Letter 2613

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date 1/13 December 1884
Addressed to Emiliya Pavlovskaya
Where written Paris
Language Russian
Autograph Location Moscow (Russia): Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum (Pavlovskaya collection)
Publication Советская музыка (1934), No. 8, p. 63 (abridged)
Чайковский на Московской сцене (1940), p. 316–317
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XII (1970), p. 506

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
1/13 дек[абря] 1884

Дорогая Эмилия Карловна!

Мне необходимо по делам быть в Москве 7-го числа, а так как уехать из Парижа я могу только послезавтра, то, следовательно, в Петербург заехать не успею, а направлюсь прямо в Москву. Между тем, уезжая из Петербурга, я обещал возвратиться в начале декабря; таким образом, выходит, что я всех обманул, и Вас, моя благодетельница, в том числе. Хотя никто от этого ничего не теряет, что увидит меня месяцем позже, — но я всё-таки не люблю не исполнять обещаний, и чтобы несколько угомонить укоры совести, пишу Вам эти несколько слов и прошу Вас не сердиться на меня. Да кстати, так как лично не придётся в скором времени выразить Вам свою неизменную горячую симпатию, то делаю это покамест письменно.

Я совершил целое путешествие по Швейцарии, отдохнул, чувствую себя отлично и с наслаждением возвращаюсь в Россию, без которой всё-таки долго не люблю обходиться.

15-го и 22-го буду слушать в Москве свои два новые большие сочинения. После праздников побываю в Петербурге.

Кланяйтесь от меня, голубушка, Сергею Евграфовичу, всем артистам и не забывайте меня. Целую Вашу ручку как можно крепче. До свиданья, благодетельница.

Ваш, П. Чайковский

1/13 December 1884

It is essential for me to be in Moscow on the 7th to attend to business matters, and since I can only leave Paris the day after tomorrow, I won't have time to stop over in Petersburg, but will head straight for Moscow [1]. However, before leaving Petersburg I had promised that I would be back by the start of December [2], which therefore means that I have deceived everyone, including you, my benefactress [3]. Although no one is going to come to grief just because they won't see me for another month, still I don't like to fail to keep promises, and so as to assuage the pangs of my conscience a little I am writing you these few words and kindly ask you not to be angry with me. Moreover, since in the near future I won't have the chance to convey to you personally the invariably ardent sympathy which I feel for you, I am doing this in writing for the time being.

I undertook quite a bit of a journey through Switzerland, where I had some rest. Now I feel splendid and am delighted to be returning to Russia — I really don't like to have to do without her for long.

On the 15th and the 22nd I shall hear my two new big works in Moscow [4]. After the holidays I will come to Petersburg.

Please, my dear, give my regards to Sergey Yevgrafovich [5] and all the artists, and do not forget me. I kiss your hand as warmly as I can. Goodbye, my benefactress.

Yours, P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. In fact, after setting off from Paris a few days after this letter Tchaikovsky did not head straight for Moscow but went to Saint Petersburg, where he arrived on 7/19 December 1884 and stayed for some ten days before travelling to Moscow, partly to work on the proofs of his Suite No. 3, which was being prepared for publication by Jurgenson.
  2. Tchaikovsky had set off from Saint Petersburg on 1/13 November 1884 in order to travel — via Berlin, Munich, and Lindau — to Davos in Switzerland where he wanted to visit his ailing friend, the violinist Iosif Kotek.
  3. Tchaikovsky repeatedly calls Emiliya Pavlovskaya his "benefactress" in his letters because of the enthusiasm with which she had made the role of Mariya in Mazepa her own at the opera's premiere in Moscow on 3/15 February 1884.
  4. The first performance of Tchaikovsky's Concert Fantasia for piano with orchestra (with Taneyev as the soloist) was scheduled to take place in Moscow on 16/28 December 1884, and that of the Suite No. 3 on 22 December 1884/3 January 1885. However, due to the illness of the conductor Max Erdmannsdörfer both these performances had to be postponed. Thus, the suite was eventually played in Moscow on 19/31 January 1885 (a week after its premiere in Saint Petersburg), and the Concert Fantasia was premiered on 22 February/6 March 1885.
  5. Emiliya Pavlovskaya's husband, Sergey Yevgrafovich Pavlovsky (1846–1915), was also a singer and a member of the Saint Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre's troupe.