Don Quixote (Rubinstein)

Tchaikovsky Research

Don Quixote (Дон кихот), a 'comic musical picture' for orchestra by Anton Rubinstein (Op. 87), was arranged by Tchaikovsky for piano duet in January 1871 (TH 180 ; ČW 412).


Arranged for piano duet (4 hands).

Movements and Duration

There is one movement: Allegro non troppo (C major), lasting around 20 to 25 minutes in performance.


The arrangement was mentioned in a letter from the composer to the publisher Vasily Bessel of 25 November/7 December 1870: “Regarding Don Quixote, it seems that only the parts have been sent to me. Until the full score is in my hands, I cannot set about the arrangement” [1], and in another letter on 9/21 January 1871: "I would have carried out my promise regarding Don Quixote a long time ago, if it had been possible. But for some reason the score was sent to Rubinstein, and he gave it straight away to a copyist to write out the parts... Today I finally received the full score; I must warn you that there is at least two weeks' work involved before it will be ready. The arrangement of Don Quixote is very difficult, besides which I have plenty of other things to do" [2].


Tchaikovsky's arrangement was published by Vasily Bessel in 1871. It was included in volume 60 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works (1971), edited by Georgy Kirkor.


Tchaikovsky's autograph manuscript of the arrangement has been lost.

Related Works

The ‘comic musical picture' for orchestra Don Quixote (Op. 87) by Anton Rubinstein (1829–1894), was written in 1870, based on the story El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (1605–15) by Miguel de Cervantes (1547–1616). It was first published by Bessel the following year, simultaneously with Tchaikovsky's arrangement for piano duet.

In 1869, Tchaikovsky had arranged an earlier orchestral work by Anton Rubinstein for piano 4 hands: the musical picture Ivan the Terrible.

Notes and References

  1. Letter 216 to Vasily Bessel, 25 November/7 December 1870.
  2. Letter 225 to Vasily Bessel, 9/21 January 1871.