I am revising my edition of The Seasons (Schirmer Performance Editions)
for its second print, and have a couple of questions regarding the Opus
1) is there any specific reason for the Opus number in this cycle to be
Op. 37a (or Op. 37bis), when it was composed before the Sonata Op. 37? I
looked for this answer, and could not find a specific reason.
2) is it better to use Op. 37a instead of Op. 37bis, or are both
When I was reading the info on The Seasons on your site, I noticed a
small typo in the page
In the fourth paragraph from the bottom it reads:
"In the surviving manuscript scores, only two pieces from The Seasons
have epigraphs: By the Hearth (January)—to Pushkin’s poem Dream—and Lark
Song (February)—to Apollon Maykov’s verses On the Volga. In both cases the
epigraphs were written out by Nikolay Bernard, and not Tchaikovsky. None
of the remaining pieces have epigraphs in the manuscript scores."
The Lark Song, however, is March, not February.
Looking forward to your reply,
Firstly thank you for pointing out that correction needed on the page
for The Seasons, which has now been made.
In answer to your question about the numbering, when Robert
Forberg in Leipzig published The Seasons in 1880, they labelled it
"Op. 37", despite the fact that the previous year Jurgenson in Moscow had
already published Tchaikovsky's Grand Sonata with this number. The
manuscript of the sonata has "Op. 37" written by the composer himself,
whereas no opus number appears on the autographs for The Seasons,
or in their original publication by Bernard in Saint Petersburg in 1876.
So Forberg's "Op. 37" appears to have been a mistake.
When Rahter in Leipzig published a new edition of The
Seasons in 1891, they addressed this issue by using "Op. 37a",
while ironically it was the Russian publisher Jurgenson (rather than the
German), who used "Op. 37bis", apparently for the first time the year
after Tchaikovsky's death. In practice both "Op. 37a" and "Op. 37bis" are
equivalent of course, and the suffix serves to distinguish themselves from
the Op. 37 sonata, and to clear up the confusion that had previously been
caused by the duplicated opus number.
Hope this helps