“The Sleeping Beauty”: Tchaikovsky, Siloti, Rachmaninoff


Four-hand piano versions of compositions, originally written for different performing forces, represent an extensive field of musical literature. Usually such works were realized by not the most significant musicians and with especially utilitarian aims, therefore science of the history of music underestimated them by tradition. But that kind of presentation of text was obligatory for compositions of various genres. It was of great importance for Pyotr Tchaikovsky, who made numerous four-hand piano arrangements of both his own and other composers’ works. The history of four-hand version of The Sleeping Beauty, prepared by Sergey Rachmaninoff and Alexander Siloti in common with the composer, seems a window on the world of piano arrangements. This paper is based on documents and covers the work of Rachmaninoff and Siloti in details. The extant documentary material allowed the author to appreciate the uniqueness of the idea of arranging the ballet for four hands, to characterize the mode of work and ethics in this sphere of musical process in Russia in the second half of the 19th century, and to consider the way of preparation of printed musical editions.