Letter 114

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Date 25 February/8 March 1868
Addressed to Mily Balakirev
Where written Moscow
Language Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 11, л. 3–4)
Publication Переписка М. А. Балакирева и П. И. Чайковского (1868-1891) [1912], p. 15
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 134
Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 119

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Добрейший Милий Алексеевич!

Н. Г. Рубинштейн лежит больной и потому извиняется, что не может сам отвечать Вам. В концерте Бесплатной школы он с большим удовольствием примет участие, если только его собственный концерт состоится хотя бы одним днём раньше Вашего. Вы, конечно, согласитесь с тем, что ему невыгодно явиться перед публикой до своего концерта, и простите ему, что участие в Вашем вечере он ставит в зависимость от денежной стороны дела. Потрудитесь узнать от фортепьянного мастера Беккера, которому поручено устройство рубинштейновских концертов, когда назначен первый из них. Играть у Вас он желал бы Венгерскую рапсодию Листа.

Искренне благодарю Вас за хлопоты о моих «Танцах», но от всей души жалею, что они не будут, как я того желал, играны под Вашим управлением.

«Руководство к инструментовке» послано к Бернарду для передачи Вам.

Искренне преданный Вам,

П. Чайковский
Москва. 25 февра[ля] 1868

N. G. Rubinstein is lying ill and therefore apologizes for not being able to reply to you. He would be greatly delighted to take part in the Free Schools concert, as long as his own concert can take place at least one day before yours [1]. You will, of course, agree that it would not be profitable for him to appear in front of the public before his own concert, and forgive him for making his participation in your soirée conditional upon the financial aspect of the matter. Would you be so kind as to find out from the piano-maker Becker [2], who is responsible for the organization of Rubinstein's concerts, the date for which the first of these is scheduled? At your soirée he would like to play Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody.

I thank you sincerely for taking the trouble over my "Dances", but I regret with all my heart that they will not be performed under your baton as I had wished [3].

The "Handbook for Instrumentation" [4] has been sent to Bernard to be passed on to you [5].

Your sincerely devoted,

P. Tchaikovsky
Moscow. 25 February 1868

Notes and References

  1. Nikolay Rubinstein's concert in Saint Petersburg took place on 21 March/2 April 1868. The Free Music School concert was held on 18/30 March 1868, but Rubinstein did not take part in it.
  2. Frants Davidovich Becker, owner of the "Ya. Becker" piano-making factory in Saint Petersburg.
  3. See Letter 111, with which Tchaikovsky had enclosed the score of the Dances of the Chambermaids from his opera The Voyevoda. In his reply, dated 21 February/4 March 1868, Balakirev had explained that the Russian Musical Society concert season in Saint Petersburg had already come to a close, and that he would not be able to conduct the Dances at one of these concerts. They would, however, be conducted by Konstantin Lyadov at a concert in the Mariinsky Theatre on 17/29 March 1868. Balakirev's letter to Tchaikovsky is included in: Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 118.
  4. Tchaikovsky's translation into Russian of François-Auguste Gervais's famous Traité d'instrumentation had been published by Jurgenson in Moscow in 1866 as Handbook for Instrumentation. In his letter to Tchaikovsky of 21 February/4 March 1868, Balakirev had requested a copy of this translation.
  5. Matvey Ivanovich Bernard (1794–1871), founder of a music publishing firm in Saint Petersburg, the father of Nikolay Bernard.