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Violin Concerto D major op. 35
9 difficult


Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) composed his Concerto for Violin and Orchestra op. 35 in March and April 1878 – in only 25 days. He was prompted by the violinist Josef Kotek (1855– 1885), a pupil in his free composition class at the Moscow Conservatory who later became a close friend. Once Tchaikovsky had completed the instrumentation of his Fourth Symphony and the wor... more


About the Composer


Peter Iljitsch Tschaikowsky

Most important and first professionally trained Russian composer of the nineteenth century; main works include operas, ballet music, six symphonies, three piano concerti, and one violin concerto, as well as songs, chamber music, and piano music.

1840Born in Votkinsk on May 7, the son of a mining engineer.
1849–59Educated as an attorney.
1861–65Study of music; he numbers among the first graduates of the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Piano studies with Anton Rubinstein.
1866–76He relocates to Moscow to teach harmony, instrumentation, and free composition at what later became the Moscow Conservatory. Composition of Symphonies No. 1 through 3 (Opp. 13, 17, 29), the Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23, the three string quartets (Op. 11 in 1871, Op. 22 in 1874, Op. 90 in 1876).
1868–76Active as a reviewer. He attends the premiere in Bayreuth of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” in 1876.
from 1877Travels at home and abroad. Beginning of patronage from Nadezhda von Meck. Composition of the Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36, premiered in Moscow in 1878. Premiere of the ballet “Swan Lake,” Op. 20.
1879Premiere in Moscow of “Eugene Onegin,” his best-known and most important opera.
1884Premiere in Moscow of “Mazeppa.”
from 1887Regular performances as conductor of his and others’ work. He is regarded abroad as the most important exponent of Russian music
from 1888Granted an annuity for life by the Tsar.
1888Composition and premiere in St. Petersburg of the Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64; fate motive appears as a kind of “idée fixe.”
1892Premiere of the ballet “The Nutcracker,” Op. 71.
1893Composition of the Symphony No. 6 in B minor (“Pathétique”), Op. 74, which is premiered in St. Petersburg in October that year.
1893Death from cholera in St. Petersburg on November 6.

© 2003, 2010 Philipp Reclam jun. GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart

About the Authors


Ernst Herttrich (Editor)

Dr. Ernst Herttrich, born in 1942 in Würzburg, read musicology, history, German and theology at the universities in Würzburg and Cologne. In 1970 he earned his doctorate in Würzburg with a study of the expression of melancholy in the music of Mozart.

From 1970 to 1990 he was an editor at G. Henle Publishers in Munich, after which he was Head of the Beethoven Complete Edition for over 15 years. In 1999 he took over as Head of the Beethoven-Haus Publishers, and from 2001 was made Head of the Beethoven-Archiv, the research centre at the Beethoven-Haus.

He has been a visiting professor at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo and has undertaken several lecture tours both there and to Kyoto. His research interests include source studies, editorial techniques and music history. Herttrich’s publications include “Beethoven. Liederkreis an die ferne Geliebte” (Bonn 1999) and “Ludwig van Beethoven. Biographie in Bildern” (Bonn, 2000). Herttrich has edited over 100 Urtext editions for G. Henle Publishers.


Johannes Umbreit (Piano reduction)

Prof. Johannes Umbreit studied the piano at the Musikhochschule in Munich. From 1987 onwards he was a regular accompanist at courses given by Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Thomas Brandis, Ljerko Spiller, Igor Ozim, Olga Woitowa, Ernő Sebestyén, Walter Nothas, F. Andrejevsky, Denis Zsigmondy and Zakhar Bron amongst others. He has appeared in numerous radio and TV broadcasts and plays chamber music with members of the Bavarian State Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.

He is on the jury of different international competitions and has been invited to several international music festivals. Umbreit was a teacher for almost ten years at the Musikhochschule in Munich and at the same time a lecturer for chamber music and piano accompaniment at the Richard Strauss Conservatory. Since 2008 he has been a lecturer at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München. As the long-serving managing director of the Richard-Strauss-Gesellschaft, he was made an honorary member of the board in 2009. In May 2011, the Bavarian Minister of Culture appointed Johannes Umbreit an honorary professor of the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München on the suggestion of its academic senate.


Kurt Guntner (Fingering and bowing for Violin)

Prof. Kurt Guntner was born in Munich on Mozart’s 183rd birthday. He studied the violin with Ludwig Ackermann, Max Rostal and Henryk Szeryng. At the age of 18, he made his solo debut in the Kongreßsaal at the German Museum in Munich, performing Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. At the age of 22 he was appointed first concertmaster with the Bavarian State Orchestra. After 10 eventful years at the Bavarian State Opera with conductors such as Ferenc Fricsay, Joseph Keilberth and Hans Knappertsbusch, Rudolf Kempe invited him to become the first concertmaster with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, giving him the opportunity to perform the violin solo in many of the great violin concertos.

Of particular appeal were the BR’s invitations to perform and record great violin concertos that were seldom played, including those by Casella, Schillings, Szymanowsky. Kurt Eichhorn initiated this series– Jan Koetsier, Marek Janowski and others conducted other concertos. Kurt Guntner was also first concertmaster with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra for many years, and played with the Munich Bach Orchestra under Karl Richter, in the Association of Soloists in The Bach Week in Ansbach and with the Münchner Bachsolisten. In 1972 he founded the internationally acclaimed ODEON-TRIO, together with the cellist Angelica May and the pianist Leonard Hokanson, touring all over the world with them for 25 years. In 1976 Guntner was called to the tenured chair of violin at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik und Theater, teaching students from around the world for 28 years.

He made numerous recordings for radio, television, record and CD. Karl Schumann described Guntner’s broad musical personality thus: “Kurt Guntner is a practical orchestral musician, soloist, chamber musician and educator in one person”.

In 1997 Kurt Guntner was awarded the order of merit (first class) of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Kurt Guntner died on 9 January 2015 in Munich.

He was closely associated with G. Henle Publishers for several decades. Since the end of the 1980s he had produced numerous Urtext editions of works for violin for the publishing house, sharing pedagogically polished bowings and fingerings for different works including violin concertos by Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Bruch and Tchaikovsky, as well as numerous other editions.

After many subsequent editions, notably those by Auer, Kreisler and Oistrakh, this splendid co-production takes into account all surviving sources of this epoch-making concerto and critically evaluates them.

Stringendo AUSTA, 2013

Gleichwohl bietet die Ausgabe den wohl gegenwärtig besten Notentext des Werks und macht mit einer Fülle von sehr interessanten Varianten vertraut, die nun problemlos studiert werden können.

Das Orchester, 2012

Endlich und erstmals liegt nun auch dieser Meilenstein der Violinliteratur in einer textkritischen Ausgabe vor, die seiner ursprünglichen Gestalt gerecht wird.

Neue Musikzeitung, 2008

Die Einrichtung durch Kurt Guntner ist ebenfalls optisch sehr ansprechend, da vor allem nicht überladen. Und liest man beispielsweise die Fingersätze, die Guntner vorschlägt, so ist man verblüfft, ob der logischen Stringenz, mit der sie zu den einzelnen Passagen passen.

Liebhaberorchester, 2007

In presenting this urtext, Henle offers no such changes and also steers clear of the more romantic reading inherent in Oistrakh’s fingering suggestions. … The whole history of the concerto and its origins are extensively discussed in the Preface while the Critical Comments detail all markings and differences from the sources. … The violin part is faithful to the composer’s original intentions and is a welcome addition to the existing array.

Stringendo, 2006

The new Henle edition of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto is a welcome addition to the existing array of versions, offering an interesting perspective on this ever-popular work. … The editorial comments are concise, helpful and meticulously researched, and the piano edition, taken from Tchaikovsky’s original violin-piano version as well as the much later score, offers a practical reading.

The Strad, 2006

Pour la première fois ici, l’œuvre est publiée dans une édition critique prenant en compte sa forme originale.

Crescendo, 2006