The Nightingale

The Nightingale (Соловушко) is a chorus written by Tchaikovsky at Frolovskoye in January 1889 (TH 84 ; ČW 73).


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 [1]. 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 [2]. 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' [3]. 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" [4].


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.


The chorus was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in December 1889 [5], and it was included in volume 43 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works (1941), edited by Ivan Shishov and Nikolay Shemanin.


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.

External Links

Notes and References

  1. Letter from Fyodor Becker to Tchaikovsky, 8/20 January 1889 — Klin House-Museum Archive.
  2. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 220.
  3. Letter 3373 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 18/30 January 1889.
  4. Letters from Pyotr Jurgenson to Tchaikovsky, 21 January/2 February and 26 January/7 February 1889.
  5. Passed by the censor on 15/27 December 1889.