Composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky when he was only 24, “Characteristic Dances” was the first of his pieces to be publically performed. Tchaikovsky himself was not present for the performance, which was conducted by Johann Strauss (itself an honour to a neophyte composer). However, he was pleased with both the fact of the performance and its reception.
Amazingly, “Characteristic Dances” has never been published, and exists today only in a modified form, as Tchaikovsky reworked it as “Dances of the Chambermaids” in his 1867 opera, “The Voyevoda”, and this is the form that they were recorded and popularised in. However, despite its obscurity, the public performance of his works was a turning point in the career of Tchaikovsky, and marked the first step to his becoming one of the best known of all Russian composers.
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