Tchaikovsky Research

Tchaikovsky's Dumka (Doumka) in C minor, Op. 59 (TH 145 ; ČW 182), subtitled "Russian Rustic Scene" (Scène rustique russe), was written in February 1886 at Maydanovo.

Movements and Duration

There is one movement—Andantino cantabile (C minor, 138 bars)—lasting around 10 minutes in performance.


The Dumka was the result of a commission from the Parisian music publisher Félix Mackar, who in the 1880s had begun to publish Tchaikovsky's works in France.

The earliest sketches for the Dumka were noted down in 1886. On 15/27 February we find the first note concerning the piece in Tchaikovsky's diary: "Wrote little and with difficulty (piece for Mackar)". On 21 February: "In the morning finished the rhapsody for Mackar... After tea... started copying out the rhapsody... Wrote out the first part of the rhapsody" [1].


The first public performance probably took place in Paris, at the second audition organised by the French publisher Félix Mackar on 24 February 1887 [N.S.]. It was played by Louis Diémer [2]. Later, the pianist Edouard Risler performed the Dumka in his concerts [3].

Feliks Blumenfeld performed the Dumka in the first Russian symphony concert on 20 November/2 December 1893.


In a letter of 14/26 April 1886, Mackar wrote to Tchaikovsky: "I don't know how to thank you for remembering me and for the honour which you are showing me by the new manuscript of yours which you wrote to me about. You are acting rightly in handing it over to us, but rest assured that if I had received from you the exclusive copyright to this work for all countries, my intention would have been to yield this copyright to Jurgenson in Moscow immediately, since thanks to him I had the honour of becoming the owner of your works" [4].

In May 1886, the Dumka was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in Moscow [5], and it was reprinted the following year by Félix Mackar in Paris. It was included in volume 53 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by Anatoly Drozdov (1949).


In 1886, the composer asked Pyotr Jurgenson to send the autograph to Félix Mackar: "Can I prevail upon you to do this. i.e. to send it to him?" [6]. Two further letters from Mackar to Tchaikovsky contained complaints directed against Jurgenson for failing to send the manuscript to Paris. Evidently Jurgenson avoided doing so, and the autograph remained in Russia. It is now preserved in the Russian National Museum of Music in Moscow (ф. 88, No. 118) [view].


See: Discography


At Mackar's suggestion, Tchaikovsky dedicated the Dumka to Antoine François Marmontel (1816–98), the influential French pianist, composer and professor at the Paris Conservatory.

External Links

Notes and References

  1. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), pp. 37–39.
  2. See Lucinde Braun, La Terre promise. Frankreich im Leben und Schaffen Cajkovskijs (2014), p. 192.
  3. See Inga Mai Groote, Östliche Ouvertüren. Russische Musik in Paris 1870-1913 (Kassel : Bärenreiter, 2014), p. 359, 363.
  4. Letter from Félix Mackar to Tchaikovsky, 14/26 February 1886 — Klin House-Museum Archive. Published (in Russian translation only) in Чайковский и зарубежные музыканты (1970), p. 152–153.
  5. See Letter 2926 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 3/15 April 1886.
  6. Letter 2981 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 22 June/4 July 1886.