Festival Overture on the Danish National Anthem

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Peter I Tchaikovsky

Peter I Tchaikovsky (arr. Godfrey)

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General Info

Year: 1866/1908
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Carl Fischer

Out of print. For availability information, see Discussion area.


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

During his time at the Moscow Conservatoire, around September 1866 the school's principal, Nikolay Rubinstein, commissioned Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky to compose a Festival Overture on the Danish National Anthem to be played for the visit of the Tsarevich (heir to the throne) to Moscow, accompanied by his new Danish bride, Princess Dagmar of Denmark. The Tsarevich would eventually be crowned Tsar Alexander III of Russia and remain a devoted follower of Tchaikovsky's music, awarding the composer both the Order of St. Vladimir (Fourth Class) in 1884 and a state pension in 1885.

Tchaikovsky often set about functional commissions with a strong air of professionalism, knowing full well that the piece may only even be played once, and this work was no exception. Indeed Tchaikovsky himself wrote at the end of his life that this piece was 'very effective... and far better as music than 1812'. Tchaikovsky thought it would be a good idea to incorporate the Russian national anthem's melody into the work as well, by way of symbolizing the union of two realms, but this innocent venture ultimately led to the piece's downfall and to the cancellation of the official performance.

A piece of surviving journalism states, 'Our talented young composer for some reason took it into his head to set forth our Russian national anthem in the minor key, which completely transforms the character of this well-known melody.'

That said, Tchaikovsky received a gift of gold cuff links from the Tsarevich as an expression of royal gratitude for his efforts anyway.

-Program Note from Wikipedia


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Golden Gate Park Band (Michael Wirgler, conductor) - 20 July 2014

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