus Ave verum . The full score of the suite appeared in print in November 1887.
Its first performance took place in Moscow on 14/26 November 1887 at the second symphony concert of the Russian Musical Society, conducted by the author . In Saint Petersburg the suite was performed for the first time on 12/24 December 1887 at the third symphony concert of the Russian Musical Society, conducted by the author.
Музыкальное наследие Чайковского (1958), pp. 268–271
This page was last updated on 12 February 2013