The Nutcracker

Tchaikovsky Research

The Nutcracker (Щелкунчик) [1], Op. 71 (TH 14 ; ČW 14), is a fairy ballet in 2 acts and 3 scenes, written and orchestrated by Tchaikovsky between February 1891 and April 1892. The story was based on a children's fairy tale by E. T. A. Hoffmann, adapted by Alexandre Dumas.

This was Tchaikovsky's last ballet, from which he compiled a famous Suite of eight numbers for concert performance.


The ballet is scored for a large orchestra consisting of 3 flutes (2nd and 3rd doubling piccolos), 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets (in A, B-flat), bass clarinet (in A, B-flat), 2 bassoons + 4 horns (in F), 2 trumpets (in A, B-flat), 3 trombones, tuba + 4 timpani, triangle, tambourine, cymbals, bass drum, tam tam, glockenspiel, castanets, toy instruments (rattle, trumpets (in C), drums, 2 rabbit drummers, cuckoos, quails, cymbals) + celesta (or piano) + 2 harps, violins I, violins II, violas, cellos, and double basses.

The Waltz of the Snowflakes (Act I, No. 9) includes a wordless chorus. Tchaikovsky instructed that "This chorus should comprise 12 sopranos and 12 altos. It is all the more desirable that they should be youths from a choir. But if this is impractical, then this choral part may be performed by 24 voices an operatic chorus".

The toy instruments are used in Act I (No. 5), and Tchaikovsky noted in the score that "These instruments are essentially the same as those used in the first scene of The Queen of Spades. They should be played at the points indicated by the children in the scene”, and also: “The Rattle (Schnarre) is as used in the children's symphonies by Haydn, Romberg, etc. It should be obtainable in any musical store".

At the head of the opening Scene (Act II, No. 10), Tchaikovsky noted: “The artist performing the Celesta part should be a good pianist”. In the Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy (No. 14, Var. 2), he noted that “If the celesta is unavailable, then this part may be played on the piano”.

Movements and Duration

Tchaikovsky's original score contains an overture and 15 numbers. Act I is divided into two scenes (comprising Nos. 1–7 and Nos. 8–9). The titles of numbers in French (italic type) and Russian (Cyrillic) are taken from the published score, with English translations added in bold type.

Overture (Ouverture ; Интродукция)
Allegro giusto (182 bars)
Act I Scene 1 No. 1 Scene: Decoration and Lighting of the Christmas Tree (Scène: L'ornement et l'illumination de l'arbre de Noël ; Сцена: Украшение и зажигание елки)
Allegro non troppo — Allegro vivace (134 bars)
No. 2 March (Marche ; Марш)
Tempo di Marcia viva (88 bars)
No. 3 Children's Galop and Entry of the Parents (Petit galop des enfants et entrée des parents ; Детский галоп и выход родителей)
Presto — Andante — Allegro (118 bars)
No. 4 Dancing Scene (Scène dansante ; Сцена с танцами)
Andantino — Allegro vivo — Andantino sostenuto — Allegro molto vivace — Tempo di Valse — Presto (258 bars)
No. 5 Scene and Grandfather Dance (Scène et danse Großvater ; Сцена и танец гросфатер)
Andante (Tempo di Valse) — Andantino — Moderato Assai — Andante — Tempo di Grossvater — Allegro vivacissimo (225 bars)
No. 6 Scene: Departure of the guests. Night (Scène: Le départ des invités. La nuit ; Сцена: Уход гостей. Ночь)
Allegro semplice — Moderato con moto — Allegro giusto — Moderato assai (161 bars)
No. 7 Scene: The Battle (Scène: La bataille ; Сцена: Сражение)
Allegro vivo (121 bars)
Scene 2 No. 8 Scene: A Fir Forest in Winter (Scène: Une forêt de sapins en hiver ; Сцена: Еловый лес зимой)
Andante (71 bars)
No. 9 Waltz of the Snowflakes (Valse des flocons de neige ; Вальс снежных хлопьев)
Tempo di Valse, ma con moto — Presto (407 bars)
Act II No. 10 Scene: The Magical Palace of Confiturenburg (Scène: La palais enchanté de Confiturenbourg ; Сцена: Дворец сластей Конфитюренбург)
Andante (91 bars)
No. 11 Scene: Arrival of the Nutcracker and Clara (Scène: L'arrivée de Casse-Noisette et Claire ; Сцена: Прибытие Клары и Щелкунчика)
Andante con moto — Moderato — Allegro agitato (142 bars)
No. 12 Divertissement (Дивертиссмент):
(a) Chocolate: Spanish Dance (Le chocolat: Danse espagnole ; Шоколад: Испанский танец)
Allegro brillante (178 bars)
(b) Coffee: Arabian Dance (Le café: Danse arabe ; Кофе: Арабский танец)
Comodo (102 bars)
(c) Tea: Chinese Dance (Le thé: Danse chinoise ; Чай: Китайский танец)
Allegro moderato (32 bars)
(d) Trepak: Russian Dance (Trépak: Danse russe ; Трепак: Русский танец) [2]
Tempo di Trepak, molto vivace — Prestissimo (84 bars)
(e) Dance of the Reed-Flutes (Danse des mirlitons ; Танец пастушков) [3]
Andantino (77 bars)
(f) Mother Gigogne and the Clowns (La mère Gigogne et les polichinelles ; Мамаша Жигонь и паяцы) [4]
Allegro giocoso — Andantino — Allegro vivo (156 bars)
No. 13 Waltz of the Flowers (Valse des fleurs ; Вальс цветов)
Tempo di Valse (353 bars)
No. 14 Pas de deux:
[a] Andante maestoso (74 bars)
[b] Var. I. [Tarantella] [5]. Tempo di Tarantella (51 bars)
[c] Var. II. [Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy]. Andante ma non troppo — Presto (84 bars)
[d] Coda (Кода)
Vivace assai (102 bars)
No. 15 Final Waltz and Apotheosis (Valse finale et Apothéose ; Финальный вальс и Апофеоз)
Tempo di Valse – Molto meno (294 bars)

A complete performance of The Nutcracker lasts around 90 minutes.


The libretto was compiled by Ivan Vsevolozhsky and Marius Petipa [6], after the story of Histoire d'un Casse-Noisette (1845) by Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870), which was an adaptation from the German of Der Nußknacker und Mausekönig (1816) by E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) [7].


The story is set in eighteenth-century Germany:

Act I. It is Christmas Eve in the home of President Silberhaus of the Town Council and his children, Clara and Fritz (Scene 1). The parents are decorating the tree. Nine o'clock strikes, on a clock consisting of an owl which flaps its wings at each stroke. The children burst into the room with some friends, and all join in a lively march round the room, before breaking into a galop. Then the other children's parents enter, dressed as fops and dandies. A general dance follows, which is interrupted by the arrival of Councillor Drosselmeyer, who is Clara's godfather. The children are alarmed at his odd appearance, until they see that he has brought them toys: a mechanical doll, a toy soldier, Harlequin and Colombine. He produces these from a large cabbage and from a large pie, much to the children's delight. Silberhaus orders the more expensive toys to be moved to his study, but Clara and Fritz want to play with them. Clara bursts into tears. To console them, Drosselmeyer gives them a huge Nutcracker in the form of a soldier, which enchants Clara. Fritz hears the noise of the nuts cracking, and tries to seize the nutcracker. When Clara reluctantly lets him play with it, he tries to crack a nut so big that it is the Nutcracker which breaks. Clara picks up the broken Nutcracker and cradles it in her arms., singing it a lullaby, while the boys tease her. The scene ends with a general Grandfather dance. After everyone has gone to bed Clara comes down to see her Nutcracker, which seems to be giving off a mysterious light. Midnight strikes, and mice appear from every corner. The dolls spring to life, and gingerbread soldiers left over from tea begin to march to and fro. She tries to run away, but her legs will not carry her. The Christmas-tree grows enormously in size. Dolls and soldiers join in battle with the mice, who overwhelm the soldiers. Then the Nutcracker summons his old guard, and fights the King of the Mice. Just as it appears that the Nutcracker is about to be overwhelmed, Clara throws her slipper at the King of the Mice, and kills him. The Nutcracker is transformed into a handsome Prince, and he offers Clara a journey to his kingdom. The room is transformed into a pine forest (Scene 2), and the night sky clears to reveal a host of stars. Clara and the Prince are guided through the forest by gnomes with torches. Snowflakes fall and they are met by the King and Queen, who join their subjects in a swirling waltz.

Act II. In the palace of the Kingdom of Sweets (Confiturenburg), the Sugar Plum fairy appears to welcome the travellers to the delights of her kingdom. Beside a river of rose water, Clara and the Prince appear and are welcomed in the Great Hall of the palace. The Prince is greeted by his sisters, and tells how Clara saved his life. She is thanked profusely. The company settle dawn to a splendid banquet and divertissement. Dances from Spain, Arabia, China and Russia are followed by a shepherds' pastoral dance, using toy flutes. Then the old-woman-who-lived-in-a-shoe dances with all her children and a group of clowns. A waltz for the Sugar-Plum Fairy's attendants, is followed by a Pas de deux for the Prince and the Sugar-Plum fairy. The entire court joins in the final waltz, and the curtain falls on a final tribute to Clara [8].


The ballet was commissioned by the Director of the Russian Imperial Theatres, Ivan Vsevolozhsky, who held preliminary talks with the composer in November and December 1890 [9]. On 22 January/3 February 1891, Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother Anatoly: "At the end of the week I shall be going to Saint Petersburg for final discussions with the director about the opera [Iolanta] and the ballet" [10]. Tchaikovsky stayed in Saint Petersburg until 11/23 February, where, evidently, he received the choreographer Marius Petipa's manuscript plan of the first act of the ballet, which was dated "5 February 1891" [O.S.] [11].

According to Modest Tchaikovsky, the composer was "very little pleased by the subject of The Nutcracker" [12], more precisely with the nature of the ballet's scenario, since E. T. A. Hoffmann's fairy tale, upon which it was based, had long ranked high in the composer's estimation, and was the reason for his agreeing to write the ballet The Nutcracker.

Tchaikovsky's unfavourable attitude to the using The Nutcracker for a ballet scenario is reflected in a letter from Ivan Vsevolozhsky to Tchaikovsky of 9/21 August 1891: "I have experienced agonies of remorse for asking you to do this ballet. I know that it is unappealing to you. You are an exceptionally kind soul for not refusing me" [13].

It is not possible to establish the exact date on which work on the sketches was begun. By 12/24 February the composer had not begun work [14], but by 18 February/2 March some scenes had been composed—No. 1 (the decoration of the tree) and No. 2 (march—entrance of the children), after which came a number of characteristic dances: Chinese and Spanish dances, a tarantella, an English dance ("Gigue") [15], and the start of a Trepak.

On 18 February/2 March, Tchaikovsky went again to Saint Petersburg. Before his departure he received a letter written by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, dated 15/27 February: "I hope to see you in Saint Petersburg before your departure for America. I want to pass on to you some ideas for the ballet, which do not fit in with Petipa's scheme. He is what the French call vieu jeu [16]. All the solos and variations he devised for the first act, would be of little interest to the public. You need now only to compose great dances, and not for dancers, and all those variations... would only irritate the majority of the audience" [17].

Returning to Frolovskoye on 22 February/6 March, Tchaikovsky made notes in his sketchbook after the start of the Trepak: "Not finished, because during a visit to Saint Petersburg I learned that Vsevolozhsky did not want dances here and, probably, they will be carried over to the 2nd act".

The arrangement of the sketches allows us to infer the order in which the music was written—the composer adhered to the essence Marius Petipa's plan, indicating any deviations from it in his notebook. After meeting with Vsevolozhsky, Tchaikovsky crossed out the names of the characteristic dances in Petipa's balletmaster plan, and instead wrote: "Galop pour les enfants et entrée des parents en incroyables... 16 mesures rococo (tempo menuet). Bon voyage, M. Dumolet", the latter being the title of a humorous 18th century French song, subsequently used in the music for this number. But the composer did not write the music for this scene straight away, noting down only a few sketches eventually used for the gallop, beside the note: "This is the start of the coda, composed during a stroll in Piter [Petersburg]".

Next he continued with Petipa's plan and on 22 February/6 March set about the music for Drosselmeyer's entrance. The author's sketch book includes two dates—23 February/7 March and 27 February/11 March—which allows us to establish that on these days he finished the scene with Drosselmeyer, and wrote the scene with the children and the Nutcracker (No. 5), except for the Grossvater[18]. Omitting the Grossvater, Tchaikovsky wrote in his sketch book: "Talk to Petipa regarding the Grossvater, how many times it should be repeated, and whether it should be varied, and have Jurgenson obtain the [musical] notes". There is a second note, apparently made later: "Grossvater — see the end of the copybook after everything else".

Beside one of the sketches for No. 5 (the scene described as "Lullaby, twice interrupted by the noise of Fritz and his friends on drums and pipes"), Tchaikovsky noted: "Le vacarme" [19] "... (child's trumpet), cuckoo (sol, mi), rattle, drums, cymbals as in Haydn's symphony (or three of these, depending on whatever children's instruments will be available)".

On 19 February/3 March, Tchaikovsky wrote from Saint Petersburg to Pyotr Jurgenson: "I require children's instruments (from the symphonies of Haydn and Romberg), because I want to make use of them in my forthcoming ballet. Send them, if you please, to Frolovskoye without delay. And also send notes, explaining how the children's instruments should be played" [20]. On 23 February/7 March, Jurgenson responded: "I am sending you a box of instruments by train" [21].

On 25 February/9 March, the composer wrote to Modest Tchaikovsky: "I am working with all my strength and reconciling myself to the subject of the ballet. I think that by the time I leave a considerable part of the first act will have been done" [22]. On 27 February/11 March, after sketching the night scene (Clara's vision), Tchaikovsky wrote: "Here I am leaving out a lot, up to the Waltz of the Snowflakes". Indeed, he omitted the battle scene between the mice and toys, and start of the second scene of Act I—depicting the forest at night—and instead the composer went on to the Waltz of the Snowflakes. After this he wrote: "Return to No. 22" (on Marius Petipa's plan No. 22 was the start of the battle scene), and sketches for the battle of the mice and toys followed.

This concluded Tchaikovsky's work on the ballet before his departure abroad on 6/18 March. On the day of his departure from Saint Petersburg, the composer discussed the ballet with Marius Petipa [23]. It seems that at this meeting the outline scenario for Act II was finalised. In any case, the balletmaster's plan of this act was sent to Tchaikovsky only while he was abroad. On the copy of the manuscript of the plan is Petipa's note: "This was sent on 9 March 1891 [O.S.] to Mr. P. Tchaikovsky in Paris" [24].

Work on the ballet continued during his journey: "I will try to work on the boat. Even on the way here I composed a little of the ballet", Tchaikovsky wrote from Berlin on 8/20 March 1891 [25]. It has not been established whether Tchaikovsky composed anything on his way to Berlin. In Paris, where Tchaikovsky arrived on 10/22 March, work on the ballet did not come easily. On 15/27 March, he wrote to Vladimir Davydov: "I shall leave Paris on 6th April/25 March, I still don't know where to, in order to work on the ballet" [26], and on 30 March/11 April he reported to Praskovya Tchaikovskaya from Rouen: "I came here yesterday for a few days' rest and solitude from Parisian life" [27]. Evidently, in Rouen Tchaikovsky resumed work on 31 March/12 April. This date, together with the note " Rouen" was made by the composer on the inside front cover of his notebook, which on its first pages contains sketches for the opening of the second scene of Act I [28]. The date "Rouen, 12 April" was also written by Tchaikovsky on the choreographer's manuscript plan of Act II.

Tchaikovsky stayed in Rouen until 5/17 April. During this time he wrote the opening of the second scene, and the numbers he had previously omitted from the first scene of Act 1: Petit galop des enfants, Entrée des parents, "Bon voyage, M-r Dumolet"; then there followed sketches for the Grossvater dance and some additions to the dance of the Incroyables [29].

On 3/15 April, Tchaikovsky wrote from Rouen to Ivan Vsevolozhsky: "As I expected, during my three weeks in Paris, it goes without saying that I could not write a single note. I came to Rouen in order to work a little. And I have been here nearly a week, working all hours; two days remain before I sail for America. In this time I will have prepared the sketches for the first two scenes of the ballet. But the question is, when will I be able to do the rest?". Tchaikovsky then asked Vsevolozhsky whether the productions of the ballet and opera could be postponed until the next season: "I could complete my voyage to America without the torments, the doubts, and the fears; return home calm and rested from any conceivable traumas experienced in Paris and America, and enjoy working little by little, confident that I will be writing two masterpieces (pardon my immodesty)" [30]. On the same day, Tchaikovsky wrote of this to his brother Modest [31].

The next day, in a deep depression caused by the unexpected news of his sister Aleksandra's death, he wrote: "Even more than yesterday and the day before, I feel absolutely incapable of depicting Confitüremburg in music" [32].

On 20 April/2 May the composer wrote from New York to Eduard Nápravník: "I cannot start working again before June at the earliest... otherwise whatever I tried to write would turn out wretchedly" [33].

Ivan Vsevolozhsky agreed to postpone the ballet and the opera, and further work on the ballet was only resumed after Tchaikovsky's return from America, in Maydanovo at the end of May 1891. "On 9th May [O.S.] I floated away from America... on 20th May [O.S.] I arrived in Petersburg, and this morning here. Now I have started to work" [34].

On 3/15 June 1891, the composer told Pyotr Jurgenson that he was writing Act II of the ballet; he also asked him to order a new orchestral instrument ("Celesta-Mustel") from Paris, "with a divinely unusual sound", which he wanted to use in the symphonic ballad The Voyevoda and in the ballet[35].

Letters to various correspondents during June refer to work on the ballet. On 2/14 June the composer wrote to Anna Merkling: "At this moment my work is coming along very successfully" [36]. On the same day he wrote to Praskovya Tchaikovskaya: "Work is proceeding intensively, and I'm glad that my travels are over" [37].

On 17/29 June, Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother Modest: "It is also good for me here, but work isn't going as quickly now as at first. There are unexpected distractions" [38].

On 25 June/7 July in a letter to Vladimir Davydov, Tchaikovsky wrote: "Remember when you were here I boasted that I had something like five days left to finish the ballet? It turned out that I only just managed it in 2 weeks. No! The old man is evidently declining. Not only is his hair thinning and turning silver as snow, not only are his teeth falling out and refusing to chew food, not only are his eyes weakening and becoming easily tired, not only are his feet starting to drag rather than walk—but his singular remaining faculty is starting to fade and disappear. The ballet is infinitely worse that "The Sleeping Beauty"—of this I'm sure. Let's see how the opera will turn out" [39]. On the same day, the composer told Modest Tchaikovsky and Aleksandra Hubert that he had finished the sketches, complaining that he was greatly tired, and "it seems the old man is starting to take his last breaths" [40]. In a letter to Sergey Taneyev of 27 June/9 July 1891, Tchaikovsky also reported that he had finished the ballet "with a feverish haste and the constant doubts that I would muster the energy to finish the ballet in rough" [41].

The sequence of sketches in Act II indicates that the composer adhered to Marius Petipa's plan. In the divertissement, Tchaikovsky used dances that were originally written for Act I. And so, where the plan called for "Dances", under the title Le chocolat, Tchaikovsky noted: "Spanish dance, see 1st copybook"; the same applied for the dance Tea — "See 1st copybook" (the Chinese dance was used). Near to sketches for the dance Polichinella, Tchaikovsky wrote: "No. 3—Giroflé-Giroflá, popular French song", i.e. here he employed an authentic folk song [42]. In the Pas de deux, Tchaikovsky omitted the male variation, and on a blank page he wrote: "Transfer from the 1st act (formerly the tarantella) but ½ tone lower", and wrote out the first two bars.

After finishing the sketches of the ballet, Tchaikovsky left to spend some days in Saint Petersburg, and on his return he began to compose the opera Iolanta, and also to correct the full score of the opera Yevgeny Onegin. It was considerably later that Tchaikovsky set about the instrumentation of the ballet, in January 1892, after he had already orchestrated the opera. He began by orchestrating the few numbers which were to be performed as a Suite from the ballet. In a letter to Pyotr Jurgenson of 25 January/6 February 1892 from Saint Petersburg, the composer reported: "I want to catch up with orchestrating some numbers from the new ballet, which I've promised will be played at a local Musical Society concert on 29 February" [O.S.] [43].

On 28 January/9 February he wrote to Pyotr Jurgenson: "I'm starting with the orchestration of those numbers from the ballet which will go into the suite, and will then do the rest. I think it will be finished by the summer" [44]. The date at the start of the fair copy of the Suite reads: "8 Feb. 1892 [O.S.], Maydanovo". On 17/29 March, Tchaikovsky wrote to his brother Modest: "My work is in full swing, and soon only the final markings will remain, and I hope to completely finish the score by Passion Week" [45]. On 23 March/4 April the instrumentation was completed, according to the date on the manuscript score. On 25 March/6 April he wrote to Jurgenson: "I've finished the ballet; all that remains is to insert the markings and put it in order" [46].


The Nutcracker was arranged for piano by Sergey Taneyev, but in view of the difficulty of this arrangement, Tchaikovsky made a simplified one of his own. This work was carried out at the end of August 1892 [47].


See The Nutcracker (suite).


The premiere of the ballet, with the opera Iolanta, took place on 6/18 December 1892 in Saint Petersburg, at the Mariinsky Theatre, conducted by Riccardo Drigo, and produced by the balletmaster Lev Ivanov. The principal performers were: Stanislava Belinskaya (Clara), Sergey Legat (Nutcracker), Timofey Stukolkin (Drosselmeyer), Feliks Kshesinsky (Silberhaus), Augusta Ogoleit (Frau Silberhaus), Vasily Stukolkin (Fritz), Antonietta Dell'Era (Sugar-Plum Fairy) and Pavel Gerdt (Nutcracker).

According to the composer the audience was unenthusiastic: "The Nutcracker was staged quite well: it was lavishly produced and everything went off perfectly, but nevertheless, it seemed to me that the public did not like it. They were bored" [48]

In Moscow the first production of The Nutcracker did not take place until 21 May 1919, in a production at the Bolshoi Theatre by the balletmaster Aleksandr Gorsky, conducted by Nikolay Fyodorov. The principal soloists were Valentina Kudryavtseva (Clara), Yefim Yefimov (Nutcracker) and Aleksey Bulgakov (Drosselmeyer).

The first complete performance outside Russia took place in Prague at the National Theatre (Národní divadlo) on 4/17 August 1908, conducted by Rudolf Zamrzla, where the ballet was staged a total of 24 times over the next two years [49]. It was only on 30 January 1934 that the ballet received its first complete performance in London, at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, directed by Nicholas Sergeyev. An abridged version was staged at the 51st Street Theater in New York on 17 October 1940 by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, choreographed by Alexandra Fedorova. William Christensen's production with the San Francisco Ballet on 24 December 1944 was the first complete performance in the United States.


Tchaikovsky was occupied from 15/27 July until late August/early September 1892 with proof-reading the score of the ballet, being published by Pyotr Jurgenson, while at the same time preparing the opera Iolanta for publication [50].

The full score was published by Pyotr Jurgenson in 1892. The piano arrangements by Sergey Taneyev and the author were also brought out in 1892 by the same publisher.

The full score and the composer's simplified piano arrangement of The Nutcracker were published in volumes 13 (1955) and 54 (1954) respectively of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by V. D. Vasilyev.


Tchaikovsky's manuscript score is now preserved in the Russian National Museum of Music in Moscow (ф. 88, No. 51) [view], except for the numbers used in the suite, which were extracted from the score and replaced by manuscript copies [51]. The same archive holds Tchaikovsky's arrangement for solo piano (ф. 88, No. 52) [view].


See: Discography

Related Works

  • Act I, No. 5. The Grandfather dance is based on a German dance tune from the 17th century.

External Links

Notes and References

  1. In the manuscript score and autograph sketches the title of the ballet is given as The Fir-Tree (Ёлка) and The Christmas Tree (Роэжественская ëлка).
  2. The title in the sketches is listed variously as The Clown (Паяц), Clown's Dance (Танец паяцев), and 'Russian Trepak (Руский трепак).
  3. According to the sketches this number was originally to have been called Dances with Reed Pipes (Танец со свирелами) or Fruit Drops (Леденцы).
  4. Entitled Gingerbread (Пряник) in the composer's sketches.
  5. Styled Italian Dance (Итальянский танец) or Tarantella in the sketches.
  6. In a letter of 9/21 September 1894, Modest Tchaikovsky told Herman Laroche that "I wrote out the story of The Nutcrackerto words by Vsevolozhsky" — Klin House-Museum Archive. See also Letter 4050 to Désirée Artôt-Padilla, 25 February/9 March 1890.
  7. In Letter 4634 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 6/18 March 1892, Tchaikovsky had suggested the wording "Story from the fairy-tale by Hoffmann and Dumas senior" for the title page of the ballet. However, Pyotr Jurgenson replied on 13/25 March 1892 that this could create copyright difficulties with the heirs of the estate of Alexandre Dumas. In Letter 4643 to Jurgenson, 14/26 March 1892, the composer concurred: "Certainly, don't mention Dumas".
  8. From The Tchaikovsky Handbook. A guide to the man and his music, vol. 1 (2002), p. 118.
  9. See Letter 4279 to Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, 24 December/5 January 1890.
  10. Letter 4312 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 22 January/3 February 1891.
  11. Klin House-Museum Archive.
  12. Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 3 (1902), p. 427.
  13. Letter from Ivan Vsevolozhsky to Tchaikovsky, 9/21 August 1891 — Klin House-Museum Archive.
  14. See rough draft of Letter 4324 to Ivan Vsevolozhsky, 12/24 February 1891 — Klin House-Museum Archive.
  15. An audio reconstruction of Tchaikovsky's sketches for the English dance is included in our First Thoughts series.
  16. "Played out" (i.e. obsolete).
  17. Letter from Ivan Vsevolozhsky to Tchaikovsky, 18 February/2 March 1891 — Klin House-Museum Archive.
  18. The Grossvater (= "Grandfather Dance") is an old German dance.
  19. Le vacarme = "Noise" or "Din".
  20. Letter 4334 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 19 February/3 March 1891.
  21. Letter from Pyotr Jurgenson to Tchaikovsky, 23 February/7 March 1891 — Klin House-Museum Archive.
  22. Letter 4339 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 25 February/9 March 1891.
  23. See Letter 4346 to Ivan Vsevolozhsky, 13/25 March 1892.
  24. A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatrical Museum, Moscow.
  25. See Letter 4343 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 8/20 March 1891.
  26. Letter 4348 to Vladimir Davydov, 15/27 March 1891.
  27. Letter 4360 to Praskovya Tchaikovskaya, 30 March/11 April 1891.
  28. Before No. 8 in the sketchbook is the date: "Rouen, 24 March 1891". The date "24" must be a mistake, since Tchaikovsky was in Rouen on 29 March [N.S.], and on 24 March [N.S.] he was in Paris, conducting a programme of his own works at Edouard Colonne's 23rd symphony concert.
  29. Sketches for Act II were begun in a separate copy-book; it seems probable that all sketches for Act I were completed in Rouen.
  30. Letter 4363 to Ivan Vsevolozhsky, 3/15 April 1891.
  31. Letter 4364 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 3/15 April 1891.
  32. Letter 4365 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 4/16 April 1891.
  33. Letter 4370 to Eduard Nápravník, 20 April/2 May 1891.
  34. Letter 4388 to Yuliya Shpazhinskaya, 29 May/10 June 1891. See also Letter 4387 to Nikolay Tchaikovsky and Letter 4384 to Vladimir Nápravník of the same date.
  35. Letter 4397 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 3/15 June 1891.
  36. Letter 4390 to Anna Merkling, 2/14 June 1891.
  37. Letter 4393 to Praskovya Tchaikovskaya, 2/14 June 1891. See also Letter 4396 to Josef Paleček, 3/15 June 1891, and Letter 4404 to Yuliya Shpazhinskaya, 11/23 June 1891.
  38. Letter 4413 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 17/29 June 1891.
  39. Letter 4420 to Vladimir Davydov, 25 June/7 July 1891.
  40. Letter 4425 to Modest Tchaikovsky, and Letter 4419 to Aleksandra Hubert, both 25 June/7 July 1891.
  41. Letter 4429 to Sergey Taneyev, 27 June/9 July 1891.
  42. See "Chants et chansons populaires de la France. Notices par Dumersan. Accompagnement de piano par H. Colet. Paris, Gamier Fréres, libraire-édituer" in the composer's personal library in the Klin House-Museum. On the cover of volume III Tchaikovsky noted: "for reworking", listing the following songs from the collection: "Que t'as de belles filles"; "Il était un berger" (crossed out); and "Giroflé-Giroflá".
  43. Letter 4604 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 25 January/6 February 1892.
  44. Letter 4606 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 28 January/9 February 1892.
  45. Letter 4644 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 17/29 March 1892.
  46. Letter 4649 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 25 March/6 April 1892.
  47. See Letter 4757 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 25 August/6 September 1892, and Letter 4759 to Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov, 27 August/8 September 1892.
  48. From the interview With P. I. Tchaikovsky, published in the newspaper Odessa Leaflet (Одесский лиситок), 13 January 1893 [O.S.].
  49. See
  50. See letters 4725, 4745 and 4757 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 13/25 July, 2/14 August and 25 August/6 September 1892.
  51. The score of the suite, made up of pages extracted from the full scores, is preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive (a1, No. 46).