Scored for soprano, alto, tenor and bass soloists, with piano accompaniment.
Movements and Duration
There is one movement: Moderato assai (B-flat major, 154 bars), lasting approximately 4 minutes in performance.
The words were written by Tchaikovsky, attributed in the score only to N. N.".
The idea for a vocal quartet on Mozart's music seems to have occurred to Tchaikovsky in 1892, while he was living at Maydanovo, where Vladimir Nápravník had been playing through many piano works by various authors, including Mozart . On 18/30 May 1892, Vladimir Nápravník wrote to Tchaikovsky: "I remember, dear Pyotr Ilyich, that recently you wanted to arrange some Mozart that you wanted to arrange as a quartet for singers. Did you do this or not?" . In fact Tchaikovsky did not carry out his intention until 1893, at the beginning of March—the manuscript is dated "Klin. 3 March 1893" [O.S.]. The autograph is subtitled: "Music adapted from Mozart's Fantasia No. 4 and arranged by P. Tchaikovsky".
In 1893, before Tchaikovsky's death, the quartet was orchestrated by Sergey Taneyev . In a letter from Taneyev to Jurgenson of 19/31 January 1896, we read: "Have you found Night?... I don't want to send to my full score, with the inscription made by Pyotr Ilyich, to Saint Petersburg..." . This orchestration of the quartet was performed for the first time on 6/18 November 1893 in Moscow, at the second symphony concert of the Russian Musical Society, with soloists Berta Abramova (soprano), Yevgeniya Zbrueva (alto), Mitrofan Chupynnikov (tenor) and Vasily Gepetsky (bass), conducted by Vasily Safonov. The full score of Taneyev's arrangement was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in the same year.
- See: Night: Recordings
The quartet is dedicated to Yelizaveta Lavrovskaya.
The music is based on the B-flat episode from the Fantasie No. 4 in C minor for piano, K.475, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Notes and References
- Modest Tchaikovsky, (1902), p. 655.
- Letter from Vladimir Nápravník to Tchaikovsky, 18/30 May 1892 — Klin House-Museum Archive.
- See Nikolay Kashkin, (1896), p. 179–180.
- Passed by the censor on 17/29 March 1893.
- The manuscript of Taneyev’s arrangement, preserved in the Klin House-Museum, bears the date "Saint Petersburg. 27 March 93".
- Letter from Sergey Taneyev to Pyotr Jurgenson, 6/18 November 1893 — State Central Archive for Literature and the Arts in Moscow. This manuscript includes a note to Boris Jurgenson: " Boris Petrovich! I am sending you the orchestration of the quartet Night, made by S. I. Taneyev. I think it would be an excellent idea to print it and the parts. P. Tchaikovsky, 28 March 93".