From various online resources it is plain that the concerto went
through a number of editions, but none of the earlier ones seem to be
documented in currently available LPs and CDs, all of which give us the
later, final edition and not the original edition or the piano/violin
edition. Does anyone have any further news or views on this?
Actually the situation is more straightforward than some online sources
might suggest, and there are only two significantly different editions of
the concerto. The first is the one published by Jurgenson in 1879 (shortly
after the work was completed) in the form of a violin-piano arrangement,
which corresponds exactly to the orchestral score first issued in 1888.
Then after the composer's death
Leopold Auer produced out his own
edition of the work, which included numerous cuts in the score and
alterations to the violin part. These changes are easiest to hear in the
finale, where Tchaikovsky's frequent short repetitions of the main theme
were removed in Auer's edition.
Auer's is perhaps the version that was best known until the late
twentieth century, but Tchaikovsky's original now tends to dominate the CD
shelves. The composer didn't make any alterations to the scored during his
lifetime, so the first edition can be considered 'definitive'. The
orchestral score can be freely downloaded from on the IMSLP website: