The following playlist includes five classical pieces referenced in A Gentleman in Moscow listed below in the order in which they appear in the novel:

Pyotr Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker, Act One (1892)
Though The Nutcracker, its spirit, and its various characters (especially Drosselmeyer) are referenced throughout the novel, Act One is featured at the end of the 1926 Chapter in the Count’s list of three important contributions by Russia to the West.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-Flat Minor (1892)
It is a recording of Vladimir Horowitz playing this concerto at Carnegie Hall that the Count listens to alone in his room at the end of the 1946 Chapter (thanks to Richard Vanderwhile), and which becomes a symbol for him of “the Former” over “the Latter” in the 1952 Chapter. Horowitz, who defected from the Soviet Union in 1925, had his debut in the United States at Carnegie Hall in 1929 playing this piece.

Frederic Chopin: Nocturnes, Op 9 No. 1-3 (1832)
It is the second of the three Nocturnes that Sofia plays for the Count in the 1954 Chapter, the day he discovers that she has been studying piano in secret.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Piano Sonata No. 1 in C Major (1774)
This is the “delightful composition” that Sofia plays to win the student competition at the Moscow Conservatory (despite the Count’s concerns that it might be too delightful).

Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor (1901)
It is this concerto that Sofia plays in the 1954 Chapter with the orchestra of the Moscow Conservatory at the Salle Pleyel in Paris…

Listen (Spotify)

If you like this, then please share!


New York Times Book Review

A Count Becomes a Waiter in a Novel of Soviet Supremacy

"Beyond the door of the luxurious ­Hotel Metropol lies Theater Square and the rest of Moscow, and beyond its city limits the tumultuous landscape of 20th-century Russia. The year 1922 is a good starting point for a Russian epic, but for the purposes of his sly and winning second ­novel, Amor Towles forgoes descriptions of icy roads and wintry dachas and instead retreats into the warm hotel lobby. The Metropol, with its customs and routines, is a world unto itself..."

You can read the full review here.

Washington Post Review

‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ is a charming reminder of what it means to be classy

September 19
How delightful that in an era as crude as ours this finely composed new novel by Amor Towles stretches out with old-World elegance. “A Gentleman in Moscow” offers a chance to sink back into a lost attitude of aristocracy — equal parts urbane and humane — just what we might expect from the author of that 2011 bestseller “Rules of Civility.” But if Towles’s story is an escape we crave, it is also, ironically, a story of imprisonment...
You can read the full review here.