Aachen

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Aachen (historically Aix-la-Chapelle) is an historic spa city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Wesfalen), Germany. In Tchaikovsky's lifetime it was part of the Rhine Province of the Kingdom of Prussia, and part of the German Empire from 1871.

Tchaikovsky in Aachen

Tchaikovsky stayed in Aachen from 15/27 July to 25 August/6 September 1887 (except for a two-day trip to Paris from 2/14 to 4/16 August). The purpose of his visit was to see his seriously-ill friend Nikolay Kondratyev (who died in the city on 3/15 October), and his sombre mood during this period was reflected in his correspondence: "Aachen is a city devoid of any interest or of any kind of charm. There are no rivers, no gardens, no splendid streets, and few historical sights..." [1]. However, despite the unhappy circumstances of his visit, while at Aachen he managed to complete his Suite No. 4, wrote the rough draft of the Pezzo capriccioso for cello and orchestra, and sketched an idea for a Valse, dated "12 August" [2].

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Notes and References

  1. Letter 3291 to Nadezhda von Meck, 20 July/1 August 1887.
  2. It is unclear whether this was an old style or new style date.