The Piano Concerto No. 1 in B♭ minor, Op. 23, was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky during a four month period ending in February 1875. It was revised twice, in 1879 and in 1888. Tchaikovsky wanted Anton Rubenstein’s younger brother Nickolai to perform the piece but Rubenstein was not impressed with the original, so Hans von Bülow premiered the work in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 25, 1875. It is one of the most popular of Tchaikovsky’s compositions and among the best known of all piano concertos. It became popularly known in the 20th century when Van Cliburn won the first International Tchaikovsky piano competition in Moscow in 1958, during the height of the Cold War. The subsequent recording of that concerto became the first platinum-selling record in the United States.
This arrangement of the first movement keeps all the intensity of the theme, while transposing it to a far easier-to-read key.
Key: A minor/C Major
Mood: bold, emotional
Pedagogy: dynamics, pedaling, phrasing