Scored for unaccompanied mixed chorus (SATB).
Movements and Duration
There is one movement: Andante molto (D major, 72 bars), lasting around 4 minutes in performance.
The words were written by the composer.
In a letter of 8/20 January 1889, Fyodor Becker approached Tchaikovsky with a commission to write two secular choruses for a choral concert to be given by the Imperial Opera . One of these was an arrangement of the Legend (No. 5 of the Sixteen Songs for Children, Op. 54, and the other was a new chorus entitled The Nightingale, to the composer's own words.
On 12/24 January Tchaikovsky gave the score of The Nightingale to Pyotr Jurgenson, who was visiting the composer at Frolovskoye . On 18/30 January 1889, before departing for Saint Petersburg, and then on abroad, Tchaikovsky wrote to Jurgenson: "Don't forget to send Becker my chorus' . On 21 January/2 February 1889 the publisher replied: "Becker's chorus is being copied out", and on 26 January/7 February reported: "The chorus for Becker has been copied out" .
The Nightingale was performed for the first time in a concert of the Imperial Opera in Saint Petersburg on 19/31 March 1889, conducted by Fyodor Becker. It received its premiere in Moscow on 13/25 December 1892 at a Russian Choral Society concert, conducted by Anton Arensky.
Tchaikovsky's manuscript score of The Nightingale has been lost.
- See: Discography
The Nightingale is dedicated to the Chorus of the Imperial Opera in Saint Petersburg.
Notes and References
- Letter from Fyodor Becker to Tchaikovsky, 8/20 January 1889 — Klin House-Museum Archive.
- See (1923), p. 220.
- Letter 3373 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 18/30 January 1889.
- Letters from Pyotr Jurgenson to Tchaikovsky, 21 January/2 February and 26 January/7 February 1889.
- Passed by the censor on 15/27 December 1889.