In the early 1870’s PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY was already a professor at the Moscow Conservatory, an authority in the music critic, his works were performed in Russia and abroad, he often traveled around Europe. In 1870, at the invitation of his student Count Vladimir Shilovsky, the two traveled to Germany, Paris and Switzerland, and to Italy in the following year. There, in Nice, the composer wrote two pieces for piano – “Nocturne ” and “Humoresque” and dedicates them to Shilovsky. And in 1873, again during a summer trip with his publisher Peter Jurgenson to Switzerland, Italy and Paris, he completed the cycle of Six Plays Op.19 1. Reverie du soir (Evening dreams); 2. Scherzo humoristique (Humoresque scherzo); 3. Feuillet d’album (Album sheet); 4. Nocturne (Nocturne); 5. Capriccioso; 6. Thème original et variations (Theme and variations).
Tchaikovsky ‘s fourth piano piece transformed into NOCTURNE FOR CELLO AND ORCHESTRA in February 1888 in Paris, reworked especially for the talented cellist Anatoly Brandukov. In fact, Wilhelm Fitzenhagen (the first performer of his famous Variations on a Rococo Theme) had previously transcribed the Nocturne for solo cello and piano, on which the orchestration is based. The first performance was at a private concert at the home of Marie de Benardaky on February 16th , 1888, with the orchestra of Edward Colon and soloist Anatoly Brandukov, conducted by the author. Five days later, on February 21st , the work received its public premiere at the 16th of a series of concerts at the Château Chaletle in Paris and was re-performed a week later at the 17th series of the latter. The cello version was presented in Moscow on November 6th , 1891 at a concert organized by the famous pianist and conductor Alexander Siloti, performed again by Anatoly Brandukov under Tchaikovsky’s baton.