March Slav (tr Hindsley)

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Peter I Tchaikovsky

Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky (arr. Mark Hindsley)

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This work may also be found under the transliterated titles March Slave and Marche Slave.

General Info

Year: 1876 / 197-?
Duration: c. 11:00
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hindsley Transcriptions
Cost: Score and Parts – Out of print.


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Marche Slav dates from 1876, a time when large numbers of Slavic troops were fighting on the side of Serbia against Turkey, and Russian was making plans to officially enter the war the following year. During this time of great pan-Slavonic enthusiasm, Nicolai Rubenstein, the director of the Moscow Conservatory (where Tchaikovsky taught harmony), organized a concert for the benefit of the wounded soldiers. He asked Tchaikovsky, who was in full sympathy with the feeling of the hour, to write this march for that occasion. A musical expression of the emotions then dominant in Russia, it was immensely successful.

- Program Note from Program Notes for Band

In 1876, Tchaikovsky was commissioned by the Russian Musical Society to compose a piece for a concert to benefit the Red Cross Society, in support of Serbian veterans wounded during the ongoing Serbo-Turkish war. Tchaikovsky composed the programmatic march in just five days. The piece begins with two Serbian folk songs, to describe the oppression of the Serbs by the Turkish. A simple dance melody in a major key follows, representing the Russian effort to rally support for the Serbs. The Russian national anthem ("God save the Tsar") is heard, followed by a frenetic section depicting the Russian army coming to assist the Serbs.

An eyewitness to the premier of the Marche wrote: "The rumpus and roar that broke out in the hall [is almost beyond] description. The whole audience rose to its feet ... It was one of the most stirring moments of 1876. Many in the hall were weeping." If this work sounds familiar, perhaps it's because Tchaikovsky used the Tsarist anthem again in his 1812 Overture. Marche Slave became one of Tchaikovsky's most popular works and he often used it as a dramatic finale to his concerts while on tour.

- Program Note by Patricia Matos Puente for the Stony Brook Wind Ensemble concert program, 2014


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Michigan State University (East Lansing) Wind Symphony (Kevin Sedatole, conductor) - 24 March 2022

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  • March Slave. Wikipedia. Accessed 8 August 2023
  • Smith, Norman E. (1986). March Music Notes. Lake Charles, La.: Program Note Press, pp. 583.