“Might be Useful Later.” Student Exercises and Orchestrations by Tchaikovsky


The proposed paper represents a comprehensive study of the little-known sphere of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s creative heritage — his student exercises. This group of works dates from 1863–1864, by the time when the future composer has been studied in the class of orchestration by Anton Rubinshtein at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Interest in this area relates to contemporary tendencies of historical and theoretical musicology. Recently, the research literature deals with the topic of the professional development of the composer against the background of a certain historical stage of music education. The subject considered on the example of one of the most outstanding representatives of musical art is of special importance and interest. 19 student exercises by Tchaikovsky come up to our days. Among them are 15 original pieces for different instrumental combinations and 4 orchestrations of works by other composers. The paper highlights the history of composing works, recreates the context of their appearance in the educational course of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, analyzes the specifics of the author’s notation of pieces and notes the features of their composition. Student exercises by Tchaikovsky are presented as unique evidence of education of composer in the early period of the work of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and as the first creative experiences of Tchaikovsky where he showed himself very uncommonly, and as a field of findings of several compositional acceptances used later. The study of student works showed that this area is an important component of the great composer’s heritage, and acquaintance with it will help to better understand the characteristic features of the creative face of Tchaikovsky in general.