Does anyone have a 4-hand Nutcracker?

A small English festival programmed Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, arranged for piano 4 hands by Arensky in 1892 and published by Jurgenson.

Then they discovered that the score is rare as hen’s teeth.

They eventually located a copy in a major Russian institution, which agreed to scan and send over the score. But the price is prohibitive … £1,641.

Do any of our readers have a spare copy on the shelf?


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  • Why does it have to be Arensky? There’s a perfectly usable, equally contemporary 4-hand arrangement of the Nutcracker Suite by Langer also published by Jurgenson available for free at IMSLP. Besides, who is foolish enough to plan a performance without the music at hand?

    • Oh, are they only performing the Suite? IMSLP was the first place I looked, too, and could only find a solo piano version of the complete ballet.

      That said, it was clearly an oversight not to make sure the music would be available (even if, as with something like this, you’d think surely it must be).

  • It’s available on imslp and other places. A quick google should provide the score that the festival requires.

    • I just looked and there’s no “full ballet” available at IMSLP.
      There’s excerpts, and there’s the suite.

  • I could probably do an arrangement for 24 Banjos if it would help at all. Although I am now a retired Artiste, I could probably knock it up in a few days. I do the odd event eg weddings, wakes, the lads in the band all get togged up in blazers and natty boaters, blackened faces, just like Bertie Wooster, all very politically incorrect these days but audiences still like it.

    Here is what we are like.

  • Is has to be asked; why an arrangement for 4 hands? A 2 hand arrangement would have been useful for rehearsals, but I cannot understand the need for 4.

    • NL doesn’t say if the “small English festival” is a music or dance festival, so it’s not 100% clear whether they wanted something to accompany the dancers in rehearsals until the orchestra showed up, or if it was a “come hear the Nutcracker, in an unusual 4-hand piano arrangement by Arensky” kind of thing.

    • 4-hand arrangements were typically made if the complexity of the orchestration required​ more fingers to get the important stuff in (e.g. Reger’s Brandenburg concertos.) The Arensky version at issue is apparently for 2 pianos, not for 1-piano 4-hands, a crucial distinction. Stravinsky’s own piano version of the Rite of Spring is likewise for 2 pianos and that score shows that even 20 fingers aren’t enough (there are notations for what a 5th hand could do, if available.)

  • For that sort of money, the festival could probably commission a new arrangement to their specifications, surely…

  • The Bagaduce Music Lending Library in Blue Hill Maine has a version of the Nutcracker for piano 4 hands and a version for 2 pianos. Their entire catalog (nearly 1 million pieces of music) is available on line. Music can come as hard copy or digital. Fees are kept very low as this library is committed to supporting live performance. Check them out at

  • I have a copy I got from a Russian whose relative taught at the Moscow Conservatory. Because it was extremely difficult to acquire, I promised her I would not share it. I’m very sorry.

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