The Romans at the Coliseum

The Romans at the Coliseum (Римляне в колизее) (TH 166 ; ČW 427) [1] is a musical picture for orchestra which Tchaikovsky wrote while he was a student at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, probably in 1864 or 1865.

The only information we have about this work is found in Herman Laroche in two letters to the composer. On 27 January/8 February 1866 Laroche described The Romans at the Coliseum, along with Tchaikovsky's music for Boris Godunov, the Characteristic Dances, and the overture to The Storm as "student works, preparatory and experimental, judged particularly unfavourably because of their misuse of the brass instruments" [2].

In an earlier letter to Tchaikovsky, of 11/23 January 1866, Laroche wrote "I never hesitated to say that your The Romans at the Coliseum is a wretched banality" [3]

The work was never published, and the whereabouts of Tchaikovsky's manuscript score are unknown.

Notes and References

  1. Entitled The Romans at Coliseum [sic] in ČW.
  2. Letter from Herman Laroche to the composer, 27 January/8 February 1866 — Klin House-Museum Archive.
  3. Letter from Herman Laroche to the composer, 11/23 January 1866 — Klin House-Museum Archive.