Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Valse-scherzo in C major

Op. 34, TH58

About this work

Tchaikovsky's light Valse-scherzo (1877) has been recorded surprisingly frequently, especially in the latter part of the twentieth century. Its prominence in the recorded repertoire is certainly due in large part to its useful role as filler on recordings featuring the composer's Violin Concerto in D major, a work it immediately preceded in the chronology of the composer's works. The Valse-scherzo is thus often, and accurately, regarded as an exercise in preparation for the more substantial concerto; indeed, it may even have originally been intended as part of the larger work.

The colorful Valse-scherzo features much attractive writing for the violin, appealing, if not particularly memorable tunes, and scoring that showcases the composer's deft orchestration skills. While it lacks the more distinctive character of Tchaikovsky's other short work for violin and orchestra, the Sérénade mélancolique, Op. 26 (1875), the vibrant, joyous Valse-scherzo must be judged one of the composer's lesser -- but not negligible -- efforts.