Valse-Scherzo (1889)

Tchaikovsky Research

Tchaikovsky's Valse-Scherzo in A major for solo piano, (TH 146 ; ČW 183) [1], was written in the summer of 1889. It is sometimes known (unofficially) as Valse-Scherzo No. 2, to differentiate it from the earlier Valse-Scherzo, Op. 7, in the same key, written in 1870.

Movements and Duration

There is one movement: Allegro in tempo di Valse (A major, 124 bars), lasting around 2 minutes in performance.


The theatrical. musical and artistic journal Artist was first published in September 1889 in Moscow. The editor of the journal wanted to gather contributions from writers, dramatists, composers and artists, and so he turned to Tchaikovsky, whose reputation at this time was held in high esteem both in Russia and abroad. Tchaikovsky promised to write a piece in time for the first edition of the journal, notwithstanding his arduous task of completing the ballet The Sleeping Beauty.

Among his surviving correspondence are two letters from the composer to the music critic Semyon Kruglikov, editor of the musical section of the journal Artist, concerning the Valse-Scherzo: "I shall certainly write a little piece or romance, and it will be with the editor no later than 15th August [O.S.], but I cannot vouch for its quality, because I am terribly worn out from urgent work (scoring a ballet). I urge you to take on the proofreading yourself" [2], and on 16/28 August he wrote: "I hope very much that you will like your piece!!!" [3]. Kruglikov thanked Tchaikovsky for having sent the composition so promptly, and for supporting the journal: "It will truly enhance the book, and doubly so since it bears your name, besides which... the whole thing is charming, graceful and elegant" [4].


The Valse-Scherzo was first published in September 1889 in the first issue of the journal Artist, and was reprinted independently by Pyotr Jurgenson in 1894. It appeared in volume 53 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works (1949), edited by Anatoly Drozdov.


The whereabouts of Tchaikovsky's manuscript score are unknown.


See: Discography

External Links

Notes and References

  1. Entitled Waltz-Scherzo in ČW.
  2. Letter 3906 to Semyon Kruglikov, 22 July/3 August 1889.
  3. Letter 3922 to Semyon Kruglikov, 16/28 August 1889.
  4. Letter from Semyon Kruglikov to Tchaikovsky, 10/22 August 1889 — Klin House-Museum Archive.