Letter 24

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date 20 May/1 June 1851
Addressed to Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya and Ilya Tchaikovsky
Where written Saint Petersburg
Language French
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 33, л. 33–34)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 25–26
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 29

Text and Translation

Spelling and punctuation errors in the original text have not been indicated.

French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Le 20 Mai l'an 1851

Chers Papa et maman

Voila c'est deja la dérnière semaine qui reste jusqu'aux vacances; Après-demain commencent les examens et Samedi prochain j'irai pour les vacances chez le bon M. Platon Wakar qui veux me prendre chez lui.

M[onsieur] Markoff la maman de sa femme est vaiment un ange de bonté, ainsi que ses deux filles dont l'une est la femme de M. Wakar ont la bonté de vouloir me prendre chez eux à la campagne dans un village non loin de St. Petersbourg où je pense passe très gaiement le temps. J'ai la hardiesse encore de vous demander votre arrivée ici.

M[onsieur] Berrard qui ne peut vous ecrire autant que parler à besoin de vous parler de ma conduite, de mon aprentissage, de mon entrée dans la premiére sexion'é et ensuite à l'école.

Adieu mes chers et bons anges Papa, et Maman. Je vous souhaite de la santé et je prie votre bénédiction. Votre fils dévoué,


20th of May 1851

Dear Papa and Mama

It is already the last week which we have left until the holidays. The exams begin the day after tomorrow, and next Saturday I am going to kind Mr Platon Vakar's house for the holidays, as he is willing to take me in [1].

Madame Markova, his wife's mother, is truly an angel of kindness, as are her two daughters, one of whom is Mr Vakar's wife: they are so kind as to have agreed to take me to the countryside to live with them, in a village not far from Saint Petersburg where I intend to spend my time very merrily. I am bold enough to ask you again to come here.

Mr Bérard [2], who cannot write to you as much as he would like to say, needs to talk to you about my conduct, my studies, and my moving up into the first section and then into the school [3].

Goodbye, my dear and good angels, Papa and Mama. I wish you health and I ask for your blessing. Your devoted son,


Notes and References

  1. Platon Alekseyevich Vakar (1826-1899) was the guardian of young Pyotr and his brother Nikolay from early/mid May 1851 until Ilya Tchaikovsky was able to move to Saint Petersburg with the rest of the family in May 1852. Platon Vakar was himself a graduate of the School of Jurisprudence, and it is possible that he played a part in Ilya Tchaikovsky's decision to enrol Pyotr in the school proper after he had completed the preparatory class. See Пётр Чайковский. Биография, том I (2009),p. 45.
  2. Joseph Bérard (known in Russia as Iosif Iosifovich Berar; 1800-1883) taught literature and French at the School of Jurisprudence, including in the preparatory class which Pyotr was attending at the time. He was the latter's favourite teacher. See Пётр Чайковский. Биография, том I (2009), p. 46.
  3. Tchaikovsky had joined the preparatory class of the School of Jurisprudence in September 1850. Pupils who made sufficient progress in their studies moved up into the "first section" of the former and from there they could take the entrance exams into the school proper. Tchaikovsky would pass these exams in May 1852 and in September he entered the school's junior form.