Six Pieces, Op. 19

Tchaikovsky Research

The Six Pieces (Six Morceaux) for solo piano, Op. 19 (TH 133 ; ČW 112 to 117) [1], were completed by Tchaikovsky in the autumn of 1873 in Moscow.

Movements and Duration

  1. Rêverie du soir
    Andante espressivo (G minor, 82 bars).
  2. Scherzo humoristique
    Allegro vivacissimo (D major, 316 bars).
  3. Feuillet d'album
    Allegretto semplice (D major, 66 bars).
  4. Nocturne
    Andante sentimentale (C-sharp minor, 66 bars).
  5. Capriccioso
    Allegretto semplice (B-flat major, 150 bars).
  6. Thème original et variations
    Andante non tanto (F major, 341 bars).

A complete performance lasts around 30 minutes.


The set was commissioned by the publisher Pyotr Jurgenson [2], but their exact dates of origin are uncertain. The completed manuscript is dated 27 October/8 November 1873, but rough sketches for the Nocturne (No. 4) and Capriccioso (No. 5) appear in the same copybook as sketches for the opera Vakula the Smith (1874), the String Quartet No. 2 (1874), and the Six Pieces on a Single Theme, Op. 21 (autumn 1873), suggesting that some of the Op. 19 pieces could have been written during the summer of 1873 at Kamenka.


See: Nocturne

In 1888, Tchaikovsky made an arrangement for cello with small orchestra of the Nocturne (No. 4) for Anatoly Brandukov, from a transcription for Wilhelm Fitzenhagen [3].


Rêverie du soir (No. 1) was performed for the first time by Nikolay Rubinstein in the presence of the author at a concert in Moscow on 22 February/6 March 1874.

Thème original et variations (No. 6) is known to have been performed by Hans von Bülow in Moscow in April 1874 [4], and again at the St. James's Hall in London on 7/19 November the same year, representing the earliest-known performance of any of Tchaikovsky's works outside Russia. It remained a favourite in Bülow's repertoire, including a later performance in Munich on 1/13 April 1880.


Published by Pyotr Jurgenson in January 1874 as separate numbers, and in May 1874 as a single volume.

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


Tchaikovsky's manuscript score of the complete set is now preserved in the Russian National Museum of Music in Moscow (ф. 88, No. 111) [view].


See: Discography


Each piece is dedicated to a different person: Rêverie du soir (No. 1) — to Nikolay Kondratyev; Scherzo humoristique (No. 2) — to Vera Timanova; Feuillet d'album (No. 3) — to Anna Avramova; Nocturne (No. 4) — to Monika Terminskaya; Capriccioso (No. 5) — to Eduard Langer; Thème original et variations (No. 6) — to Herman Laroche.

Related Works

In his diary entry for 11/23 July 1873 [5], Tchaikovsky noted down themes for a projected Symphony in B-flat major, which he went on to use in the Capriccioso (No. 5).

External Links

Notes and References

  1. As '6 Morceaux' in ČW, where the following English translations are given for individual pieces: 1. Evening Reverie; 2. Humorous Scherzo; 6. Theme and Variations.
  2. See Letter 326 to Vasily Bessel, 28 November/10 December 1873.
  3. The autograph was discovered in Anatoly Brandukov's archives after his death, and transferred to the Klin House-Museum Archive. In the autograph, the cello part is written in Brandukov's hand.
  4. See letter from Hans von Bülow to Louise von Weltz, published in Marie von Bülow, Hans von Bülows Leben, dargestellt aus seinen Breifen. 2. Auflage (Leipzig. 1921), p. 271 (letter from Kharkov to Louise von Weltz).
  5. See Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 3.