Letter 41

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date 23 November/5 December 1851
Addressed to Aleksandra Tchaikovskaya and Ilya Tchaikovsky
Where written Saint Petersburg
Language Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 33, л. 59–60)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 37
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 42–43
Notes Postscript to a letter from Nikolay Tchaikovsky dated "23 November 1851"

Text and Translation

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

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Какая приятная эта неделя! праздников куча! Воскресенье был день Ангела Платона Алексеевича, нам было очень весело и только на один день уехали в училище сегодня уже опять дома. У нас так как был большой праздник, то вчера (т. е. накануне) непустили меня потому что у нас надо ходить в церковь. Жду с нетерпением вашего письма, которое ещё не получилось.

Целую Зину, Сашу, Полю, Наст[асью] Васильев[ну], Толю, Модю, Лидию, Наст[асью] Петровну и всех.

Прощайте милые Ангелы целую ваши ручки и прошу вашего благословления. Ваш сын,

П. Чайковский

What a pleasant week this is! Feast-days galore! On Sunday it was Platon Alekseyevich's name-day [1]. We had a lot of fun and only had to go back to the school for one day: today we are again at home [2]. Since we had a big [religious] feast [at the school], yesterday (that is, on the day before) I wasn't allowed out because we had to go to church. I am impatiently awaiting your letter, which still hasn't arrived.

I kiss Zina, Sasha, Polya, Nastasya Vasilyevna [3], Tolya, Modya, Lidiya [4], Nastasya Petrovna [5] and everyone else.

Goodbye, dear Angels; I kiss your hands and ask for your blessing. Your son,

P. Tchaikovsky

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. Although the School of Jurisprudence was a boarding-school, on Sundays and other holidays pupils were allowed to visit their families — in Pyotr's case, the family of Platon Vakar — unless they had obtained low marks or misbehaved otherwise during the week.
  3. The composer's cousin Anastasiya Vasilyevna Popova (1807–1894), the daughter of Ilya Tchaikovsky's older sister Yevdokiya Popova.
  4. The composer's cousin Lidiya Vladimirovna Tchaikovskaya (married name Olkhovskaya; 1836-1892) was the daughter of Ilya Tchaikovsky's elder brother, Vladimir. She lost her mother when she was quite little, in 1842, and was effectively adopted by Ilya and his wife Aleksandra.
  5. Anastasiya Petrovna Petrova (1824–1893) had joined the Tchaikovsky family in Alapayevsk on 24 November/6 December 1849 as a governess, specifically with the task of preparing Pyotr for the School of Jurisprudence in Saint Petersburg. After spending some three years with the Tchaikovskys she worked as a governess in various other families, but returned to her first employer in 1859, when she took charge of the twins, Anatoly and Modest.