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[1828 - 1910]

'Anna Karenina' Waltz (1878)

arranged by Mark Starr for string orchestra with flute solo obbligato
from Tolstoy's Waltz in F Major, as notated by Alexander Goldenveiser

link to biography of Count Leo Tolstoy

A demo recording of this arrangement -- realized with digital musical sounds -- will begin to play automatically upon opening this page.  If you do not wish listen to it, please click on the STOP button (or the PAUSE button) on the media player, below. You may wish to adjust the volume on your computer to a more comfortable level.


This waltz was composed by Count Leo Tolstoy, author of "War and Peace" and 'Anna Karenina.' It was notated for piano by Russian composer/pianist A. Goldenveizer after he heard Tolstoy perform it on the piano in 1906 before himself, Taneyev (presumably the Russian composer/pianist Sergei Taneyev) and Yasnaya Polyana. Goldenveizer later collaborated with A. Gusev on a book, "Leo Tolstoy and Music," published in Moscow in 1953, in which this waltz was first published.

Goldenveizer attributed the composition of this piano piece to Tolstoy's youth -- which, in Tolstoy's case covered a wide range of years, since Tolstoy lived to the age of 92. Thus, it was likely composed before or around the time that Tolstoy wrote Anna Karenina -- the book which he later called his "first true novel." Tolstoy wrote this novel in incomplete serial form during the years 1873 to 1877, and it was first published complete in book form in 1878. 


"Anna Karenina" is filled with aristocratic balls and waltzes. One of the most notable ballroom scenes comes in Part 1. Vronsky pays Anna considerable attention. He dances with her, choosing her as his partner instead of Kitty - who is shocked and heartbroken. Kitty realises that Vronsky has fallen in love with Anna. Despite Vronsky's overt flirtations with Anna, he has no intention of marrying her. He views his attentions to her as mere amusement, and he believes that she does the same.




The nickname "Anna Karenina" Waltz was coined by the arranger, Mark Starr, who also added the decorative flute solo.  That Tolstoy had this waltz  in mind when he wrote his novel is, of course, speculation.  Nevertheless, historically it is possible.

Incidentally, a recent poll of 125 contemporary authors - published in 2007 in "The Top Ten" - declared that Anna Karenina is the "greatest novel ever written".

A suggestion to all: re-read Part 1 of "Anna Karenina" while listening to the demo recording of this waltz, composed by the author of the novel.  Here is a unique experience.


Greta Garbo as Anna Karenina



The full score for Mark Starr's arrangement of Count Leo Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina" Waltz is available on the website www.sibeliusmusic.com for perusal, audition, purchase, downloading and printing.  Here is a link to the score:


The orchestral parts are available for rental from Noteworthy Musical Editions for concert performances, recordings and broadcasts. 

This arrangement is registered with ASCAP.