Letter 3639

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Date 9/21 August 1888
Addressed to Pyotr Jurgenson
Where written Frolovskoye
Language Russian
Autograph Location Klin (Russia): Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve (a3, No. 2615)
Publication Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 3 (1902), p. 262–263 (abridged)
П. И. Чайковский. Переписка с П. И. Юргенсоном, том 2 (1952), p. 95
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIV (1974), p. 501–502

Text and Translation

Russian text
(original)
English translation
By Brett Langston
9 авг[уста] [18]88

Я бы дал охотно год жизни (впрочем, в том только случае, если мне назначено прожить до 90 лет), чтобы раз навсегда отделаться от цепи, связывающей моё имя с M[ada]me Мамонтовой. Если есть малейшая возможность обойдись так, чтобы меня вовсе не упоминать на этом позорном сборнике. За это я берусь даром написать две или три серии детских песней. Пусть только Наталья Николаевна, или Анна Васильевна, или кто-нибудь займётся приисканием текстов.

Твой, П. Чайковский

9 August 1888

I would gladly have given up a year of my life (although only provided I'm destined to live up to 90 years), in order to free myself forever from all ties to Madame Mamontova [1]. If there is the slightest possibility then do not to mention me at all in this shameful collection [2]. In return I undertake to write two or three series of children's songs as a gift. Permit only Natalya Nikolayevna [3], or Anna Vasilyevna [4], or engage somebody to seek out the texts [5].

Yours, P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. In 1872 Mariya Mamontova asked Tchaikovsky for assistance in editing her compilation of Children's Songs on Russian and Ukrainian Tunes (Детские песнии на русские и малороссийские напевы). The composer harmonized and edited the first set of 24 songs in 1872, and reluctantly agreed to work on a second set of 15 songs in 1877 (which he subsequently lost). When she asked for his assistance with a third set in 1878 Tchaikovsky flatly refused.
  2. On 30 July/11 August 1888, Pyotr Jurgenson wrote to Tchaikovsky that the first set of songs was to be reprinted, asking "Will you now let us say as before that they are harmonized by you?" (see П. И. Чайковский. Переписка с П. И. Юргенсоном, том 2 (1952), p. 94). Without waiting for Tchaikovsky's response, Jurgenson had the set printed with Tchaikovsky's name retained on the title. See also Letter 3646 to Jurgenson, 14/26 August 1888.
  3. Natalya Nikolayevna Pechkovskaya (1850-1930), proprietor of a publishing warehouse in Moscow, and Pyotr Jurgenson's mistress.
  4. Anna Vasilyevna Pereselentseva, an employee of Jurgenson's publishing company.
  5. Tchaikovsky did not write any more sets of children's songs.