Two Pieces, Op. 10

Tchaikovsky Research

The Two Pieces (Deux morceaux) for solo piano, Op. 10 (TH 132 ; ČW 110 and 111), were written during the three weeks that Tchaikovsky spent in Nice around the start of 1872.

Movements and Duration

  1. Nocturne
    Andante cantabile (F major, 81 bars).
  2. Humoresque
    Allegretto scherzando (G major, 134 bars).

A complete performance lasts approximately 7 minutes.


According to Modest Tchaikovsky, these two pieces were written between 24 December 1871/5 January 1872 and 29 January/10 February 1872 while the composer was staying in Nice, and the theme of the middle section of the Humoresque (No. 2) is based on the old French song 'La fille aux oranges', which Tchaikovsky heard in the French resort [1].


See: Humoresque

In December 1876, the author arranged the Humoresque (No. 2) for violin with piano, at the request of Nadezhda von Meck.


Nocturne (No. 1) was played in Tiflis, at a special RMS symphony concert on 19 April/1 May 1886, by Gennady Korganov.

In France, the Humoresque (No. 2) was among Tchaikovsky's most-performed piano pieces before 1900, even though no-one appears to have noticed the quotation of a Provençal song. The earliest public performance was by René Chansarel who played it at Félix Mackar's first "audition" on 2/14 January 1886. Louis Diémer interpreted the Humoresque on several occasions:

  • 12/24 February 1887 — Mackar's second "audition"
  • 9/21 December 1887 — Cercle Saint-Simon, 16/28 February 1888 (in the presence of the composer at a concert in the home of Marie de Benardaky)
  • 29 February/11 March 1888 — Concerts Colonne
  • 4/16 March 1888 — La Trompette
  • 25 April/7 May 1888 — Mackar's third "audition"
  • 1/13 January 1894 — La Trompette.

Performances by other pianists took place in the Société nationale de musique (23 March/4 April 1891) and at student recitals [2].


The pieces were first published separately (in 1874 and 1875 respectively) by Pyotr Jurgenson, and were only printed together for the first time in February 1876.

They were included in volume 51Б of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by Ivan Shishov (1946).


The composer's manuscript scores of both pieces are now preserved in the Russian National Museum of Music in Moscow (ф. 88, No. 110) [view].


Both pieces are dedicated to Tchaikovsky's friend Vladimir Shilovsky ("à mon ami Vladimir Schilovsky").


See: Discography

Related Works

As mentioned above, Modest Tchaikovsky stated that the Humoresque (No. 2) used a popular song heard in Nice. Its title remained unknown until 2006, when it was identified as 'La fille aux oranges' [3]. Belonging to the regional folklore of Provence, the song, a dialogued dance ("ronde dialoguée") in the dialect of southern France, was published only in 1910 by the musicologist Julien Tiersot [4]. Thus, Tchaikovsky was the first to pay attention to this ethnological source, which he used in his Humoresque with slight differences from Tiersot's version [5].

External Links

Notes and References

  1. See Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1900), p. 381.
  2. See Lucinde Braun, La Terre promise. Frankreich im Leben und Schaffen Cajkovskijs (2014), p. 99, 100, 111, 199; Inga Mai Groote, Östliche Ouvertüren. Russische Musik in Paris 1870-1913 (Kassel : Bärenreiter, 2014), pp. 338, 345, 347, 350, 356, 362.
  3. See Тематико-библиографический указатель сочинений П. И. Чайковского (2006), p. 520.
  4. La fille aux oranges. Ronde dialoguée. Version du pay de Nice (Paris : Heugel, 1910). Digital version on Gallica:
  5. See Lucinde Braun, La Terre promise. Frankreich im Leben und Schaffen Cajkovskijs (2014), p. 409-418.