Kreutzer Sonata (Beethoven)

Tchaikovsky Research

As part of his studies at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory in 1863 or 1864, Tchaikovsky made an orchestral arrangement (TH 168 ; ČW 338) of the opening of the first movement of the Violin Sonata in A minor (Op. 47) by Ludwig van Beethoven, popularly known as the Kreutzer Sonata (Креуцер соната) [1].


Scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (in A), 2 bassoons + 4 horns (in A, E), 2 trumpets (in E), alto trombone, tenor trombone, bass trombone + 2 timpani + violins I, violins II, violas, cellos, and double basses.

Movements and Duration

Tchaikovsky orchestrated only the first 190 bars of the sonata's opening movement: Adagio sostenuto (A major)—Presto (A minor), which lasts around 4 to 5 minutes in performance.


The arrangement was made in 1863 or 1864 during Tchaikovsky's years at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, evidently as a student assignment set by Anton Rubinstein.


The score was published for the first time in 1967 in volume 58 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by Irina Iordan.


Tchaikovsky's manuscript score is now preserved in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin (a1, No. 132) [2].

Related Works

The Sonata for Violin and Piano in A minor, Op. 47 (known as the "Kreutzer") by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), was completed in 1803, and first published in 1805. Tchaikovsky only orchestrated the introduction and exposition of the first movement (Adagio sostenuto—Presto).

External Links

Notes and References

  1. Entitled '"Movement I of the Sonata for Violin and Piano, Op. 47 (fragment)" in ČW.
  2. With the manuscript score is a note by Modest Tchaikovsky: "First Allegro from Beethoven's Sonata Op. 47 for piano with violin (the so-called Kreutzer), arranged for large orchestra".