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Tchaikovsky, Dumka, Op. 59, for solo piano; Edition Jurgenson, J0075.

Tchaikovsky, Dumka, Op. 59, for solo piano; Edition Jurgenson, J0075, edited by Ya. Milstein and K Sorokin. Edition Peters ( is the U.S. distributor for Edition Jurgenson. 14pp. $9.95.


Horowitz recorded Tchaikovsky's Dumka, Op. 59 for RCA in 1942, and many excellent pianists have done so since then. Performance timings on various CDs range from seven to 10 minutes.

According to Groves Dictionary, "The dumka was a song or lament (the word is cognate with the Czech dumat and Polish duma?, "to ponder," "to meditate"), usually sung by women." In Tchaikovsky's Dumka, a lyrical mournful narrative frames an extended, rhythmically interesting dance section. This quicker section requires a full chord sound and reasonably developed skill with chord leaps. Other technical features include one extended octave passage (moderato con fuoco), four rapid scales in the right hand, and a Liszt-like cadenza four lines in length. I'd rate this piece early-advanced to advanced, very suitable for older high school students and beyond.

The edition under consideration, a reprint from a 1949 edition (Moscow) based on an edition of Tchaikovsky's Collected Works, claims to present "all marks found in the original text" in large print. All other markings, "most probably approved by Tchaikovsky," and "those added by the present editors" are in small print. Very few marks occur in small print.

I compared the Jurgenson edition with the Edition Peters Nr. 4652, volume one of Selected Piano Works by Tchaikovsky. Neither provides measure numbers. Both are identical (with two minute exceptions) as far as dynamics, articulation and pedaling are concerned. Jurgenson provides more fingering than Peters, often presents alternate fingerings, and gives a clever redistribution of the opening passage in the cadenza.

Purchasing the Jurgenson Edition is a good choice. If you wish to own more of Tchaikovsky's piano music than Dumka, the Peters volume fills the bill.--Reviewed by Richard Zimdars, University of Georgia
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Author:Zimdars, Richard
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book review
Date:Apr 1, 2008
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