Siloti and Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2

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Painting by Alex Katsenelson

This is a continuation of my series of articles about Alexander Siloti.

Tchaikovsky wrote that though his second concerto was “troubled,” he still liked it far more than the first. 

But Tchaikovsky was not happy with the piano part of his second piano concerto. He wrote, “The Second Concerto is also impossible in its current form. … It contains many blunders of mine, but the number of mistakes in the parts is, in a word, disgraceful. I have endured many torments with this concerto at rehearsals.” 

He allowed Siloti to revise the concerto. Siloti made most of his cuts to the second movement, where the concerto went from a focus on the piano to a triple concerto, with the piano joined by cello and violin. Tchaikovsky appreciated Siloti’s effort but did not agree with his cuts and edits. 

Nevertheless, the version of the concerto that is mostly performed today is Siloti’s version, which was published after Tchaikovsky’s death. I must confess that I find beauty in both versions and I like them equally. We’ll listen to both. 

Original, uncut version:

Shortened version, edited by Alexander Siloti:

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