Perpetuum mobile (Weber)

Tchaikovsky Research

Perpetuum mobile (Вечное движение) is an adaptation of the Finale from the Piano Sonata No. 1 in C major (Op. 24) by Carl Maria von Weber, which Tchaikovsky made around 1871 (TH 181; ČW 411).


Scored for solo piano (2 hands). The original part for the right hand is transferred to the left, while the new right hand part is Tchaikovsky's own.

Movements and Duration

There is one movement (C major, 332 bars), lasting around 4 to 5 minutes in performance [1].


The story of the arrangement of the Sonata is told in reminiscences by Mariya Dulova and Nikolay Kashkin. Mariya Dulova recalled: "While my mother-in-law, Aleksandra Yuryevna Zograf-Dulova, was a student at the Conservatory [in 1866], she studied under N. G. Rubinstein and Pyotr Ilyich. While playing with her right hand she began to cry in front of Pyotr Ilyich, who laughed and told her: "Don't cry, Sashenka, I will write you an etude for the left hand. That is how it came to be done" [2].

Nikolay Kashkin's account of the arrangement is different "Students in Tchaikovsky's harmony class worked very hard and with apparent success... Yet N. G. Rubinstein overestimated their abilities to the detriment of the former, and in his piano class he set the harmony students the task of harmonizing the rondo from Weber's First Sonata, with the principal part in the bass. In the end this could not be done satisfactorily, and so Tchaikovsky did it himself. It seems that P. I. Jurgenson printed it then, or perhaps a little later"[3].


Tchaikovsky's arrangement was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in March 1871 [4]. It was included in volume 60 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works (1971), edited by Georgy Kirkor.


Tchaikovsky's autograph score is now preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive (a1, No. 95).

The Russian National Museum of Music in Moscow holds a manuscript copy of the arrangement, with only the title page written by Tchaikovsky (ф. 88, No. 165) [view].


The manuscript score of the arrangement carries a dedication to the pianist Aleksandra Zograf (1850–1919).


See: Discography

Related Works

The Piano Sonata No. 1 in C major, Op. 24 (J. 138) by Carl Maria von Weber (1786–1826), popularly known as "Perpetuum mobile", was composed and first published in 1812. Tchaikovsky arranged only the fourth movement (finale) marked Rondo.

External Links

Notes and References

  1. Tchaikovsky's version has no tempo indication, but Weber's original was marked "Presto".
  2. Letter from Mariya Dulova in the Klin House-Museum Archive — quoted in Музыкальное наследие Чайковского. Из историй его произведений (1958), p. 492.
  3. Nikolay Kashkin, П. И. Чайковский и его жизнеописание (1902).
  4. Dated from a note by Pyotr Jurgenson on Tchaikovsky's manuscript.