Tchaikovsky Research

Berlin is the capital city and one of sixteen states of Germany.

In Tchaikovsky's lifetime it was the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia and (from 1871), of the newly founded German Empire, where it formed part of the province of Brandenburg, until it was constituted a separate city district in 1881.

Tchaikovsky in Berlin

Tchaikovsky visited Berlin on many occasions:

From Until Notes
6/18 July 1861 9/21 July 1861 As part of his first journey outside Russia.
June 1868 June 1868 During a summer holiday Tchaikovsky visited the Tiergarten zoo, and reportedly burst into tears when he saw a boa constrictor devouring a live rabbit that had been placed in its cage [1].
mid/late December 1871 early/mid-January 1872 During his Christmas break.
late December 1875 early January 1876 When he attended a performance of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days at the Berlin Theatre, with Modest Tchaikovsky and Nikolay Konradi.
11/23 January 1876 15/27 January 1876 On his return home from Paris.
4/16 October 1877 7/19 October 1877 Staying at the Hôtel Saint Petersburg, with his brother Anatoly.
2/14 March 1879 7/19 March 1879 Where he heard a string orchestra play the Andante cantabile from his String Quartet No. 1 at the Bilse concert hall.
11/23 November 1879 13/25 November 1879 For a performance of Ambroise Thomas's opera Hamlet.
3/15 March 1880 7/19 March 1880 Stopping on his return to Saint Petersburg.
29 December 1882/10 January 1883 2/14 January 1883 Where he attended a performance of his own Suite No. 1, and Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde.
11/23 May 1883 13/25 May 1883 Attending a performance of Lohengrin, which he considered to be "one of Wagner's best compositions" [2].
7/19 February 1884 8/20 February 1884 En route to Paris, avoiding the premiere of Mazepa in Saint Petersburg.
26 February/9 March 1884 28 February/11 March 1884 Returning from Paris to Kamenka.
3/15 November 1884 7/19 November 1884 During which time he wrote the Elegy for string orchestra, and the first two of the Nine Church Pieces.
17/29 December 1887 19/31 December 1887 Where he met Désirée Artôt-Padilla at a concert on 18/30 December, and called on Karl Davydov the next day.
26 December 1887/7 January 1888 28 December 1887/9 January 1888 Between concert engagements in Leipzig and Hamburg.
11/23 January 1888 11/23 January 1888 Attending a rehearsal for his concert on 27 January/8 February; here he met the composer Richard Strauss.
22 January/3 February 1888 29 January/10 February 1888 To conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in a concert of his own works (see below). During his visit he stayed once again at the Hôtel Saint Petersburg, and met again with Désirée Artôt-Padilla, and dined with fellow composers Hugo Wolf, Emile Sauret and Edvard Grieg.
26 January/7 February 1889 29 January/10 February 1889 Stopping en route from Saint Petersburg to a conducting engagement in Cologne. On the second day of this stay he attended a Bach concert at the Sing-Academie.
9/21 February 1889 16/28 February 1889 To conduct another concert of his own works (see below). He had daily meetings with Désirée Artôt-Padilla, and attended a musical evening in his honour (15/27 February) arranged by Karl Klindworth.
16/28 January 1890 17/29 January 1890 Stopping overnight at a guest-house en route from Saint Petersburg to Florence.
8/20 March 1891 9/21 March 1891 Attending (incognito) a concert of his own works, including The Year 1812 and the Andante cantabile from String Quartet No. 1.
4/16 January 1892 5/17 January 1892 Stopping overnight between conducting engagements in Warsaw and Hamburg.
14/26 December 1892 17/29 December 1892 En route from Saint Petersburg to visit Fanny Dürbach in Montbéliard.
15/27 May 1893 16/28 May 1893 Stopping overnight en route from Saint Petersburg to London.


Tchaikovsky's conducting engagements in Berlin were as follows:

27 January/8 February 1888 A Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra concert which included the overture-fantasia Romeo and Juliet, the Piano Concerto No. 1 (soloist Aleksandr Ziloti), the Introduzione e fuga from his Suite No. 1, the Andante cantabile from his String Quartet No. 1, four songs (soloist Aline Friede), and the overture The Year 1812.
14/26 February 1889 Another Philharmonic Orchestra concert, featuring the Serenade for String Orchestra and Francesca da Rimini.


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Notes and References