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Peter I Tchaikovsky

Peter I Tchaikovsky (arr. Dan Godfrey)

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This work may also be found under the titles The Jurists' March or Marche solennelle.

General Info

Year: 1885 / 1909
Duration: c. 5:05
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Unknown
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown

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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Tchaikovsky's Jurisprudence March in D major (TH 52 ; ČW 49), also known as Jurists' March or Marche solennelle, was written and orchestrated in October and November 1885, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in Saint Petersburg, of which Tchaikovsky was a graduate.

In Saint Petersburg in December 1885, celebrations were being prepared for the fiftieth jubilee of the Imperial School of Jurisprudence. As early as the spring of that year, the school's director of students, Ivan Alopeus had begun discussions with Tchaikovsky about commissioning from him some musical numbers for the gala jubilee evening. Only two letters survive from Alopeus to Tchaikovsky, although there were undoubtedly more. In reply to a letter from Tchaikovsky that has not survived, Alopeus wrote on 26 June/8 July 1885: "With regard to the march, there is almost nothing more I can tell you, since the programme for the occasion has still not been completely decided upon" . However, on 10/22 October the former jurist and member of the jubilee committee Nikolay Stoyanovsky again approached the composer with a request that he should write a short orchestral piece in the style of a march, which might be performed during the jurists' jubilee dinner on 5/17 December, and also subsequently on festive occasions. Tchaikovsky, who was then staying at Kamenka, reluctantly agreed, notwithstanding his dislike for this type of commission.

He set about composition on 27 October/8 November 1885, as he wrote to Nadezhda von Meck: "On the one hand, writing such a thing is deeply boring and disagreeable, yet on the other it would be awkward to refuse. So here today I have been seated in front of music paper for some time now, devising themes for the march, which for all that I am determined to write and orchestrate at Kamenka".

On 4/16 November in a letter to Praskovya Tchaikovskaya, he reported that: "Despite an absolute aversion, I have not even risen from my seat trying to finish the march" [5]. The completed manuscript is dated 5/17 November 1885, and that same day the composer sent the full score to Saint Petersburg.

The Jurists' March was performed for the first time, as intended, on 5/17 December 1885 in the Hall of the Nobles' Club in Saint Petersburg, at the occasion of the jurists' jubilee dinner, in the absence of its author. "I very much do not want to be present at the festivities", Tchaikovsky wrote to Vladimir Stasov on 27 November/9 December 1885, "if only because the march that I was commissioned to write shall be performed, and to hear it would be excruciating for me".

- Program Note from Tchaikovsky Research


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State Ratings

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  • Virginia Grand Military Band (Alexandria) (Loras Schissel, conductor) – 17 September 2022
  • Virginia Grand Military Band (Alexandria) (Loras Schissel, conductor) – 26 January 2019

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