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Andante and Finale, Op. posth. 79; how much did he complete?

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, 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 here?

Dan Darragh
14/02/2013 04:23

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 symphony.

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 finished concerto.

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.

Brett Langston
14/02/2013 10:28

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 and Finale.

(see below link for the recording)

Fred Edwards
24/03/2013 09:49

But even this: 

Antonio Garganese
03/06/2013 14:49

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This page was last updated on 05 November 2013