Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Piano Concerto 1
in B-flat Minor, Op. 23

This concerto's famed introduction is instantly recognizable; a powerful motif in the horn section that quickly transitions into a memorable and passionate theme, supported by chords crashing across the full extent of the keyboard.

ID: 1512
Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky - Concertos:

Piano Concerto 1
Op. 23

Key: B-flat Minor
Year: 1875
Level: 8+
Period: Late Romantic
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Passionate Lyricism & Glittering Virtuosity

Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto is among the most popular concertos in the repertoire. Carried by an irresistible mix of glittering virtuosity and dramatic push and pull, it combines Tchaikovsky’s gift for passionate lyricism with virtuosic caprice to delightful effect. The first movement’s famed introduction is instantly recognizable, its opening horn melody quickly transitioning into a memorable and passionate theme in D flat major supported by chords crashing across the full extent of the keyboard. Rich with interplay between the orchestra and the piano, the movement brims with passion and glittering virtuosity, occasionally catching its breath in more intimate and lyrical moments.

The second movement is in D flat major and A-B-A form. The outer sections are serene, almost pastoral, and, similar to the first movement, feature continuous interplay between the orchestra and the piano. The middle section is marked Prestissimo and flits and twirls with spritelike caprice, creating a contrast in tempo and character without detracting from the overall impression of a captured moment of contented happiness. The final movement is in rondo form and is decisively energetic and upbeat despite the minor key, thanks to numerous syncopations and middle-of-the-bar accents. Like the previous movements, capricious virtuosity contrasted with lyrical secondary themes interplay throughout. A virtuosic cadenza in octaves leads into the piano and orchestra coming together in a final passionate outburst, creating a glorious ending to a glittering and exciting concerto.


Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1, Op. 23 was composed between November 1875 and February 1875 and revised in 1879 and 1888. Though its premiere in October 1875 was resoundingly well-received by the audience, the critical response was lukewarm. It has since become one of the most well-known piano concertos in the repertoire as well as one of Tchaikovsky’s most popular compositions.

Forum posts about this piece:

Your opinion by arpeggio
Hello Just wanted to know your opinion on the difficulty of Liszt concerto no. 2, compared to Rach no. 2 of Tchaikovsky no. 1 for example I know there is already a lot of discussion about...

Tchaik Concerto 1 by goethefan69420
What is a reasonable amount of time someone should be able to prepare this piece by? Months? Years? I tried practicing some sections today, and octave is one of my strong technique, and it...

What do you guys think about the opening of this? by rachmaninoff_forever And please don't comment on how you dislike the way she dresses it's stupid >:( I personally think it sounds weird but that could just be because...

Rank these concerto movements in terms of difficulty by kornv9022
I am just curious how one would rank the movements of the Tchaikovsky concerto no.1 and the Rachmaninoff concertos 1 and 2 in terms of difficulty. I am curious not just the difficulty within the concerto, but...

Sudden loss of technique by nosaj123
Hi everyone, I've been playing piano for about 7 years, and I have been comfortably playing pieces such as the Appassionata, the Rachmaninoff sonata no. 2, the Tchaikovsky concerto, etc. ...

Tchaikovsky piano concerto 1 - best edition? by ewalker1
Hi, My teacher has recommended that I learn the first Tchaikovsky concerto. I'm looking for the most authoritative edition, but there only seems to be editions by Peters and Schirmer...

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto #1 by sissyblue111
Is there a piano solo arrangement of this?

Tchaikovsky 1 - Chopin 1 by franz_
Which concerto is/was for you the hardest to learn? Particulary technically...

Difficulty of Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto by Movement by davidjosepha
I've heard that Tchaikovsky's first piano concerto is extraordinarily difficult. I was wondering if that is every movement, or if one in particular is much more difficult, or anything. I know the...

Tchaikovsky 1! Greedy? by pianorama
I've chosen Tchaikovsky's 1st piano concerto (the first movement) to play in a concerto competition, and frankly I don't know if my piano teacher will just laugh when I tell him of this plan of...

Fingerings, Tchaikovsky Concerto 3rd movement. by franz_
Which fingerings do you guys use to play the opening theme of the third movement? How do you play the jumps in thirds?

Tchaikovsky PC1 arpeggio by amr1980
The second arpeggio (d dim7) in the opening cadenza is giving me trouble.  I was trying to watch Weissenberg to analyze his technique and see how he executes it.  However, after watching it many times...

Piano concertos: Rachmaninov Vs. Tchaikovsky by bluesyboy1
Ok now, I now that there in no "versus" as far as comparing these majestic composers. I was wondering however about the age-old question. I would like to ask the learned, perhaps preferably those who...

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto and Chopin g minor Ballade by mcdiddy1
Hi, I have just started learning there works and wanted to know you tips you have on learning them. I would also love to hear what experieces you had performing or learning these works....

Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 Manuscript by zyschqual
Hello, would anyone know if the manuscript of Tchaikovsky's Concerto No 1 was published sometime as a facsimile? Or if there are scans available? That would really make sense for the most...

Re: Alexei Grynyuk - the Octave Marvel by c0nfused
Ok, I don't actually care about who is the fastest octave player in the world, but i saw this topic and Argerich immediately came to my mind. I don't know if she is any faster, maybe you should count...

Tchaikovsky piano concerto - your opinion please by franz_
Hi, Does anyone played this concerto here? I have the impression that it is difficult, but technically not SO difficult, for sure if you compare it to other great romantic concertos. Am I right...

The best interpretation of Tchaikovsky`s First Concerto and Rachmaninov`s Second by christiaan
Thcaikovsky: Richter, Argerich, Olga Kern, Pletnev...? Rachmaninov: Richter, Kissin, Hough,...

Most "un-virtuosic" recording of Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto by Bradley
Hey I've been auditiong this piece alot, trying to perform it somewhere, but to no avail. I recently, however, saw a performance of it and was DISGUSTED at what the performer did  :( She...

Tchaikovsky piano concerto - first piano chords by jason2711
Hi, this isn't really a question about how to play it, more [i]what[/i] to play.  Having just started learning this concerto I'm a little confused about the chords from bar 6 onwards. ...

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Piano Concerto 1 in B-flat Minor Op. 23 by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. Sheet music and recordings of thousands of piano pieces by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky and many other famous composers to view in your digital device, print out or listen to.
Piano Concerto 1 in B-flat Minor - Op. 23 is a piece by the late romantic composer Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.
The composition was first published in 1875 and is included in Miscellaneous pieces by Tchaikovsky.

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