Military March in B flat
Tchaikovsky wrote this March (without opus number but written in 1893 while he was working on the Pathétique Symphony) at the request of his cousin Andrei (not as is sometimes stated his brother Anatoli who was a civil servant, not a soldier). Andrei Petrovich Tchaikovsky was the commander of the 98th Yuriev Infantry, and tradition demanded that every regiment should have its own march. Many officers were musical enough to write one, but cousin Andrei saw no point trying when he could call on a professional.
Not being very confident at writing for band, Tchaikovsky supplied the piece as a piano score for the bandmaster to orchestrate, stipulating that whatever military trappings it acquired, the melody and harmony should be preserved intact. The edition published by Jurgenson shortly after the composer's death is anonymous and is unlikely to be that made by the original dedicatees as it is written for a huge band and contains some departures from the original. A Soviet-era version for realistic forces is more respectful but sheds no further light. Russian bands have more brass and less woodwind that Western ones but this arrangement contains the full complement of each. Tchaikovsky's innocent choice of B flat is rather high: this realisation in A flat is easier to play and richer to listen to.