Manuscript Pages

Octet (1961)
This webpage provides information about the André Tchaikowsky composition, Octet [Octuor] (1961). This includes text from the book, The Other Tchaikowsky - A Biographical Sketch of André Tchaikowsky. This work has never been performed.

From the biography The Other Tchaikowsky
The move to Clarendon Gardens gave André better surroundings in which to compose. For the period March to August 1961, he composed a single work, an Octet. It was dedicated to Anny Askenase, Stefan Askenase's wife. The eight instruments are clarinet, french horn, bassoon, two violins, viola, 'cello, and bass. André did nothing to promote a performance of his Octet. He wrote the work, presented a copy to Anny Askenase, and that was the end of it. A few years later when André and clarinetist Gervase de Peyer became friends, André suggested that the Melos Ensemble might be interested in the Octet, and André gave Gervase a copy. Gervase was a founding member of the Melos group and it seemed there might be the possibility of a performance. Gervase de Peyer:

"I remember another significant work by André. This is an Octet, written for the Melos Ensemble in the middle sixties, I think, and never played. André wrote this following a suggestion from myself and it never proved possible to interest the rest of the Ensemble in the piece or to find an opportunity to perform it. This is just another example of the waste that pervades the world of music. Everyone is always under enormous pressure, either to find work or to get through it, and the pages of musical history are full of examples such as this, where composers' pieces have laid unperformed and frequently have been lost. This may be the case with the Octet, since I certainly do not have it here with me in New York. It must therefore be amongst piles of music currently stored in a furniture repository, with many of my things, in Southern England. Obviously, it is important to try and find this piece, as I remember being extremely interested in it, since I was already acquainted with André's Clarinet Sonata. The problem of finding the time and opportunity for eight musicians to actually sit down together and read a new piece was unfortunately insurmountable, and now we are faced with the distinct possibility of the work being lost."

Gervase incorrectly believed the Octet was written for the Melos. The work was completed before André and Gervase ever met; however, it was something the Melos could have played had the situation been more favorable. In any case, the original score is in the Weinberger Tchaikowsky archives in London, and has never been performed.