Suite No. 4

Tchaikovsky Research

The Suite No. 4 [1] in G major, Op. 61 (TH 34 ; ČW 31), entitled Mozartiana (Моцартиана), consists of arrangements of four pieces by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which Tchaikovsky orchestrated during June and July 1887.


The Suite is scored for an orchestra of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (in A, B-flat, C), 2 bassoons + 4 horns (in F), 2 trumpets (in B-flat) + 3 timpani, cymbals, glockenspiel + harp, violins I, violins II, cellos, and double basses.

Movements and Duration

There are four movements:

  1. Gigue. Allegro (G major, 41 bars)
    Arranged from Mozart's Eine kleine Gigue for keyboard (K.574).
  2. Menuet. Moderato (D major, 40 bars)
    Arranged from Mozart's Minuet for keyboard (K.355/567b).
  3. Preghiera. Andante non tanto (B-flat major, 67 bars)
    Arranged from Franz Liszt's piece À la Chapelle Sixtine (S.461), which itself was a solo piano transcription of Mozart's motet Ave verum corpus, originally written for voices, strings and organ (K.618).
  4. Thème et variations. Allegro giusto (G major, 342 bars)
    Arranged from Mozart's Variations on the theme "Unser dummel Pöbel meint" (from Gluck's opera La Rencontre imprévue, written in 1764) for keyboard (K.455).

A complete performance lasts approximately 25 minutes.


Tchaikovsky first had the idea of compiling a suite from works by Mozart in 1884, while he was working on the recitatives and translation of Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro. On 17/29 May 1884 he noted in his diary: "Played Mozart and was in raptures. Thought about a suite from Mozart" [2]. Distracted by other compositional projects, Tchaikovsky only returned to this idea in 1886. In his diary we read: 4/16 February — "In Jurgenson's store chose some Mozart for a suite" [3]; 6/18 February — "Vacillating over my choice of Mozart"; 8/20 February — "After supper was carried away with choosing from Mozart for a suite...". Evidently a selection of Mozart's piano pieces had been chosen, but work on the opera The Enchantress prevented the composer from taking up his new project.

On 11/23 July 1886 Tchaikovsky wrote to Sergey Taneyev: "I've still not begun the Mozart suite" [4]. It was almost a year before Tchaikovsky started to work on the orchestration of the Suite, in Borzhom, where he had gone to take the waters. On 17/29 July 1887 he wrote in his diary: "After dinner started to orchestrate the Mozart variations" [5]. There are further references in his diary for 19/31 July and 20 July/1 August. On the latter date Tchaikovsky wrote to Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov: "Long ago I began to think about orchestrating a suite from piano pieces by Mozart" [6].

In a letter to Pyotr Jurgenson of 24 June/6 July 1887, the composer reported on his work on the Suite: "I've done almost nothing. I say almost because for around an hour each day I'm occupied with orchestrating piano pieces by Mozart, which by the end of the summer I should have turned into a suite. In my opinion this suite has a good selection of pieces and a novel character (the old given a contemporary treatment) [7]. In the same letter Tchaikovsky wrote: "The only thing is, I don't know what it should be called. It's necessary to come up with something new from the name Mozart, because if the suite is a success then I shall do another, and even a third" [8]. I don't want Mozartiana, for that's too reminiscent of Kreisleriana[9], etc.". In his letter of reply of 4/16 July, Jurgenson persuaded Tchaikovsky to adopt the title Mozartiana, saying that "Any resemblance or similarity to Kreisleriana is of no significance" [10].

Until late June/early July, Tchaikovsky was occupied in the orchestration of the fourth movement of the Suite—Theme and Variations [11]. On 4/16 July he noted in his diary: "After dinner worked on the Ave verum, i.e. scoring the third movement of the suite" [12]. On 6/18 July, Tchaikovsky left Borzhom in order to visit the seriously ill Nikolay Kondratyev in Aachen, where he arrived on 15/27 July. It is possible that the orchestration of the Ave verum had been completed in Borzhom, or on 18/30 July at Aachen, since in his diary for 18/30 July he noted: "After tea began scoring the Gigue (i.e. the first movement)". The Gigue was finished on 21 July/2 August [13]. Tchaikovsky reported his progress on the Mozart Suite in letters to Sergey Taneyev and Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov on 22 July/3 August [14].

Immediately after the Gigue, Tchaikovsky orchestrated the Minuet (the second movement) and completed this on 23 July/4 August [15]. On 28 July/9 August he wrote in his diary: "I finished putting the final touches to my suite" [16]. In a letter of 29 July/10 August he told Pyotr Jurgenson that he was sending him the completed suite [17].


The first performance of Mozartiana took place in Moscow on 14/26 November 1887 at the second symphony concert of the Russian Musical Society, conducted by the composer [18]. In Saint Petersburg, the Suite was performed for the first time on 12/24 December 1887 at the third symphony concert of the Russian Musical Society, again with Tchaikovsky conducting.

Other notable early performances included:

  • Saint Petersburg, 3rd Russian Musical Society symphony concert, 12/24 December 1887, conducted by Tchaikovsky
  • New York, Steinway Hall, 23 January/4 February 1888, conducted by Theodore Thomas
  • London, Queen's Hall, 12/24 September 1897, conducted by Henry Wood.


The full score of the Suite was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in Moscow in November 1887. Tchaikovsky told Jurgenson that "In the course of the orchestration I made minute enhancements and modifications to the harmony, which I considered necessary so that this could be published in a piano duet arrangement" [19]. Arrangements for piano duet (4 hands) and for solo piano by Eduard Langer were published by Jurgenson in 1888.

The published score carries a short foreword by Tchaikovsky (in Russian, German and French):

A large number of Mozart's outstanding short pieces are, for some incomprehensible reason, little known not only to the public, but even to many musicians. The author who has arranged this Suite entitled "Mozartiana" wished to provide a new impetus for the more frequent performance of these gems of musical art, unpretentious in form, but containing incomparable beauties — Moscow, 5 October 1887. P. Tchaikovsky.

The full score of Mozartiana was published in volume 20 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by Ivan Shishov (1946).


Tchaikovsky's manuscript score is now preserved in the Russian National Museum of Music in Moscow (ф. 88, No. 79) [view].


See: Discography

External Links



Criticism and Analysis

Notes and References

  1. The designation 'Suite No.4' did not appear on the autograph or the first editions of the full score, but was first used on the published piano solo arrangement by Eduard Langer which Jurgenson issued in 1888.
  2. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 22.
  3. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 34.
  4. Letter 3001 to Sergey Taneyev, 11/23 July 1886.
  5. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 154.
  6. Letter 3293 to Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, 22 July/3 August 1887. See also Letter 3270 to Aleksandra and Nikolay Hubert, 20 June/2 July 1887.
  7. Letter 3275 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 24 June/6 July 1887.
  8. These suites were not written.
  9. Kreisleriana was a set of 8 fantasy piano pieces by Robert Schumann, Op. 16 (1838, rev. 1850).
  10. Letter from Pyotr Jurgenson to Tchaikovsky, 4 July 1887 — Klin House-Museum Archive.
  11. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 157.
  12. Diary entry for 22 June 1887, and Letter 3275 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 24 June/6 July 1887.
  13. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), pp. 161–162.
  14. Letter 3294 to Sergey Taneyev, and Letter 3293 to Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, both 22 July/3 August.
  15. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 163.
  16. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 164.
  17. Letter 3305 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 29 July/10 August 1887.
  18. See Letter 3399 to Nadezhda von Meck, 13/25 November 1887.
  19. See Letter 3305 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 29 July/10 August 1887, and letter from Pyotr Jurgenson to Tchaikovsky, 13/25 August 1887 — Klin House-Museum Archive.