Ungarische Zigeunerweisen (Menter)

Tchaikovsky Research
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The Ungarische Zigeunerweisen (Венгерские цыганские напевы) by Sophie Menter was arranged for piano and orchestra by Tchaikovsky in September 1892 (TH 193 ; ČW 422) [1].

This work is no longer believed to be the Concerto in the Hungarian Style, composed by Franz Liszt in 1885, as was once suggested by some of Liszt's biographers [2].


Scored for solo piano and an orchestra consisting of piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (in B-flat), 2 bassoons + 4 horns (in F), 2 trumpets (in B-flat), 3 trombones, tuba + 3 timpani, triangle, tambourine, cymbals, bass drum + violins I, violins II, violas, cellos, and double basses.

Movements and Duration

There is one movement: Andante con moto (F minor–F major, 567 bars), lasting around 15 to 20 minutes in performance.


Sophie Menter drafted her Ungarische Zigeunerweisen in a version for two pianos, and asked her friend Tchaikovsky to make the orchestration. He carried out this task while staying at Menter's home at Itter in Austria, between 10/22 September and 20 September/2 October 1892.


The first performance took place in Odessa on 23 January/4 February 1893 at the second RMS symphony concert, with Sophie Menter as soloist, and Tchaikovsky as the conductor. Other notable premieres were:

  • Moscow, 5th RMS symphony concert, 15/27 January 1894, Sophie Menter (piano)
  • Saint Petersburg, 7th RMS symphony concert, 20 January/1 February 1894, Sophie Menter (piano), conducted by Eduard Krushevsky
  • London, Philharmonic Society concert, 15/27 May 1894, Sophie Menter (piano), conducted by Alexander Mackenzie
  • Amsterdam, Concertgebouw, subscription concert, 12/24 November 1897, Sophie Menter (piano), conducted by Richard Hol


The work was first published in 1909 by the firm of Gustav Schirmer in New York, under the title Ungarische Zigeunerweisen für Klavier von Sofie Menter mit Orchester Begleitung von Peter Tschaikowsky).

In 1970, it was published under the title Hungarian Rhapsody (Венгерская рапсодия) in volume 59 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by Irina Iordan.


Tchaikovsky's manuscript score is now preserved in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York (ref. Cary 11) [3].


See: Discography

External Links

Notes and References

  1. Entitled "Hungarian Gipsy Tunes" in ČW; in other sources it has been listed as Bohemian Melodies, Concerto in the Hungarian Style, Fantasia on Gypsy Melodies, Hungarian Gypsy Songs, Hungarian Rhapsody or Zigeunerweisen.
  2. See The Tchaikovsky Handbook. A guide to the man and his music, vol. 1 (2002), p. 384.
  3. In Tchaikovsky's manuscript only a few bars of the solo piano part are written out, either side of the cadenza.