Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich. (1840–1893)

Concerto No. 3 pour Piano avec accompagnement d'Orchestre. [Piano Concerto No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus 75 ]

Moscou: P. Jurgenson. [1894]. First Edition. Piano avec 2d Piano, piano score. Upright folio. Title; 2-51 pp. Lithograph. [PN] 19618. In original wrappers, wrappers toned with moderate chipping around the edges, small area of abrasion to upper right recto corner, internally clean and overall a fine copy. 

Begun in May 1893, the work remained unfinished at the time of the composer's death on 25 October/6 November that year.  On 1/13 August Tchaikovsky told Aleksandr Siloti that the concerto "hasn't turned out too badly as music—but it's a thankless task! If that should be Taneyev's opinion then, perhaps, I shall destroy it forthwith". On 8/20 October in Moscow, Tchaikovsky showed the concerto to Sergey Taneyev, but despite the latter's harsh criticism that the concerto was not sufficiently virtuosic, all the same he did not destroy it. However, he had already begun to have doubts about length of the work, about which he wrote to Aleksandr Siloti on 25 September/7 October 1893: "Since it has turned out to be disgracefully long, I have decided to restrict it to just the first movement, and to call it Allegro de concert or Conzertstück". Two days later Tchaikovsky began to orchestrate the opening Allegro brillante, the completed score of which is dated 3/15 October. We may never know the composer's final intentions, since immediately after completing this movement, he left directly for Moscow, and then for Saint Petersburg, where he died on 25 October/6 November 1893. However, just eight days before his death, the pianist Adele Aus der Ohe recalled that Tchaikovsky "seemed especially anxious to revise his Third Pianoforte Concerto".  

The concerto was not published during Tchaikovsky's lifetime. In late June/early July 1894, Sergey Taneyev, at Modest Tchaikovsky's request, began to review the manuscripts that Tchaikovsky had left behind. In September the same year an agreement was concluded with Pyotr Jurgenson to publish the completed Allegro brillante as a concerto one movement. By 3/15 October it had been engraved, and on 18/30 December 1894, Sergey Taneyev wrote to Modest Tchaikovsky: "The full score of the Concerto No. 3 is ready (I have one copy)" .  Besides the full score, Pyotr Jurgenson published the present arrangement for two pianos and four hands in November 1894, and the orchestral parts in March 1895. (19784)

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