Cover Sheet

First Manuscript Page

Last Manuscript Page

Dedicated to pianist,
John Browning (1956)

Review 1 (in French)

Review 2 (in French)

Piano Concerto (1956-1957)
This webpage provides information about the André Tchaikowsky early Piano Concerto (1956-1957). First are music links (as *.mp3 files) and then text that lists all known details regarding this composition, including performances to date, plus text about the concerto from the book, The Other Tchaikowsky - A Biographical Sketch of André Tchaikowsky.

The Music
The piano concerto was recorded as a private label vinyl record, which lacks good sonic qualities but one can get an idea of the composition. The concerto is in four movements, as listed below as *mp3 files. At times, you will notice André making humming noises. A special note of "thanks" to pianist Michal Wesolowski for sharing his digital copy of this record and to the recording engineer, Johan Bejerholm of World Studios (Malmö, Sweden).

Piano Concerto (1956-1957)
Belgium National Orchestra
André Tchaikowsky - Piano | André Vandernoot - Conducting
Brussels, Belgium (Sunday, 16 March 1958)


Newspaper Reviews
There were two newspaper reviews of the 18 March 1958 performance, which was the 12th concert in the 1957-1958 season for the Belgium National Orchestra. For the original French, see the links on the left.

Theatres et Concerts
Aux Beaux-Arts
Concert Symphonique

The twelfth symphony concert of this season brought together the forces of the National Orchestra and the pianist Andrzej Czajkowski, all under the direction of André Vandernoot.

The program included a world event, a concerto by Czajkowski and played by the composer himself. Born in Warsaw in 1935, A. Czajkowski first studied at the conservatory in his hometown and later continued at the National Conservatory of Paris. He won the third prize at the Queen Elisabeth International in 1956. His artistic tours led him successively in Belgium, Holland, France, England, and Italy. He also engaged in two tours in the United States.

The "Concerto for Piano and Orchestra," of which he is the composer, reveals a distinct personality but certain signs indicate that the composer is still finding his voice. His work testifies to an abundance of original ideas, but he throws them scattered and fragmentary, according to his whim. In this way he adapted the different instruments in short combinations that were soon abandoned, leaving a bread crumb trail that we could not follow. This gave us the feeling that his fancy design was leading nowhere, at least for some moments. This sobering effect was not found in the “molto vivance” but it surely appeared in the “Allegro ma non troppo,” where there was a very clear intention to highlight the piano part.

His desire to stay strictly on the beaten path exploded with the association of tones he used in the construction of patterns, which were often the same. He wanted us to taste what is deep and nostalgic - seeking to establish a mysterious atmosphere, but he just groped around and nothing was said.

In this work we should think of this as a test, and it is not without value. There is evidence that A. Czajkowski has something to say, and with time, labor, and experience, he will come to a point of faithful inspiration. The public shows great affections for the winners of the Queen Elisabeth Competition and they gave him a warm welcome.

A. Vandernoot, who reputation as a leader was further established, led his ensemble with extra collaboration of probing and sensitivity.

Andrzej Czajkowski

Spotlight on both pianist and composer for the twelfth Philharmonic concert, was Andrzej Czajkowski who was born in Warsaw in 1935 and was, as we remember, the third prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1956. There it was noted that his technique was clear, it communicated warmth, had subtleties without errors, had fluid phrases, and a touch of extreme delicacy. Among the musical genres that form his musical background, you can include songs, pieces for piano and orchestra, a string quartet, and a concerto written after the competition in Brussels in 1956, given in this concert.

The general impression of this work is one of whimsical imagination, humorous, but somewhat bewildering because the logical elements of composition yield to instinct. This instinct reveals itself especially in the treatment of the orchestra, of sound effects such as the use of tuba, timpani, xylophone and other splashes of color thrown in like a whim of fantasy, seemingly without any aesthetic reason, and without any apparent framework.

This instinct changes the sounds, shows the disjointed, lopsidedness of the work, and its lack of lyricism because of impulsiveness. But it is also possible to see a temperament that is overflowing with gifts, of a vitality that launches this composition with the happy confidence of youth, without any constraints of reflection or control.

By his reception, the public clearly knows that encouragement will not be refused, that he is in every way worthy, and surely will not abuse the composer-performer against its merits.

From the biography The Other Tchaikowsky
The very first mention of a piano concerto is when Andrzej requested a commission and a subsidy from the Polish Composers' Union on January 5, 1951 - He was 15 years old.

To: Polish Composers' Union, Warsaw
Fm: Andrzej Czajkowski, 7 Dabrowskiego Street, Apartment 3, Sopot

I wish to inform you about my composition projects:

a. Piano Etudes - A series of 12 piano etudes to be used at the higher music schools, in which I touch upon new piano techniques and rhythm problems. I think I can complete this work by the beginning of April 1951, but not later than the end of April 1951.

b. Piano Concerto - A piano concerto will be written in F-minor, accompanied by an orchestra, enlarged. The tempo is still something I have to determine. The concerto movements shall be allegro, moderato, andante spianato, and scherzo.

c. Flute Concerto - A flute concerto will be written to use in a natural way, that is, in the original scale.

The piano and flute concertos will be finished by the end of the next academic year, or at least one of them will be done. I wish the Union to commission these works and grant me a subsidy, which will allow me to finish one or both of the above-mentioned compositions.

Andrzej Czajkowski

The concerto is mentioned again in 1957, after study with Nadia Boulanger. The concerto is dedicated to pianist John Browning, whom André met at the 1956 Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition.

Piano Concerto (1956-1957)

The piano concerto promised to John Browning was completed at Fontainebleau in July, 1957, and first performed on March 18, 1958, with the Belgium National Orchestra conducted by André Vandernoot. André Tchaikowsky was the piano soloist. The score is dated, "Juillet 1956 -- Juillet 1957 (Bruxelles -- Varsovie -- Sofia -- Paris -- Fontainebleau)." André had hoped that Browning might have considered giving the first performance, but he wasn't interested in the concerto.

André describes his composition in a letter to Halina Wahlmann (now Halina Wahlmann-Janowska) on June 18, 1957:

Dear Pussycat,

My little kisser, I'm very worried about you, and I myself am going through a difficult time. I have to do everything at once -- finish my concerto by the first of August, record three long playing records: Gaspard de la Nuit, Visions Fugitive, Goldberg Variations, Bach's three preludes and fugues, plus six Scarlatti sonatas.

I visit the Rubinstein's every day, which is far less fun than it would seem. Mr. Rubinstein is very much interested in my piano concerto and he says that it will be Bartok's fourth concerto (he doesn't like Bartok). He gave me the following advice: "Open up! Let your soul sing! You're very talented, child, a golden talent. You should write as to make everybody in the audience cry." But I doubt if I'm going to listen to him. I could end up with the fifth concerto by Rachmaninoff. My conductor, the handsome André Vandernoot, gives me the opposite advice: "Oh, such a beautiful theme! Isn't it a waste to use it for the piano? Turn it into a symphony. What do you need this typewriter for? It was fashionable during its era. In ten years' time, almost nobody will be playing it. Listen mate, the orchestra plays much better when no twiddle, twiddle interrupts her."

Under Rubinstein's influence I wrote a theme, which all my friends consider to be terribly sweet and weepy. Under Vandernoot's influence, I added accompaniment on the post twelve-tone series with "concrete" whispers on percussion, pianissimo kettle drums, glides and trills in the quarter tones. God only knows how it's going to turn out, but I'm looking forward to the first performance, and I feel we are all going to have a lot of fun.

I can just imagine the look on the faces of the orchestra during the first rehearsals. (By the way I'd like to have you there.) It will be nothing less than a zoological symphony: Drums growling, clarinets meowing, brass roaring, and flutes barking. But the real menagerie will be the audience.

My love, it's already past four, and at five I begin recording. Let me be blessed by God, because I don't know what I shall be doing. Hopefully, I'm not the only one. A few days ago I went to a concert given by C. P. who plays and looks like an old, used-up French letter. Men of learning find in him a certain resemblance to Rameses II, but it must be said that the Egyptian civilization has so far fared better. It didn't cross anybody's mind to mummify C. P. when there was still time for it. As of now, I'm seriously afraid it's too late, both for him, as well as for Mrs. M.L. [Marguerite Long], who, for a change, in terms of her face, resembles Moby Dick. The only one that holds his age quite well is King Arthur [Rubenstein].

Well, be well, be well. Aunt Mala keeps hurrying me up, bangs me on the back, pulls my hair so as to make me hurry up, because you should know, I'm still in my pajamas. I kiss you a thousand times.


After the premiere performance, the work was never played again.

The complete score is in the Josef Weinberger André Tchaikowsky archives. A complete copy of this early piano concerto is in the library at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, Belgium. This copy originally was given by André to Marcel Cuvelier who, at the time, was the jury president for the 1956 Queen Elisabeth Piano Competition, where André received 3rd prize.