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Tchaikovsky's 'Variations On a Rococo Theme' Premiered in 1877

The 20-minute work is a much-loved standard in today's cello competition and concert repertoire

 

The first performance of the "Variations on a Rococo Theme" took place at the third symphony concert of the Russian Musical Society in Moscow, conducted by Nikolay Rubinstein.

The piece is scored for a reduced orchestra consisting of pairs of each of the four basic woodwind instruments, two horns, and the usual strings, like the typical late 18th-century orchestra without trumpets or percussion.

The rococo theme upon which Tchaikovsky based a charming series of variations scored for small orchestra and cello soloist was not borrowed, but the composer’s own, expertly fashioned in Mozartian classical style.

While composing it, Tchaikovsky sought the help of German cellist Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, his Moscow Conservatory colleague, who also gave the premiere with conductor Nikolai Rubinstein.

 

VC YOUNG ARTIST ZLATOMIR FUNG | TCHAIKOVSKY | VARIATIONS ON A ROCOCO THEME | JINDONG CAI & HARBIN SYMPHONY | 2018 SCHOENFELD INTERNATIONAL CELLO COMPETITION | 1ST PRIZE

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