Complete Third Piano Concerto of Tchaikovsky in E Flat Major
Pianist: Irina Dubkova
Smolensk Symphony Orchestra
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 3 in E-flat major, Opus Posthumous 75, turned out to be a troublesome creation of his. It was first conceptualised as a symphony (the movements are there in his Seventh Symphony). Initially, it was planned as a three-movement concerto, only to become a single-movement "Allegro brilliante" when published posthumously.
Controversy remained despite the intentions of the composer as to what form this concerto would have ended up with had Tchaikovsky lived to complete it. It was due to the efforts of Sergei Taneyev that the concerto was revived. Most pianists who have performed this work have played the single-movement "Allegro brilliante." More recently, the three-movement version has received increased attention.
The music also served as the basis for the ballet "Allegro Brillante", as imagined and choreographed by George Balanchine in 1956 for the New York City Ballet
Tchaikovsky's first mention of using his abandoned Symphony in E flat as the basis for a piano concerto came as early in April 1893 [Brown, David, "Tchaikovsky: The Final Years" ]
After completing the `Pathétique' symphony, Tchaikovsky turned once again to the concerto, only to go through further doubt whether he should retain or publish it.
Once Tchaikovsky finished scoring the "Allegro brilliante" in October 1893, he requested Taneyev to look it over. Taneyev, on whom Tchaikovsky relied for techhical advice pianistically, found the solo part lacking in virtuosity. Tchaikovsky had told Siloti that if Taneyev shared his low opinion of the concerto, he would destroy it. The composer did not carry out this threat, however. Taneyev gave the first performance of the concerto in Saint Petersburg on January 7, 1895, conducted by Eduard Nápravník.
Though the Third Concerto is in a considerably more completed shape than the Mahler Tenth Symphony or the Bartók Viola Concerto, it really belongs in their same category of musical what-ifs and considered accordingly.
Tchaikovsky might have tailored the solo part, with its cascades of runs throughout the work and the presence of trills in the cadenza. There is no justification of why this concerto should not be performed in its three-movement format as worked out by Taneyev more so than it is actually done.