'Wrong' note in Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 corrected

26 June 2013, 12:24 | Updated: 2 October 2014, 17:10

Pianist Stephen Hough has uncovered a mistake in the second movement of the manuscript, corrected in blue pencil on the score.

Pianist Stephen Hough has uncovered a mistake in Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, 138 years after the work was finished. After looking at the manuscript online in the Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Stephen noticed a 'wrong note' F had been changed to a B flat in blue pencil.

Initially, Stephen believed the correction to be in Tchaikovsky's writing, describing the revelation as 'one of the most exciting musical discoveries' of his life. It's since emerged that the manuscript was a copyist's manuscript, prepared for Hans von Bülow as he performed the concerto throughout the world, and the correction may have been made by Bülow himself.

Before seeing the manuscript, Stephen cited a number of reasons for wanting to change the note in the score: the theme appears a number of times throughout the concerto, but only once with the F in the flute part. The rogue F also creates a clash between the G flat in the strings and changes the symmetry of the theme, which spans five notes up and five notes down in the four-bar phrase.


Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto manuscript