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.
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.