Festival Coronation March
The Festival Coronation March in D Major, TH 50, ČW 47, is an orchestral work by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky ordered by the city of Moscow for the coronation of Tsar Alexander III in 1883. It was written during March 1883 and performed for the first time on June 4 [O.S. May 23], 1883 in Sokolniki Park (Moscow), conducted by Sergei Taneyev. The music included excerpts of the anthem God Save the Tsar. Recordings of this piece generally run between 5 and 5½ minutes.
The Saint Petersburg premiere was on January 10, 1885 [O.S. December 29, 1884], conducted by Hans von Bülow. The American premiere was on May 5, 1891, for the opening concert of Carnegie Hall, conducted by Tchaikovsky himself.
During the Soviet Era, Russian performances and recordings of the music were revised to omit the excerpts from the Czarist national anthem, replacing it with thematic material used earlier in the march. Other works that quoted or otherwise used the anthem, such as Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave, were also revised, due to an official Soviet ban on the anthem.
Starting with Dmitri Medvedev’s inauguration in 2008, an abbreviated version of this piece is played during the Russian presidential inauguration accompanying the entrance of the incoming president. This version lasts less than two minutes, and so ends well before the playing in this piece of the Tsarist anthem God Save the Tsar. Unlike Tchaikovsky’s other major compositions, the Coronation March does not have an opus number. It has been given the alternative catalogue designations TH 50 and ČW 47.
- Tchaikovsky Research: Coronation March (TH 50)
- Alexander Poznansky & Brett Langston, The Tchaikovsky Handbook, Vol. 1 (2002) Tchaikovsky Research: The Tchaikovsky Handbook
- Polina Vaidman, Liudmila Korabel’nikova, Valentina Rubtsova, Thematic and Bibliographical Catalogue of P. I. Čajkovskij's Works (2006), and P. I. Čajkovskij. New Edition of the Complete Works (1993–date)
- Tchaikovsky Research
- Various performances of this piece on YouTube
- Video of Dmitri Medvedev’s entrance into his inauguration on May 7, 2008
- Video of Vladimir Putin’s entrance into his third inauguration on May 7, 2012, accompanied by an abbreviated version of this piece.
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