The Tangle

Tchaikovsky Research

Tchaikovsky's music to accompany Pavel Fyodorov's vaudeville The Tangle (Путаница) (TH 17 ; ČW 424) [1], was apparently written in December 1867 for an amateur production in Moscow. The score has not survived.


Pavel Fyodorov's one-act vaudeville The Tangle dates from 1840, and was an adaptation of the French farce Le mot fin by Paul Dandre [2], which tells the story of two confusingly identical twin sisters. Fyodorov transferred the French characters to Russian soil, and gave them Russian names. His Russian version was first performed in Saint Petersburg at the Bolshoi Kamenny Theatre on 13/25 January 1841 [3]


In December 1867, Tchaikovsky helped to organise amateur dramatics at the home of his friends the Lopukhins in Moscow, at which a number of entertainments were performed [4]. According to one of those present the composer assisted with three pieces: The Girl Hides in a Sack, The Tangle, and The Salt Wedding. Tchaikovsky was an actor in the first piece, and for The Tangle he wrote recitatives and music for a couplet [5].


Tchaikovsky's music was apparently performed just once, at the home of the Lopukhin family on the Molchanovka in Moscow, on 3/15 December 1867.


No autographs or manuscript copies of this music have come to light.

Notes and References

  1. Entitled 'Recitative and Comic Song to the vaudeville "Confusion"' in ČW.
  2. 'Paul Dandre' was a pseudonym used collectively by the authors Eugène Labiche (1815-1888), Auguste Lefranc (1814-1878), and Marc-Antoine-Amédée Michel (1812-1868).
  3. See entry for Поль Дандре in the Russian Wikipedia.
  4. See Letter 112 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 27 January/8 February or 28 January/9 February 1868.
  5. See the recollections of Emiliya Kapnist quoted in: Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1900), p. 285.