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Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky


Op.39, No.21 - Sweet Dreams

"Album Pour Enfants"

Emir Gamsız, piano


This piece is in the album:

"Classical Lullabies"

Read about the album: Click here.

Read about the composer: Click here.

Read about the pianist: Click here.

Listen to the preview:


This lovely and melodic piece "Sweet Dreams" by Tchaikovsky is No.21 from his Op.39 Children's Album. Tchaikovsky wrote his Children's Album, a series of short pieces of piano solo, in 1878, and published in the same year through P. Jurgenson, dedicating the work to Vladimir Davydov (1871-1906), his nephew. The work, named Op.39 is in 24 short movements, the longest lasting a mere 85 bars. Editions other than the first used different numbering for the pieces, based in the composer's autograph score, resulting in some confusion. The whole set takes about 28 minutes to perform. Tchaikovsky intended these 24 easy pieces to be played "by" children, rather than "for" them. They're extremely short, all but two clocking in at well under a minute. No.21, "Sweet Dreams," is the longest piece in Album for the Young. 

In a letter of 30 April/12 May 1878 to Nadezhda von Meck, the composer wrote: "A while ago I thought that it would not be a bad idea to make a small contribution to the stock of children's musical literature, which is very modest. I want to create a series of little individual pieces just for children, and with an attractive title, like Schumann's".

Some months before this letter was written, while staying in Florence on 14/26 February, Tchaikovsky told Pyotr Jurgenson that he wanted "to write a number of easy pieces, like Kinderstück". Evidently, the idea of creating a collection of pieces for young people had not been abandoned by the composer, and after his return to Kamenka in April he decided to begin composition. In the aforementioned letter to Nadezhda von Meck, he informed her: "Tomorrow I shall start work on my collection of miniatures for children".

On 1/13 May the composer wrote to Anatoly Tchaikovsky: "I'm working well and have done rather a lot". On 4/16 May the sketches for all 24 pieces were ready. Shortly afterwards, Tchaikovsky accepted an invitation from Nadezhda von Meck to stay at her Brailov estate until the end of May/beginning of June, before spending a few days in Moscow; from there he went to spend five days with his friend Nikolay Kondratyev at Nizy, and in mid/late June he called at Kiev, before returning to Verbovka. In the days following his arrival, he began to put the finishing touches to all the pieces written in April and May. The fair copy of the Children's Album was begun, it seems, on 13/25 July. By 20 July/1 August the copying out was completed.