Six Romances, Op. 6
Scored for high voice (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5), medium voice (No. 6) or baritone (No. 4), with piano accompaniment.
Movements and Duration
- Do Not Believe, My Friend (Не верь, мой друг)
Moderato assai (C-sharp minor, 63 bars).
- Not a Word, O My Friend (Ни слова, о друг мой)
Andante ma non troppo (E minor, 41 bars).
- Bitterly and Sweetly (И больно, и сладко)
Allegro vivo (A major, 81 bars).
- A Tear Trembles (Слеза дрожит)
Moderato assai (G-flat major, 80 bars).
- Why? (Отчего?)
Moderato (D major, 41 bars).
- None but the Lonely Heart (Нет, только тот, кто знал)
Andante non tanto (D-flat major, 54 bars).
1. Aleksey Tolstoy (1817–1875), from an untitled poem (1856):
Не верь, мой друг, не верь, когда в порыве горя.
Ни слова, о друг мой, ни вздоха...
3. Yevdokiya Rostopchina (1812–1858), from her poem Words for Music (Слова для музыка) (1854):
И больно, и сладко,
4. Aleksey Tolstoy, from an untitled poem (1858):
Слеза дрожит в твоём ревнивом взоре —
Отчего побледнела весной
6. Lev Mey, from his poem Harpist's Song (Песнь Арфиста) (1857) — a translation from the German of Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, in book 4 of the novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1795) by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1748–1832);
Нет, только тот, кто знал
The texts of Bitterly and Sweetly (No. 3) and A Tear Trembles (No. 4) – were shortened by Tchaikovsky, and in the romances Do Not Believe, My Love (No. 1), Bitterly and Sweetly (No. 3), A Tear Trembles (No 4) and Why? (No, 5), the composer made some alterations to the texts.
Until mid/late November 1869, Tchaikovsky was occupied with composition of the overture Romeo and Juliet, amongst his other work. On 15/27 November, he wrote to Aleksandra Davydova: "I have been terribly busy; hurrying to finish my new overture... besides which I have quite a few other jobs to do; as a result my nerves are under considerable strain, and I intend to take some time off, i.e. to do nothing apart from my classes" .
On 18/30 November 1869 in a letter to Modest Tchaikovsky, he expressed his dismay about the delay in staging of his opera Undina, writing: "While my music is being held up, I've started to write some songs to earn a little money" . However, the next week he joked to Ivan Klimenko: "...had dear Dorimedontova not burst in, like some malevolent spirit fulfilling a curse, then one-sixth (of my six romances) would have been completed" .
In early/mid December the composer wrote: '"My idleness (about which I wrote to you in a previous letter  did not last long, and lasted only a short times and last week I wrote six romances, which are going to be printed" .
Some years later Tchaikovsky referred to Nos. 6 and 3 from this opus in his letters: "You know that out of all my romances only two are popular: None but the Lonely Heart and Bitterly and Sweetly .
The romances were first published by Pyotr Jurgenson in March 1870 . Subsequently these romances, along with others, were frequently repeated, in their original keys, transpositions and arrangements (1873, 1876, 1884, etc.). At the end of 1890 they were published by Jurgenson in a collected edition of romances, reviewed by the author .
At the time of this reprinting, Tchaikovsky stipulated that all the songs "ought to be in their original keys. Transpositions may also be published, but the proofs must be thoroughly examined... and checked against my texts of the original romances. Many of the romances in question not only have to be corrected, but also to be amended. I want the new edition to be a completely flawless edition" .
In 1940 the Six Romances were included in volume 44 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by Ivan Shishov and Nikolay Shemanin.
In 1886 Raïssa Boulanger wrote to Tchaikovsky asking for a copy of the orchestrated version of Was I Not a Little Blade of Grass in the Field? (No. 7 of the Seven Romances, Op. 47), as well as to orchestrate for her the romance Bitterly and Sweetly (Op. 6, No. 3). She evidently intended to perform these romances in public. Tchaikovsky replied to Madame Boulanger on 1/13 December 1886 promising that he would fulfil both her requests .
A manuscript with an orchestration of Bitterly and Sweetly is preserved in the personal archive of Raïssa Boulanger's daughter Nadia at the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris . In his letter of 1/13 December 1886 Tchaikovsky wrote that he had commenced the orchestration and would despatch it shortly . As the manuscript in the Bibliothèque nationale is a fair copy by an unidentified hand, it remains doubtful whether the composer himself was the author of this arrangement or if he delegated the work to a student or colleague, but since the address on the back page of the score was written by Tchaikovsky, at the very least he was involved in its transmission to Boulanger . The orchestra employed (2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns and strings) is even smaller than in Tchaikovsky's other extant arrangements of his songs, although it resembles them stylistically . It is possible that the composer took into account Madame Boulanger's remark about the chamber orchestra she would have at her disposal in the musical society La Trompette . The programmes of La Trompette list a performance of Il est doux, il est bon ("en russe")' and N'étais je pas l'herbe dans la prairie on 12 March 1887 [N.S.] with "Madame Mychetskij-Boulanger" .
Each of the Op. 6 romances has its own dedication: Do Not Believe, My Love (No. 1) to Aleksandra Menshikova; Not a Word, O My Friend (No. 2) to Nikolay Kashkin; Bitterly and Sweetly (No. 3) to Aleksandra Aleksandrova-Kochetova; A Tear Trembles (No. 4) to Pyotr Jurgenson; Why? (No. 5) to Ivan Klimenko; None but the Lonely Heart (No. 6) to Anna Khvostova.
Notes and References
- Letter 158 to Aleksandra Davydova, 15/27 November 1869.
- Letter 161 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 18/30 November 1869.
- Letter 162 to Ivan Klimenko, 26 November/8 December 1869.
- "At the moment I'm experiencing a strange aversion to composition, and I know that if this carries on I'll not be a position to compose anything this month" — Letter 160 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 18/30 November 1869.
- Letter 164 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, written between 1/13 and 3/15 December 1869.
- Letter 723 to Nadezhda von Meck, 10/22 January 1878. See also Letter 185 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 26 March/7 April 1870; Letter 4249 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 3/15 November 1890, and the composer's diary entry for 3/15 March 1888 — see (1923), p. 201.
- Passed by the censor on 17/29 December 1869.
- See Letter 4249, 3/15 November 1890, and Letter 4251, 5/17 November 1890, to Pyotr Jurgenson. For this edition Tchaikovsky made some cuts to the texts of Nos. 3 and 4, and changes to the words of Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5.
- Letter 4249 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 3/15 November 1890.
- Letter 3113b to Raïssa Boulanger, 1/13 December 1886.
- Digital copy: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b52500484z.r=Cajkovskij%20bol'no%20i%20sladko
- "Quant à l'instrumentation de: „И больно, и сладко“ je l'ai commencée et sous peu, je V[ou]s l'expédierai". Quoted by Luis Sundkvist in (2012), p. 123.
- See Lucinde Braun, (2014), p. 241-247.
- For further discussion see (2014), p. 244-248, and (2003), p. 196-200.
- See Boulanger's letter from Paris, 4 December 1886 [N.S.], quoted in (2014), p. 241.
- See Inga Mai Groote, Östliche Ouvertüren. Russische Musik in Paris 1870-1913 (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2014), p. 347.