Six Romances, Op. 25
Scored for high voice (Nos. 2, 3, 4), medium voice (Nos. 1, 6), or low voice (No. 5), with piano accompaniment.
Movements and Duration
- Reconciliation (Примиренье)
Moderato quasi Andante (G minor, 76 bars).
- As Over the Burning Ashes (Как над горячею золой)
Allegro con spirito (B minor, 74 bars).
- Mignon's Song (Песнь Миньоны)
Allegro moderato (E-flat major, 82 bars).
- The Canary (Канарейка)
Moderato (G minor, 58 bars).
- I Never Spoke to Her (Я с нею никогда не говорил)
Andante semplice (A major, 55 bars).
- As They Kept Saying: "Fool" (Как наладили: «Дурак»)
Allegro giocoso (G minor, 55 bars).
1. Nikolay Shcherbina (1821–1869), from his poem of the same name (1848):
О, засни, моё сердце, глубоко!
2. Fyodor Tyutchev (1803–1873), from an untitled poem (1830?):
Как над горячею золой
Ты знаешь край, где мирт и лавр растёт,
4. Lev Mey (1822–1862), from his poem of the same name (1859):
Говорит султанша канарейке:
5. Lev Mey, from his poem Octaves (Октавы) (1844):
Я с нею никогда не говорил,
6. Lev Mey, from his poem Song (Песня) (1860):
Как наладили: «Дурак,
In Mignon's Song (No. 3) and I Never Spoke to Her (No. 5), Tchaikovsky made minor alterations to the texts.
The first reference to the projected romances occurs in Tchaikovsky's letter to Vasily Bessel of 9/21 November 1874: "I shall certainly write the romances, but do not rush me. I am again beginning to think about a new large-scale composition which, since I finished the piano score of the opera, has taken over all my thoughts. The romances will be written, assuredly, during the winter." . The "large work" mentioned was the Piano Concerto No. 1, and the opera—Vakula the Smith.
According to the dates on the manuscripts of the concerto, the draft was completed on 21 December 1874/2 January 1875, and the instrumentation on 9/21 February. In a letter to Modest Tchaikovsky of 13/25 February 1875, the composer reported that he had finished the piano concerto and was writing the Sérénade mélancolique, Op. 26 .
On 22 March/3 April 1875, Tchaikovsky wrote to Vasily Bessel: "I have sent you the romances, together with the proofs. What should I put as the opus number? Shouldn't it be 25?". In this same letter, Tchaikovsky enclosed his receipt for the 150 rubles he had been paid for the opus 25 set by Bessel .
They were published for the first time by Vasily Bessel in April 1875 . In 1940, they were included in volume 44 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by Ivan Shishov and Nikolay Shemanin.
- See: Discography
For the most part, the romances are dedicated to performers from the first production of the opera The Oprichnik in 1874.
- Aleksandra Krutikova (1851-1919), soprano, who performed the role of Morozova in the opera.
- Dmitry Orlov (1842-1919), tenor, who premiered the role of Andrey.
- Mariya Kamenskaya (1854-1925), mezzo-soprano.
- Wilhelmina Raab (1848-1917), soprano, who portrayed Natalya in The Oprichnik.
- Ivan Melnikov (1832-1906), baritone, who premiered Vyazminsky in the opera.
The manuscript score shows that Tchaikovsky originally considered dedicating Nos. 2 and 3 to Wilhelmina Raab, and No. 4 to Mariya Kamenskaya.
The romance As They Chanted: Fool (No. 6) carries no dedication.
Notes and References
- Letter 369 to Vasily Bessel, 9/21 November 1874.
- Letter 391 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 13/25 February 1875.
- Letter 396 to Vasily Bessel, 22 March/3 April 1875.
- Passed by the censor on 29 March/10 April 1875. The journal Музыкальный листок [Musical leaves] of 20 April 1875 [O.S.] contains an advertisement for the "forthcoming" romances, which appeared on sale in the following week's issue.