1880: Tchaikovsky: Italian Capriccio in E major, age 40

Mr. Peabody Says:

Tchaikovsky’s Italian Capriccio on themes from folksongs, in A major, was composed in Rome in January and February 1880, and orchestrated in Kamenka in May 1880. The Capriccio was inspired by Tchaikovsky’s trip with his brother Modest. To me it is a bit like his 1812 Overture, full of tunes that are easy to listen to.

Leonard Bernstein/Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

While in Rome, Tchaikovsky wrote to his friend Nadezhda von Meck:

“I have already completed the sketches for an Italian fantasia on folk tunes for which I believe a good fortune may be predicted. It will be effective, thanks to the delightful tunes which I have succeeded in assembling partly from anthologies, partly from my own ears in the streets.”


  • 3 flutes (3rd doubling on piccolo), 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons
  • 4 horns in F, 2 cornets in A, 2 trumpets in E, 3 trombones (2 tenor, 1 bass), tuba
  • 3 timpani, triangle, tambourine, cymbals, bass drum, glockenspiel, harp
  • strings

1 thought on “1880: Tchaikovsky: Italian Capriccio in E major, age 40”

  1. Light, lively, cheerful music. Although Tchaikovsky composed this in Rome, I detected a Spanish flavor at the beginning and once again towards the end.

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