Robert Gauldin, Tragic Love and Musical Memory

Example 5. Unusual features of Tchaikovsky's Bb minor Piano Concerto (1874), which may have provided the bases for Nikolai Rubinstein's negative criticisms, followed by possible "programmatic" explanations relating to his romantic relationship with Artôt.

I. First movement:  5a  5b  5c  5d  5e  5f     II. Second movement:  5g  5h  5i  5j     III. Third movement:  5k  5l

f.    The movement's usual key scheme: in addition to the tonic Bb minor/minor, the use of Db major for the extended introduction, and Ab major for the secondary area. -- These primary keys may be rearranged to form a diatonic version of Artôt's acronym: Db Ab Bb.
g. The inconsistent melodic statements of the primary theme (first = Ab Eb F Ab in flute, but then Ab Eb Bb Ab). -- First statement is a diatonic version of Artôt's acronym, while the rest are "disguised forms" (according to Brown).
h. The lovely oboe/cello duet based on the primary flute theme is strongly reminiscent of slow pax de deux movements in his ballets. -- Perhaps refers to the evenings when Tchaikovsky may have taken Artôt to dinner and later dancing.
i. The strange Prestissimo middle section with its rather garish "Petroushka-like" melody. -- This is a setting of the saucy chansonette Il faut s'amuser, danser, et rire, a staple of Artôt repertoire and obviously known by Tchaikovsky.


j. The movement is set in Db major -- Tchaikovsky's choice of his "love key" seems particularly appropriate, since the entire movement resembles an Albumblatt of faded vignettes, recalling those times the composer and singer shared together. The enharmonic German sixth harmonies in the closing measures ("a la Romeo and Juliet") again allude to Artôt's Db A.