Festival March (Král)

Tchaikovsky Research

The Festival March (Торжественный марш) for piano, by the Czech-born amateur composer K. I. Král, was orchestrated by Tchaikovsky in April or May 1867, although both the arrangement and the original score are now lost.


The arrangement was commissioned from Tchaikovsky in connection with a Slavonic exhibition at Moscow University in May 1867. Nikolay Kashkin recalled that:

At the end of the [18]60s in Moscow, an ethnographic exhibition was organised for many visiting Slavic deputies from abroad; among the deputies were Palatsky, Riger and others. Festivities were organised for the visitors at the university, in which a number of learned and artistic Muscovites took part. From the Musical Society and Conservatory, three of us attended: N. G. Rubinstein, Pyotr Ilyich, and myself. A week and a half before, the professor of the university, the long-dead K. K. Hertz (a former inspector of scientific classes at the conservatory and lecturer on aesthetics) brought along a Festival March, written by a Moscow amateur musician, Czech by birth, to greet the Slav deputies. The March was written for piano, and the author himself had decided not to score it for orchestra, but K. K. Hertz approached Pyotr Ilyich with a request to do this for the sake of our dear guests. Pyotr Ilyich did not refuse, but argued that it would take too long. However, K. K. Hertz persisted, remarking that there was plenty of time for copying out the parts and for rehearsals. By the end of the exchanges, as in similar cases, Pyotr Ilyich yielded, and he placated K. K. Hertz by agreeing to listen to one of his 45-minute lectures on aesthetics. But at the end of the lecture, K. K. Hertz, to his great astonishment, found the full score of the March prepared and left for him, and Pyotr Ilyich himself was not even in the Conservatory [1].


Tchaikovsky's orchestration of Král's march was performed at the Slavonic Exhibition at Moscow University in May 1867.


The whereabouts of Tchaikovsky's manuscript score are unknown.

Related Works

Král's Festival March may have been published by A. Gutheil in Moscow, although no copies of the score have been located [2].

Notes and References

  1. Н. Д. Кашкин. Избранные статьи о П. И. Чайковском (1954), p. 33-34.
  2. Volume 10 of The Universal Handbook of Musical Literature, edited by Franz Pazdirek (Vienna, 1900), lists eight piano works by 'K. Král' (К. Краль), all of which were published by the firm of Gutheil in Moscow, and three also by Pazdirek in Vienna. Among these are a Slavonic March (Славянский марщ) and a Festival March on the Occasion of the Restoration of the Russian Black Sea Fleet (Торжественный марш по случай возрождения русского Черноморского фдота). The historical event commemorated in the latter work dates from 1870, therefore post-dating Tchaikovsky's arrangement, but perhaps the Slavonic March was the work described by Kashkin as the 'Festival March', which Tchaikovsky had been called on to orchestrate for the Slavonic Exhibition. Another of the other piano pieces attributed to Král was entitled Recollections of Slavic Guests' Visit to Moscow (Воспоминаних о пребывании славянских гостей в Москве), which may well have been written to commemorate the exhibition itself.