TWO QUESTIONS regarding the ANDANTE AND FINALE, Op. posth. 79
Exactly how complete were Tchaikovsky's sketches for the andante and
finale from his projected E-flat symphony, before he died?
I've read accounts that Tchaikovsky made completed arrangements of both
movements for piano solo. Other accounts, including the one here at
tchaikovsky-research.net, suggest he only made a complete solo arrangement
of the Andante; while others suggest he made no such arrangements at all.
I've always thought Tchaikovsky's sketches (for what eventually became
Op. posth. 79) were complete drafts, and the only remaining task for any
interested party was in deciding how to arrange this music for performance
and which instruments to use. Or am I incorrect? Did Sergei Taneyev
actually have to create music to finish the Andante and Finale?
Wikipedia indicates (perhaps incorrectly) that Tchaikovsky had begun to
arrange the Andante and Finale for piano and orchestra, before deciding
his third concerto should be a single-movement concert piece.
Is it true Tchaikovsky began these arrangements? If so, how closely did
Taneyev follow any indications as to orchestration and arrangement for
piano, if Tchaikovsky had made any such indications?
I've always thought Tchaikovsky left behind absolutely no indication
how the Andante and Finale should be arranged; but there were those plans
from the abandoned E-flat symphony. Perhaps Taneyev found a few clues
Thanks for your question, Dan. Just a bit of background for our readers
who may be unfamiliar with this work, which started out as the second and
third movements of the Piano
Concerto No. 3 (1893), which in its turn was based on three movements
from the abandoned Symphony in E♭ major (1892). Tchaikovsky's rough drafts
for both works took the form of sketches for one or two pianos, sometimes
with indications of instrumentation, so we've actually two sets of
sketches to work from — those for the concerto, and those for the
The first movement of the concerto, later published by itself as Op.
75, was fully completed and orchestrated by Tchaikovsky just before he
died, but the Andante and Finale remained only in draft, as piano
arrangements. We know from his letters that Tchaikovsky wasn't sure
whether they were good enough to include them in the concerto, and he
intended to consult his friend Sergey Taneyev on the matter. It was
Taneyev who eventually orchestrated both movements, which were published
separately as "Andante et Finale", Op. 79. However, it's still not
clear whether Tchaikovsky had decided to include or omit them from the
In the case of the Andante, the two-piano arrangement appears to have
been complete, and it's actually longer than the version drafted for the
E-flat symphony (which didn't have the introduction or coda). Semyon
Bogatyrev, who reconstructed the symphony in the 1950s, wrote that the
two-piano score of this movement "contains numerous indications of the
instruments the composer intended to employ. But these indications are to
be found only in the middle episode of the Andante; there are none in the
opening 32 bars performed by the orchestra alone, nor in the subsequent 20
bars with the solo piano". There was also a general note by the composer
on the back of the first sheet of the manuscript: "All strings to be
divided into two equal parts in orchestrating. N.B. some pizz., others
not. In general the orchestration to be very transparent". There are no
dynamic markings anywhere in the draft.
The Finale exists in a piano reduction of the symphony's finale, with
the new part for solo piano written out in a different sketchbook, so
Taneyev had to piece both of these together in order to complete his
orchestration. There's at least one gap in the solo piano part, right
before the coda, where Tchaikovsky had just written "etc." (!), so Taneyev
had to invent his own scale passages at this point. There are no dynamic
markings in the piano version of the finale, and very few notes about the
intended orchestration. Again there are long passages (namely both
occurrences of the march-like second subject) that are missing from the
draft of the symphony, for which the concerto version is the only source.
In summary, Tchaikovsky left both movements complete and arranged for
two pianos, with notes concerning their intended orchestration (mainly in
the Andante). Taneyev only had to supply a few bars of scale passages in
the solo part near the end of the finale, which Tchaikovsky hadn't written
out in full. Incidentally, Taneyev later prepared a version with his own,
more complex version of the piano part (Andante: bars 37–118, and Finale:
bars 47–63), which can sometimes be heard in recordings.
On that last point, Michael Ponti seems to be the only one who has
recorded Taneyev’s revision of the piano part in portions of the Andante
(see below link for the recording)
But even this: