Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky

Suite No. 4 for orchestra in G major ("Mozartiana"), Op. 61

    Description by Joseph Stevenson

    This is the only one of Tchaikovsky's four fine orchestral suites that did not begin as a projected symphony. It is also the only one with as few as four movements. He was a lifelong admirer of Mozart and sought here to pay tribute to his favorite composer. He started thinking about the music in 1884, but did not actually turn to its composition until 1887.

    The four movements are based on a number of lesser-known pieces by Mozart, but strikingly recomposed to the extent that they are wholly consistent with Tchaikovsky's own style and temperament. (Some 25 years after Tchaikovsky's death, his countryman Stravinsky did a similar exercise with Tchaikovsky's music to produce the ballet The Fairy's Kiss, mainly transforming the sound of the older composer's scores into his own.)

    The first movement, "Gigue," is based on Mozart's Gigue in C, K. 574. The second, "Minuet," is based on the Minuet in D, K. 355. These are brief, rather straightforward arrangements, rather lightly scored, and retain more of the quality of their originals than is true of the remaining two movements. The third movement, "Preghiera," is an orchestration of Liszt's piano transcription of Mozart's motet Ave verum corpus, K. 618. It is a sonorous and majestic sounding version, notable for its remarkably effective harp part.

    The final part, "Theme & Variations," is notably longer than the other three movements combined. It is based on Mozart's Theme and Variations, K. 455, on a theme from Gluck's opera The Pilgrimage to Mecca. The orchestration is again brilliant, a distinct orchestral sound being given to each of the ten variations, chosen in such a way that the orchestration possesses its own dramatic progression.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Gigue. Allegro in G major (based on Mozart's 'Kleine Gigue' for piano, KV 574)
    2. Menuet. Moderato (based on the Minuet for piano, KV 355)
    3. Pregheira. Andante ma non tanto (based on F. Liszt's transcription of the 'Ave verum corpus', KV 618)
    4. Thème et variations. Allegro giusto (based on the piano variations on a theme by Gluck)

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    2017
    Various Artists
    ICA Classics
    ICAB 5141
    2015
    Deutsche Grammophon
    4794646
    2013
    Entertainment Group
    14135
    2012
    Entertainment Group
    11203
    2012
    Brilliant Classics
    94372
    2011
    Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2010
    Dallas Symphony Orchestra
    003
    2010
    Brilliant Classics
    94031
    2009
    Decca
    4781708
    2009
    Phoenix Edition
    412
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Denon Records
    2009
    Lontano
    4691059
    2009
    Decca
    4800557
    2009
    X5 Music Group
    15618
    2008
    Melodiya
    1000104
    2008
    Arte Nova
    592030
    2008
    Arte Nova Classics
    304830
    2006
    Supraphon
    38292
    2006
    Sony Music Distribution
    888072
    2004
    St. Clair
    31382
    2004
    Chandos
    6696
    2003
    St. Clair
    31032
    2002
    CBC Records
    5039
    2001
    Capriccio Records
    51012
    1999
    Chandos
    8777
    1999
    BBC Music
    8002
    1998
    Chandos
    CHAN9676
    1997
    Various Artists
    Point Classics
    267028
    1997
    Chandos
    9514
    1997
    Arte Nova
    74321 30483-2
    1996
    Philips
    454253
    1994
    Supraphon
    110969
    1994
    Melodiya
    610
    1994
    Naxos
    550728
    1993
    ASV
    719
    1991
    Koch International Classics
    7042
    1990
    Novalis
    150057
    Multisonic
    310267
    Arte Nova
    37329
    Arte Nova
    37294
    Capriccio Records
    10200
    Legend
    127
    As Disc
    519
    Digital Focus
    57252
    Philips
    464747
    CBS Records
    46503
    Philips
    438310