Diaries (February 1886)

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Tchaikovsky's Diaries
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Tchaikovsky's Diary No. 4 covers the period from 1/13 February to 14/26 October 1886, and includes the composer's visits to Tiflis and France during the spring.

In February 1885, exactly one year before this diary begins, he had begun renting a furnished house at Maydanovo, near Klin, which he found convenient for travelling by rail to Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Living with him were his loyal servant Aleksey Sofronov and Aleksey's first wife Pelagea, together with various other servants and guests.

Since 22 September/4 October 1885 Tchaikovsky had been working on his ninth opera, The Enchantress to a libretto by the playwright Ippolit Shpazhinsky. His work on this was punctuated by occasional business visits to Moscow, partly in connection with the forthcoming premiere of his new Manfred symphony, which he had completed on the very same day that he started work on The Enchantress.

Text and Translation

The following diary entries were first published in Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 33-41, edited and with notes by the composer's brother Ippolit. They were also translated into English by Wladimir Lakond in The Diaries of Tchaikovsky (1945), p. 45-54, and into German by Ernst Kuhn and Hans-Joachim Grimm in P. I. Tschaikowsky. Die Tagebücher (1992), p. 35-43.

The new English translation and detailed commentary published here for the first time was prepared by Brett Langston and Alexander Poznansky.

For consistency with previous diaries, entries are given according to Russian [O.S.] dates, which were twelve days behind the Western calendar.


Saturday 1/13 February 1886
1 февраля. — Господи, благослови!

Кончу-ли я эту тетрадь? Один Бог знает. А очень хотелось бы и её кончить, и ещё много других начать. Сколько ещё нужно сделать! Сколько прочесть! Сколько узнать! Умирать ещё ужасно бы не хотелось, хоть иногда мне и кажется, что я ох как давно живу на свете. Погода была хорошая (4 гр[адуса] мор[оза]), но пасмурная. Утром занимался концом 2-го действия, предварительно прогулявшись. Алёша с почты ничего не привёз, а я нетерпеливо жду письма со вложением,—денег совсем нет. После обеда ходил по шоссе вправо, очень далеко, версты за три от Я... [?]. Алёша приехал за мной согласно уговору. После чая и чтения (Шекспир, Ричард II) занимался и кончил 2-е действие. После ужина играл Нерона Антона Руб[инштейна].

1 February. — Oh Lord, give me your blessing!

Shall I ever finish this diary? God alone knows! I should very much like to finish it and start many more. How much there is still to do! How much to read! How much to learn! I so terribly don't want to die yet, although sometimes it seems that I've lived for such a long time on this world. The weather was good (4 degrees of frost) but overcast. Busy in the morning with the end of the second act [1], having previously been for a walk. Alyosha brought no post, and I'm impatiently awaiting a letter with an enclosure—I have no money at all. After dinner I turned right along the main road, walking very far, about three versts from Ya[…] [2]. Alyosha came for me as arranged. After tea and reading (Shakespeare, Richard II) [3], I was busy finishing the 2nd act. After supper played Anton Rubinstein's Néron [4].

Sunday 2/14 February 1886
2 февр[аля]. Воскр[есенье]. Поехал к обедне с Алёшей в город. Как всегда, злился на певчих и на их безобразие. Алёша получил на почте наконец заказное письмо от Н[адежды] Ф[иларетовны]; я было обрадовался и успокоился, но дома оказалось, что это письмо лишь извещение о посылке, сделанной накануне и, однако, не дошедшей. Получил также счёт (!!!) от Юргенсона. Все это до того меня взволновало и расстроило, что уж не до работы было. Прогулял по саду до обеда. После обеда ходил по комнатам, по галерее (школьничал с Волчком) и по саду. За чаем был не в духе. Однако ж потом порядочно позанялся (интродукция к опере). После ужина писал к Юргенсону о «ренте», с тем чтобы отдать это письмо впоследствии. Волнение моё ещё усугублялось нерешительностью: ехать ли завтра в Москву или нет? К счастью, кажется, Алёше (который празднует во вторник свои именины) хочется, чтобы я уехал, и он посоветовал отправиться. 2 February. Sunday. Travelled into town with Alyosha for matins. As always, I was irritated by the choristers and their shabbiness. At last Alyosha received the registered letter from Nadezhda Filaretovna [5] at the post-office; I felt momentarily brighter and relieved, but at home it turned out that that his letter was merely a notification that the money had been sent the previous day, although the money itself had not arrived. I also received an invoice (!!!) from Jurgenson [6]. All this so alarmed and upset me that I wasn't up to working. I strolled around the garden until dinner. After dinner I paced around the rooms and along the gallery (playing schoolboy pranks with Volchok [7]), and then around the garden. During tea I was out of sorts. However, afterwards I worked reasonably well (introduction to the opera). After supper I wrote to Jurgenson about "the annuity", intending to come back to this letter later [8]. My agitation was still worsened by indecisiveness: to go to Moscow tomorrow or not? Fortunately, it seems that Alyosha (who is celebrating his name-day on Tuesday) wanted me to leave, and he persuaded me to go.
Monday 3/15 February 1886
3 февр[аля]. Мороз сильный. Поездка в Москву. На почте получил желанное письмо с переводом. Станция. Портной. Дорогой читал, завтракал, приятно провёл время, хотя тихий поезд. Москва. Дома. В 3 часа музыкальное утро в консерватории с Ант[оном] Руб[инштейном]. Обед у Зверева. Madame Pabst и «бутылка». Винт. Глупость Аренского и его возбуждённое состояние. Именины у Масловых (Анна Ивановна). Юлия Афанасьевна, Тургеневы, Аренский, племянник Юрг[енсона]. Написал мистификацию для Саши Ю[ргенсоне]. 3 February. A sharp frost. Journey to Moscow. At the post-office I received the anticipated letter with the payment. Station. Tailor. On the way I read, had lunch and spent the time pleasantly, although the train was quiet. Moscow. Home. At 3 o'clock a musical matinée at the conservatory with Anton Rubinstein. Dinner at Zverev's [9]. Madame Pabst [10] and "the flask". Vint. Arensky's stupidity [11] and his excitable state. Name-day at the Maslovs (Anna Ivanovna) [12]. Yuliya Afanasyevna [13], the Turgenevs, Arensky and Jurgenson's nephew. Devised a puzzle for Sasha Jurgenson [14].
Tuesday 4/16 February 1886
4 февр[аля]. Банк. Деньги. Любезные чиновники. В магазине Юрг[енсона] выбирал вещи Моцарта для сюиты. Ездил взять пальто у Зверева. Сидел у Анны Серг[еевны]. Алекс[андра] Вас[ильевна]. Mo, дочь Булыгинского. Обедал в Патрикеевском наверху, у Ивана, в 2 часа. Гулял. Дома. Болтал и шалил с Сашей Юргенс[он]. Письмо как бы от Русск[ой) Мысли. Брюс. Отвращение и стыд. Концерт Ант[она] Руб[инштейна]. Клементи, Мошелес, Тальберг и т. д. Ужин от профессоров Антону. Скука. Речи. Долго сидели и пили по уходе большинства. Смехотворные речи Лароша. Пешком с Лар[ошем] и Кашк[ина] до дому. 4 February. The bank. Money. Courteous officials. At Jurgenson's store I chose things by Mozart for a suite [15]. Went to fetch my overcoat from Zverev's. Sat with Anna Sergeyevna [16], Aleksandra Vasilyevna. Mo, Bulyginsky's daughter. Dined upstairs at the Patrikeyev [17] at 2 o'clock attended by Ivan. Walked. Home. Chatter and mischief with Sasha Jurgenson. A letter as if from Russian Thought [18]. Bryus. Disgust and shame. Anton Rubinstein's concert: Clementi, Moscheles, Thalberg, etc. [19] Supper for Anton from the professors. Tedium. Speeches. We sat and drank for a long time after most had left. Humorous speeches from Laroche. Walked home with Laroche and Kashkin.
Wednesday 5/17 February 1886
5 февр[аля]. У Губертов. Беседа. Покупки разных разностей. Завтрак в Патрикеевском solo. Дома. Обед у Третьяковых. Множество гостей. Аристократия. Винт с Перфильевой, Ларошем и братом Ольги Серг[еевны]. Ещё винт с Аладиной, Елен[ой] Андр[еевной], Ольгой Серг[еевной]. С Ларошем в Патрикеевском. 5 February. At the Huberts [20]. Conversation. Purchases of sundry items. Lunch solo at Patrikeyev's. Home. Dinner with the Tretyakovs [21]. Many guests. Aristocracy. Vint with Perfilyevna, Laroche and Olga Sergeyevna's brother [22]. More vint with Aladina, Yelena Andreyevna, Olga Sergeyevna. At Patrikeyev's with Laroche.
Thursday 6/18 February 1886
6 февр[аля]. Разбудил Борис. Чай с супругами Юргенсон. Уехал. Один в вагоне. Дома. Обед. Прогулка за содой в Аптеку. Мальчик, скрывавшийся в салазках. Волчок. Удирал от попрошаек. Чай. Письма. Ужин. Выбирал из Моцарта и колеблюсь. 6 February. Woken by Boris [23]. Tea with the Jurgensons, husband and wife. Departure. Alone in the railway carriage. Home. Dinner. Walked to the pharmacy for some soda. A boy was hiding in a sled. Volchok. Escaped from the beggars. Tea. Letters [24]. Supper. Hesitating over my choice from Mozart.
Friday 7/19 February 1886
7 февр[аля]. Чувствую себя очень усталым. Вот чего со мной уж много лет не было. Целый день прокоптел с невероятным напряжением над несколькими тактами. Это в интродукции ход мне не давался. Ничего особенного. Приходил утром жид-переплётчик. После обеда гулял по шоссе. Упал, поскользнувшись при спуске с горы к реке. Собирал сейчас книги в переплёт. Набралось их порядком. 7 February. Feeling very tired. I haven't been like this for many years. I plugged away all day with incredible effort on a few bars. I couldn't make progress in the introduction. Nothing unusual. In the morning a Jewish bookbinder came. After dinner I took a stroll along the main road. I slipped and fell as I came down the hill towards the river. I've just gathered up the books ready for the binder. There's a tidy stack.
Saturday 8/20 February 1886
8 февр[аля]. Светло, морозно, но весна близка,—на солнце тает и в галерее днём тепло, как в комнате. Пошёл было после чая в школу, но шла обедня (кого-то отпевали), и ученья не было. Писал удачно. После обеда ходил чрез Прасолово (стороной, боясь мальчишек) на реку. Читал за чаем «Генриха IV» Шекспира. Очень нравится;—а ведь я далеко не Шекспирист. Занимался вечером отлично. После ужина все возился с выбором из Моцарта—для сюиты; проигрывал до 11½ часов. Алексей приводит сегодня в порядок мои письма. Карточки. 8 February. Bright, frosty, but spring is near,—the snow was melting in the sunshine, and during the day it was just as warm in the gallery as in the room. After tea I went to the school [25], but a mass was in progress (somebody's funeral service) and there were no lessons. I wrote with success. After dinner I walked to the river via Praslovo (but skirting it to avoid the urchins) [26]. During tea I read Shakespeare's "Henry IV". I like it very much, and yet I'm not a Shakespearist. I worked splendidly in the evening. After supper I fussed over my choice of Mozart for the suite, playing them through until 11.30. Aleksey sorted out all my letters today. Photographs.
Sunday 9/21 February 1886
9 февр[аля]. Воскр[есенье]. Вчера мне Алёша сообщил, что у него опять водяная в мошонке. Это меня ужасно печалит. Когда же он, бедный, выздоровеет? Был (после особенно хорошо проспанной ночи) в церкви и стоял на левом клиросе. Занимался немного. Два действия вполне кончены. После обеда сейчас же ушёл через Клин по шоссе в Московскую сторону. До Клина меня сопровождали псы, в большой суете, ибо «Незнайка» в охоте. Назад приехал с Алёшей, который выехал за мной. Погода была выше всякого описания: светло, на солнце даже подтаивало,—а между тем фон воздуха очень морозный и ветерка никакого. После чая ещё ходил на реку. Саша-просвирник. Дома проигрывал все 2-е действие. Пасьянсы. Грущу и тоскую при мысли о предстоящем долгом путешествии. Стар становлюсь и охоч на сидение у себя, на месте. 9 February. Sunday. Yesterday Alyosha informed me that he has a scrotal hydrocele again. This saddens me terribly. When will the poor fellow ever be well? After a particularly good night's sleep, I attended church and stood to the left of the choir. I did a little work. Two acts are completely finished. Straight after dinner I went for a walk along the main road through Klin in the direction of Moscow. As far as Klin I was accompanied by dogs who were making a big commotion because "Neznyika" is in season [27]. I came back with Alyosha who had driven out for me. The weather was beyond any description: bright, and even thawing a little in the sunshine—although the ambient air was frosty and there was no wind at all. After tea I walked to the river again. Sasha the baker of communion wafers. At home I played through all of the 2nd act. Solitaire. Sadness and anguish at the thought of the forthcoming journey. I'm becoming old and feel the urge to just to stay in my own place.
Monday 10/22 February 1886
10 февр[аля]. Выехал с тяжёлым поездом (до станции пешком шёл; на станции беседовал с начальником станции, продавцом и т. д.). В вагоне имел соседкой болтливую даму,—но избег разговоров. Завтракал с наслаждением. Приехавши, прямо в театр попал, оставив вещи у Юргенсона. Торжество Антона Рубинштейна. Обед в Эрмитаже. Сидел с Танеевым, Кашкиным, Юргенсоном, Маковским и т. д. Был все время не в духе. Вино развеселило. Артисты театра; сплетни и дрязги немцев. Вечер у С[ергея] М[ихайловича]. Винт с Чериновым, Чичаговым и Маковским. Рубинштейн среди дам. Ехал домой с Маковским. 10 February. I left on the freight train (on foot to the station; at the station I conversed with the station master, a vendor, etc.). My neighbour in the railway carriage was a talkative lady, but I avoided conversation. An enjoyable lunch. On arrival I made my way straight to the theatre, leaving my things with Jurgenson. Anton Rubinstein's triumph. Dinner at the Hermitage [28]. I sat with Taneyev, Kashkin, Jurgenson, Makovsky [29], etc. I was out of sorts the whole time. The wine enlivened me. Theatre company artists: the gossiping and squabbling of the Germans. Soirée at Sergey Mikhaylovich's. Vint with Cherinov [30], Chichagov [31] and Makovsky. Rubinstein was surrounded by ladies. I rode home with Makovsky.
Tuesday 11/23 February 1886
11 февр[аля]. Завтрак у Лароша. Сочинение Simon. Вместе у Макса Эрмансд[ёрфера]. Манфред. У Альбрехта. Застали за обедом. Разговоры о вечере 17[-го]. Я в частной опере. Дон-Жуан в ужасном исполнении. Концерт Антона. Я страшно не в духе. Какая-то дама на моем кресле. Ужин у Макса. 11 February. Lunch at Laroche's. Composition by Simon [32]. Together at Max Erdmannsdörfer's [33]. Manfred. To Albrecht's. Caught him having dinner. Discussion about the evening of the 17th [34]. I went to the private opera. Don Giovanni [35] was performed dreadfully. Anton's concert [36]. I was terribly out of sorts. Somehow a lady was in my seat. Supper with Max.
Wednesday 12/24 February 1886
12 февр[аля]. У Танеева, в Консерв[атории]. Завтрак у В. Е. Маковского. Его картины. Его изумительно красивый сын Саша. У Шпажинских. Новое 4[-е] действие. Обед у Пабстов с Антоном. Неоконченный винт. Шум и крик. Авансы Паулины. С Танеевым и Ларошем гулянье по Тверскому бульвару. Ужин с Маней в Патрикеевском. Извощик, знающий Ивана. 12 February. At Taneyev's, to the Conservatory. Lunch at V. Ye. Makovsky's. His pictures. His incredibly handsome son Sasha [37]. To the Shpazhinskys [38]. New 4th act. Dinner for Anton at the Pabsts'. Vint was interrupted. Noise and shouting. Pauline's advances [39]. Strolled along the Tverskoy Boulevard with Taneyev and Laroche. Supper with Manya [40] at Patrikeyev's. The cabman knew Ivan [41].
Thursday 13/25 February 1886
13 февр[аля]. Чай в семье Юргенсонов. Отъезд. Больной косматый толстяк и его противная жена, занявшие все места. Жара невыносимая и в довершение всех бедствий невыносимый В. И. Танеев. После Подсолн[ечной] разговор с ним о литературе. По его мнению Толстой бездарность, но зато какой-то Слепцов гении. Скрытое полное моё бешенство. Дома. Обед. Прогулка. Приставание попрошаек всех возрастов и полов. Старуха и пуд муки. Осип и Саша. Дома. Чай. Дремота. Письма. Ванна. Отвратительная ночь. 13 February. Tea with the Jurgenson family. Departure. An ill, hirsute fat man and his horrible wife took up all the space. Intolerable heat and to cap it all, the intolerable V. I. Taneyev [42]. After Posolnechnaya [43] I talked with him about literature. In his opinion Tolstoy is a nonentity, whereas some Sleptsov [44] is a genius. I hid my utter fury. Home. Dinner. Stroll. Pestered by beggars of all ages and sexes. Old woman and a pud of flour [45]. Osip and Sasha. Home. Tea. Dozing. Letters [46]. Bath. An horrendous night.
Friday 14/26 February 1886
14 февр[аля]. Скорее прерывисто дремал, чем спал. Отчего—не понимаю. В школе. Милый о[тец] Диакон и его застенчивость. Ответы детей. Отличались Гаврила, Игнаша и девочка Матрена. Осип плох. Посылка от Annette. Вышивки. Скатерть от Оли. После обеда ходил по комнате, потом пошёл на станцию телеграфировать Юрг[енсону] о балете. Чувствовал небывалую усталость и вернулся на извощике. Вообще я не по себе. Отвращение к работе полнейшее. Писал Н[адежду] Ф[иларетовну] и Танееву. После ужина читал Вестн[ик] Европы. Всю вторую половину дня я болезненно тосковал. 14 February. More intermittent sleep than wakefulness. I don't understand why. To the school. Dear Father Deacon and his bashfulness. The children's responses. Gavrila, Ignasha and the girl Matryona distinguished themselves. Osip was poor. A parcel from Annette [47]. Embroidery. A tablecloth from Olya [48]. After dinner I paced about the room, then walked to the station to telegraph Jurgenson about the ballet [49]. I felt tiredness as never before and returned by cab. I'm generally not myself. An utter aversion to work. I wrote to Nadezhda Filaretovna and Taneyev [50]. After supper I read the Europe Herald [51]. Intense anguish for the whole second half of the day.
Saturday 15/27 February 1886
15 февр[аля]. Суббота. Спал крепко, но болезненно тяжело. Вообще весь день хандрил, грустил, занимался мало и с трудом (пьеса для Макара). Мороз сильный. Прочтя газеты (Муз[ыкальное] и Нов[ое] Вр[емя]), ходил по комнате. С величайшим усилием по реке гулял. После чая лучше стало. Испытывая тоску одиночества, сидел у Алёши, пока он счёты писал. Немножко занялся. За ужином голова болела и не было аппетита. Теперь лучше. Играл Нерона. Замечательно, что у меня теперь болезненное отвращение к последним работам: Манфреду и опере. Решил ехать завтра ради балета. 15 February. Saturday. I slept soundly, but intensely deeply. In general I felt morose and despondent all day, working little and with difficulty (the piece for Mackar) [52]. Sharp frost. I read the newspapers Musical Times and New Times [53] while pacing around the room. With the greatest of effort I took a stroll along the river. After tea I began to feel better. I experienced the anguish of loneliness, and sat with Alyosha while he was doing the accounts. I did a little work. At supper my head was aching and I had no appetite. Improved. I played Nero. It is remarkable that I now feel such morbid aversion to my latest works: Manfred and the opera. I decided to go tomorrow for the sake of the ballet.
Sunday 16/28 February 1886
16 февр[аля]. Воскр[есенье]. Чудно спал. Уехал с тяжёлым. Великолепный завтрак. Дама с хроническим смехом и офицеры из Воскресенска. Приехал домой. Саша и Елена Серг[еевна]. Чай с ними. Пешком к Альбрехту. У него беседа о концерте. Карточки из Nachlass'а Н. Г. Рубинштейна. Обед solo у Ивана в Патрикеевском. Балет «Светлана». 1-ое представление. В моей ложе столько народа, что кресло взял. Сорохтин. Музыка балета ничего, но сам балет плох, хотя есть эффектные картины. Чай дома с С[офией] И[вановной] и детьми (которые все, а также Люба Третьякова в ложе были). 16 February. Sunday. Slept wonderfully. Travelled on the freight train. Excellent lunch. A lady with chronic laughter and officers from Voskresensk. Arrived home. Sasha and Yelena Sergeyevna [54]. Tea with them. Walked to Albrecht's. Talked to him about the concert. Photographs from the N. G. Rubinstein's estate. Dined solo at Patrikeyev's attended by Ivan. The ballet "Svetlana". 1st performance. My box was so crowded that I sat in the stalls. Sorokhtin [55]. The ballet's music is passable, but the ballet itself is bad, although it does have effective scenes. Tea at home with Sofiya Ivanovna and the children (who were all in the box along with Lyuba Tretyakova [56]).
Monday 17 February/1 March 1886
17 февр[аля]. Пешком к Новичихе. Завтракал у Саврасенко. Прогулка. Консерватория. Заседание. Новый Директор очень симпатичен. С Танеевым по бульвару. У П[ётра] И[вановича]. Письмо к Ю. П. Шпажинской. Обед у С. И. Танеева с Антоном. Мой духовно-музык[альный] вечер. Епископ Пётр и т. д. Неудачная программа и неважное исполнение. У стал ужасно. История Губерта и беседа с Полиной Эрдм[ансдёрфер] о гневе и расстройстве её мужа, все по тому же делу о[б] альбоме, из-за которого, а также из-за взятых с меня за езду денег я сам злился на заседание. Сидение в Патрикееве с Губертами, Зверевым, Ремизовым и проч. 17 February. I walked over to see Novichikha [57]. Lunch at Savrasenko's. A stroll. The Conservatory. Meeting. The new director is very friendly. With Taneyev on the boulevard. At Pyotr Ivanovich's. Letter to Yuliya Petrovna Shpazhinskaya [58]. Dinner with Anton Rubinstein at S. I. Taneyev's. An evening of my church music. Bishop Pyotr, etc. An unsuccessful programme and mediocre execution. I was terribly tired. The Hubert saga and a conversation with Pauline Erdmannsdörfer regarding her husband's anger and frustration, all to do with the same matter of the album; on account of this, and also on account of the money I lost to travel expenses, I felt irritated by the meeting. A gathering in Patrikeyev's with the Huberts, Zverev, Remizov [59] and others.
Tuesday 18 February/2 March 1886
18 февр[аля]. В консерватории. Следствие по делу об альбоме и обиде, нанесённой Эрдмансдёрферу. Комизм Н. Пр. Ситовского. У Шпажинского. Чай. Превосходная новая версия конца 4-го действия. Завтрак у Антона в Дрездене. Баратынская, Евреиновы и т. д. У Эрдмансд[ерфера]. Объяснение. В Консерватории. Сергей Михайлович. История Комиссаржевского. У Анны Мекк. Лежит. Кат[ерина] Вас[ильевна] Пересл[ени]. Маша Штальберг. Обед в Эрмитаже. Бешеные деньги. Дома. Письмо от Модеста о деньгах. Скверное впечатление. Чай. Обиженный Борис. Концерт Антона. Русская музыка. Программа вверх дном. Я и прикащики Юргенсона в 3-ем отделении. Ужин, данный Петерсоном у Лопашова. Великолепие. Белоха. Коньяк с Губертами. 18 February. At the Conservatory. Inquiry into the matter of the album and the insult dealt to Erdmannsdörfer. A comic turn from N. Pr. Sitovsky [60]. At Shpazhinsky's. Tea. Superb new version for the end of the 4th act [61]. Anton's lunch at the Dresden [62]. Baratynskaya, the Yevreynovs [63], etc. Visited Erdmannsdörfer. Explanation. To the Conservatory. Sergey Mikhaylovich. The Komissarzhevsky saga [64]. At Anna Meck's [65]. She was in bed. Katerina Vasilyevna Peresleni [66]. Masha Stahlberg. Dinner at the Hermitage. Outrageous prices. Home. Letter from Modest about money. Wretched impression. Tea. Boris took offence. Anton's concert. Russian music. The programme was all back to front [67]. Jurgenson's minions and I were represented in the 3rd section. Supper given by Peterssen [68] at Lopashov's. The splendour. Belokha [69]. Cognac with the Huberts.
Wednesday 19 February/3 March 1886
19 февр[аля]. Спал очень мало. Борис разбудил. Послал телеграмму С. М. Третьяк[ову] о том, что не буду. Работы Воти Сангурского. У ехал. Попы в вагоне. Хорошенькая мещаночка от Подсолнечной до Клина. Дома. Обед. Ходил по комнате. Спал. Чай. Не в духе. Тоска и колебание по поводу путешествия. Почти до отчаяния. Письма писал. Ходил в кухню. Карты. Ужин. Заказ обедов для гостей. Писал за много дней дневник. 19 February. Slept very little. Woken by Boris. Sent a telegram to S. M. Tretyakov to say that I would not be coming. Votya Sangursky's sketches [70]. Departure. Priests in the railway carriage. From Podsolnechnaya to Klin there was a pretty woman from the bourgeoisie. Home. Dinner. Paced about the room. Slept. Tea. Out of sorts. Anguish and vacillation regarding the journey. Almost to the point of despair. Wrote letters [71]. Went into the kitchen. Cards. Supper. Organised supper for the guests. Wrote in my diary after many days.
Thursday 20 February/4 March 1886
20 февр[аля]. Ветер воет пуще, чем когда-либо; и не поверишь, что весна так близка. Мороз был сильный. После чудесно проведённой ночи я чувствовал себя сегодня веселее и решил, была не была, ехать, как было предположено. Прогулявшись, сочинял Макаровскую пьесу. Алёша привёз письма от Н. Д. Кондр[атьева] из Ниццы и другие. Читал газеты. Вместо обеда были одни блины. И все-таки трудно они мне достались. Сейчас после обеда пошёл, несмотря на лютый ветер, на станцию телеграфировать Ларошy, чтоб не приезжал. Измучился, но зато облегчил работу желудка. Сонливо провёл все время до чая и после чая. Однако ж написал 6 писем и занимался немного. После ужина Нерона играл. Бесцеремонность автора достойна изумления, но не подражания. 20 February. The wind is howling through the trees worse than ever; how can one believe that spring is so near. The frost was sharp. After a splendid night's sleep I felt more cheerful today, and decided, come what may, to go as intended. Strolling, composed Mackar's piece [52]. Alyosha brought letters from N. D. Kondratyev [72] in Nizy, amongst others. I read the newspaper. Some pancakes instead of dinner. Even these were difficult to obtain. Straight after dinner, despite the cruel wind, I walked to the railway station to telegraph Laroche and tell him not to come [73]. I was exhausted, but then my digestion was eased. I was drowsy all the time before and after tea. However, I still wrote six letters and worked a little [74]. After supper I played Nero. The impudence of the author is worthy of astonishment, but not of imitation [4].
Friday 21 February/5 March 1886
21 февр[аля]. Вьюга страшная. Не выходил сегодня вовсе. — Утром окончил рапсодию для Макара. Получил большое письмо от Н[адежды] Ф[иларетовны] о семейных делах. За обедом был всего суп и пирог, и, несмотря на крайнюю воздержанность, я чуть не заболел и невероятно томился от тяжести на желудке. Нет! Нужно ехать в Виши; после чая и нескольких минут тоски сел за переписку рапсодии. Неожиданно приехал милый Н. А. Губерт, вероятно, вследствие письма к Баташе о хандре. Добряк этот Губерт! Дописал первую часть рапсодии. Ужинали, кажется, он был неумерен в пище... Играли в винт. Болтали. Я совершенно выздоровел. Вьюга утихла. Кажется, завтра хорошая погода будет. Уложил Губерта. 21 February. A terrible snowstorm. Did not go out at all today. This morning I finished the rhapsody for Mackar [75]. Received a long letter from Nadezhda Filaretovna about her family affairs [76]. I had only soup and a pie for dinner, but despite my extreme abstemiousness, I almost began to feel ill and was laid low due to the heaviness in my stomach. No! I must go to Vichy [77]; after tea and a few moments of anguish, I sat down to copy out the rhapsody. Quite unexpectedly dear N. A. Hubert turned up, probably as a consequence of my letter to Batasha [78] about melancholia. What a good chap this Hubert is! I wrote out the first part of the rhapsody. We had supper, and apparently he ate immoderately... We played vint. Then we chatted. I made a complete recovery. The snowstorm has died down. I think that the weather will be fine tomorrow. Put Hubert to bed.
Saturday 22 February/6 March 1886
22 февр[аля]. Суббота. Встав, напившись чаю, набеседовавшись с Губертом и пописавши, пошёл с Алёшей в Клин. Аптека. Начало катанья. Повар, одевшийся черкесом. На извощике домой (после неудачных попыток рябчика достать). Завтрак. Тоничка объелся и за-валился спать. Я пошёл опять в Клин. Погода изумительная, чудная, божественная. Возвратившись от глазения на катающихся, пил чай, играл,—а Губерт все спал. С ним поехал в больших санях на встречу гостей. На вокзале. Покупка рябчиков. Поезд. Баташа, Ремизов, Зверев. Дома. Борис Юргенсон. Обед. Винт. Чай. Карточная ссора Баташи с мужем. Развёл всех по спальням. 22 February. Saturday. After rising I drank tea, had a good chat with Hubert, did some writing, and walked to Klin with Alyosha. Pharmacy. Start of the skating. Cook dressed as a Circassian. Took a cab home (after unsuccessful attempts to obtain a hazel-grouse). Lunch. Tonichka [79] ate too much and fell asleep. I went back into Klin. The weather is astonishing, wonderful, heavenly. I returned from watching the skaters, drank tea, and played—but Hubert was still asleep. We went together in a large sled to meet the guests. At the railway station. Purchase of hazel grouse. The train. Batasha, Remizov, Zverev. Home. Boris Jurgenson. Dinner. Vint. Tea. Batasha's quarrel with her husband over cards. Guided everyone to their bedrooms.
Sunday 23 February/7 March 1886
23 февр[аля]. Зверев уехал рано. Пил чай сначала с Борисом; потом, мало-помалу, собрались все. Погода очень тёплая, но снежная. Я с Борисом отправился пешком погулять. Беседовали. Посетили кладбище. На станции. Разговор с поваром. Наши приехали. Однако ж Сафоновы, ради встречи коих мы все собрались, не приехали. Обед, блины; чревоугодничество всех, кроме меня. Винт. Почему у меня очень были расстроены нервы и особенно холодны руки. Проводил их. На вокзале расстроившая меня телеграмма от Модеста. Ужин дома. Читал Олеария. 23 February. Zverev left early. I drank tea with Boris to begin with; then, little by little, everyone assembled. The weather was mild, but snowy. I set off for a walk with Boris. Chatter. We visited the cemetery. At the station. Conversation with the cook. Our people arrived. However, the Safonovs [80], for whose sake the entire company had assembled, did not come. Dinner, pancakes; gluttony shown by all, besides me. Vint. For some reason my nerves were very upset, and in particular my hands were cold. I saw everyone off. At the railway station I was alarmed by a telegram from Modest. Supper at home. Read Olearius [81].
Monday 24 February/8 March 1886
24 февр[аля]. Великий пост. Вставши, прогулялся (прочитал перед тем записку Герке о делах Муз[ыкального] Общ[ества] в Петерб[урге]). Писал письма. Пошёл на встречу Лароша. Приехал. Дома обед и прогулка в Клин за валенками. У Скокова. Знакомые. Домой на извощике. После чая я занимался перепиской пьесы, Маня у себя: писал статью. Ужин. Играли Моцарта. Беседовали до 11 часов. Я очень рад его приезду. 24 February. Lent. I rose and went for a stroll (before that having read Gerke's [82] report about the affairs of the Musical Society in Petersburg). Wrote letters [83]. Went to meet Laroche. He arrived. Dinner at home and a walk to Klin for some felt boots. To Skokov's [84]. Acquaintances. Home by cab. After tea I was occupied with copying the piece; Manya was by himself writing an article. Supper. We played Mozart. Chatted until 11 o'clock. I was very glad that he came.
Tuesday 25 February/9 March 1886
25 февр[аля]. День чудесный, но все ещё морозный. После чая немножко писал (меня стесняла близость Лароша). С ним гуляли, были в Клину. После обеда письма писал. Ездил с Алёшей в Клин. Был у «ефимон» в Дворянской и в Соборе. Чай дома. Занимался. Ужин. Играли с Ларошем Моцарта и беседовали. 25 February. A wonderful day, but still there's a frost. After tea I wrote a little (Laroche's presence caused me some awkwardness). We went for a walk together to Klin. After dinner I wrote letters [85]. Drove over to Klin with Alyosha. "Evening prayers" at the Dvoryanskaya and in the Cathedral. Tea at home. Worked. Supper. Played Mozart with Laroche and chatted.
Wednesday 26 February/10 March 1886
26 февр[аля]. Спал очень нехорошо—сам виноват (во сне Щyровского видел, очень живо, даже слишком). После чая (Ларош уже успел прогуляться) занимался не долго. В 11 часов пошли гулять по шоссе вправо. Светло, ясно, чудно, но холодно. Возвратившись (злился на приставанье мальчиков)—обедали. Ларош ухаживал за Аришей. Лёша в его комнате читал письма и газеты. Он заснул. Я походил, посидел, потом, вооружившись лопатой, работал в саду. Ходил по галерее—тепло, как летом. Алёша возвратился из города. С сжиманием сердца, как все последнее время, говорил с ним,—уж очень уезжать не хочется, и жаль его. Чай. Занятия. Письма. Ужин. Немножко поиграли (Балакирева). Он осовел и в 10 час[ов] спать лёг. Писал Победоносцеву по поводу Орлова и его регентского места. 26 February. I slept not at all well—my own fault (I dreamed of Shchurovsky [86]—it seemed so lifelike, even more so). After tea (Laroche had already managed to get a walk in) I worked briefly. At 11 o'clock we went for a walk to the right along the main road. It was bright, clear and wonderful, but cold. Upon our return (I was irritated by the pestering of the boys) we had dinner. Laroche was making up to Arisha. Lyosha [87] was in his room reading letters and the newspapers. He dozed off. I strolled about, sat down, then armed myself with a shovel and set to work in the garden. I strolled around the gallery—it was as warm as summer. Alyosha returned from town. Every time I speak with him of late I feel a lump in my throat—I really don't want to go away, and I feel sorry for him. Tea. Work. Letters. Supper. We played a little (Balakirev). He fell into a stupor and went to bed at 10 o'clock. I wrote to Pobedonostsev [88] regarding Orlov and his post as director of the choir [89].
Thursday 27 February/11 March 1886
27 февр[аля]. Писал все утро ответ на полученный от Шишкова запрос об Орлове. За обедом в самую приятную минуту явился неожиданно настройщик. Сцены Алексея. Его сестра. Пошли с Ларошем в Клин; оттуда он уехал, а я гулял, был в аптеке, у Скокова менял деньги (разговаривал с знакомым толстяком), прослушал канон Андр[ея] Критского в Соборе и вернулся с извощиком Иваном. Чай. Ларош никуда не годился во весь день. Он в самом деле серьёзно расклеен умственно. Я просидел почти вплоть до ужина у него. Оперы Монтеверде и т. д. Письмо к M[ada]me Кросс. За ужином разговор о покупке имения, который раздражал меня. После ужина вспоминал с Ларошем старину, говорили об Обере и т. д. Он ушёл в 4 ч[аса] и на прощание с бухты-барахты сделал признание, что терпеть не может моей музыки. Зачем это? 27 February. I spent all morning writing a reply to the enquiry from Shishkov [90] about Orlov. During dinner the piano tuner appeared suddenly at the most opportune moment. Aleksey's scenes. His sister. I walked with Laroche to Klin; from there he drove off, but I went for a stroll, called at the pharmacy, changed some money with Skokov (chattering with a tubby acquaintance), listened to Canon Andrey Kritsky at the Cathedral and returned with Ivan the cabman. Tea. Laroche was good for nothing the entire day. As a matter of fact he has a serious mental block. I sat with him right up until supper. Monteverdi's operas [91]. Letter to Madame Kross [92]. Over supper there was talk of buying an estate and that irritated me. After supper I reminisced with Laroche and we spoke about Auber [93], etc. He left at 4 am, and when we parted he confessed to me without rhyme or reason that he cannot bear my music. What was behind this?
Friday 28 February/12 March 1886
28 февр[аля]. Пил чай с Маней. Он уехал. Занимался. После обеда ходил телеграфировать Суворину. За чаем вздумал читать Алексея Толстого, и его Дамаскин и Грешница заставили меня неожиданно пролить много слез. В этом елейном состоянии духа, которое всегда бывает после сильного художественного восторга, вдруг телеграмма от Ситовского, что В[елики] К[нязь] будет. Значит, все планы к черту! Отчаяние, недоумение и опять страх и отвращение к поездке. А тут ещё письмо Модеста, очень расстраивающего свойства, было сегодня,—ох...! Ходил кормить голодающую собаку Новиковой. При сумерках лютая тоска напала на меня. Письма. Успокоился. Ужин. Играл свою 2[ -ю] сюиту и очень рад был, что она совсем не так дурна, как я вообразил себе. 28 February. I drank tea with Manya. He left. I worked. After dinner I went to telegraph Suvorin [94]. While having tea I decided to read Aleksey Tolstoy, and his Damascene and The Sinner unexpectedly made me shed many tears [95]. In this becalmed state of mind, which always sets in after a strong artistic delight, there suddenly came a telegram from Sitovsky, saying that the Grand Duke will be there. That means all my plans have gone to the devil! Despair, uncertainty, and again fear and disgust with regard to this trip [96]. There was also a letter today from Modest of a very alarming nature—oh...! I went to feed Novikova's starving dog. In the twilight I was beset by a fierce anguish. Letters [97]. Calmer. Supper. Played my 2nd suite, and I'm very happy that it's not at all as bad as I'd imagined.

Notes and References

  1. The rough draft of Tchaikovsky's opera The Enchantress, which he had begun on 22 September/4 October 1885.
  2. An indecipherable place name.
  3. The play Richard III by William Shakespeare is believed to have been first performed in London in 1595.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Anton Rubinstein's opera Néron (Nero) was written between 1875 and 1877 to a French libretto by Jules Barbier, although it had received its Russian premiere in an Italian translation in 1884 at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg.
  5. Nadezhda von Meck, the composer's correspondent and benefactress.
  6. Pyotr Jurgenson, the composer's publisher in Moscow.
  7. "Volchok" was the name of one of Tchaikovsky's two pet dogs.
  8. This letter has not been identified among Tchaikovsky's surviving correspondence with Pyotr Jurgenson.
  9. Nikolay Sergeyevich Zverev (1832-1893), pianist and professor at the Moscow Conservatory from 1870 to 1893.
  10. Aleksandra Petrovna Pabst (b. Olga Gelnik), wife of the German pianist Paul Pabst (1854-1897).
  11. Anton Stepanovich Arensky (1861-1906), composer, conductor and pianist, and professor at the Moscow Conservatory.
  12. Anna Ivanovna Maslova (1844-after 1925), sister of Tchaikovsky's schoolfriend Fyodor Maslov.
  13. Yuliya Afanasyevna Yurasova, a cousin of the Maslovs who lived with them in Moscow.
  14. Aleksandr Jurgenson (1869-1946), daughter of the composer's publisher Pyotr Jurgenson.
  15. Tchaikovsky's Suite No. 4, Op. 61, subtitled "Mozartiana", was eventually written the following year, and comprises orchestrations of four short pieces by Mozart.
  16. Anna Sergeyevna Zvereva, sister of Nikolay Zverev.
  17. The Patrikeyev restaurant in central Moscow.
  18. The Moscow journal Russian Thought (Русская мысль), founded in 1880, was one of Russia's most popular magazines.
  19. Tchaikovsky attended the fifth in a series of seven weekly 'historical concerts' given by Anton Rubinstein in Moscow, which included piano works by Muzio Clementi, John Field, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles, Adolph von Henselt, Sigismond Thalberg, Franz Liszt and Franz Schubert. Tchaikovsky wrote to Nadezhda von Meck in Letter 2879 on 6/18 February 1886 that "There was little artistic merit in all this, but the execution was astonishing indeed".
  20. Nikolay Hubert (1840-1888) and his wife Aleksandra (b. Batalina, 1850-1937), good friends of Tchaikovsky's who were both accomplished pianists and had taught at the Moscow Conservatory.
  21. The Russian businessman, politician, art collector and philanthropist Sergey Mikhaylovich Tretyakov (1834-1892), and his second wife Yelena Andreyevna.
  22. Olga Sergeyevna Tchaikovskaya (b. Denisyeva), wife of the composer's brother Nikolay Tchaikovsky.
  23. Tchaikovsky's godson Boris Petrovich Jurgenson (1868-1935), son of the composer's publisher Pyotr Jurgenson and his wife Sofiya.
  24. Tchaikovsky is known to have written at least five letters on this date (Nos. 2879 to 2882a) to Nadezhda von Meck, Vasily Filatov, Praskovya Tchaikovskaya, Modest Tchaikovsky and Oscar Braun.
  25. Tchaikovsky had helped to establish a school in his home village of Maydanovo, and provided them with financial support until his death.
  26. Because of his celebrity status, Tchaikovsky was frequently pestered by local children (and sometimes adults) begging for money.
  27. "Neznayka" (which translates roughly as "Don't know") was one of Tchaikovsky's two pet dogs.
  28. The Hermitage restaurant stood on the corner of Petrovsky Boulevard and Neglinnoy Street on Trubnaya Square. It is currently home to the Moscow School of Modern Drama Theatre.
  29. Vladimir Yegorovich Makovsky (1846-1920), painter, art collector and teacher.
  30. Probably Count Mikhail Petrovich Cherinov (1838-1905), physician and emeritus professor at Moscow University, who was married to the Italian singer Marie van Zandt (1858-1919).
  31. Presumably Dmitry Nikolyaevich Chicagov (1835-1894), a well-known Moscow architect.
  32. Anton Yulyevich Simon (b. Antoine Simon, 1850-1916), French composer, conductor and pianist who moved to Moscow in 1871.
  33. The conductor Max Erdmannsdörfer (1848-1905) was the principal conductor of the Russian Musical Society concerts in Moscow, where he was preparing to conduct the premiere of Tchaikovsky's symphony Manfred on 11/23 March 1886.
  34. Presumably in connection with the concert of Tchaikovsky's choral music scheduled for 17 February/1 March 1886.
  35. The opera Don Giovanni was written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to an Italian libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte, and was premiered in Prague in 1787. In Letter 2195 to Nadezhda von Meck, written on 11/23 January 1883, Tchaikovsky recalled from his childhood that "Don Giovanni was the first opera which served as a spur to my musical feeling and opened up before me a whole hitherto unknown horizon of the highest musical beauty"
  36. The sixth of Anton Rubinstein's historical concerts was entirely devoted to piano pieces by Chopin.
  37. Aleksandr Vladimirovich Makovsky (1869-1924), who at that time was a student at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
  38. The dramatist Ippolit Vasilyevich Shpazhinsky (1848-1917), and his wife Yuliya Petrovna (b. Porokhontseva, ca. 1850-1919). Shpazhinsky had provided Tchaikovsky with the libretto for the opera The Enchantress, based on his own drama of the same (1884).
  39. Pauline Erdmannsdörfer-Fichtner (b. Fichtner, 1847-1916), wife of the conductor Max Erdmannsdörfer.
  40. "Manya" was Tchaikovsky's pet name for his friend Herman Laroche.
  41. Ivan was the name of Tchaikovsky's local cabman in Klin.
  42. Vladimir Ivanovich Taneyev (1840-1921), older brother of Sergey Taneyev, who lived at Klin.
  43. Posolnechnaya railway station is in the town of Solnechnogorsk, around 20 kilometres south east of Klin.
  44. Most probably Vasily Alekseyevich Sleptsov (1836-1878), Russian writer and activist.
  45. The 'pud' was an old Russian measurement of weight, equivalent to 16.38 kilogrammes — note by Ernst Kuhn.
  46. On this date Tchaikovsky is known to have written at least five letters: to Karl Albrecht, Georgy Katuar, Modest Tchaikovsky, Yuliya Shpazhinskaya and Pyotr Jurgenson (nos. 2883 to 2887).
  47. "Annette" was Tchaikovsky's pet-name for his cousin Anna Merkling.
  48. "Olya" was Tchaikovsky's pet-name for his sister-in-law Olga Tchaikovskaya.
  49. The ballet concerned was Svetlana by Tchaikovsky's former pupil Nikolay Klenovsky (1857-1915), whose premiere Tchaikovsky was due to attend in Moscow on 16/28 February 1886. Tchaikovsky's telegram to Pyotr Jurgenson has not survived.
  50. See Letter 2888 to Nadezhda von Meck, but the letter to Sergey Taneyev has not survived. On this date Tchaikovsky also wrote Letter 2889 to Anna Merkling, and Letter 2889 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky.
  51. The Europe Herald (Вестник Европу) was a liberal journal published monthly in Saint Petersburg between 1866 and 1918.
  52. 52.0 52.1 The piano piece Dumka had been commissioned by the Parisian music publisher Félix Mackar.
  53. The New Times (Новое время) was a daily newspaper published in Saint Petersburg between 1868 and 1917. From 1876 its editor was Aleksey Suvorin.
  54. Yelena Sergeyevna Tolstaya (b. Denisenko, 1863-1942), tutor to Pyotr Jurgenson's children, and a niece of Count Lev Tolstoy.
  55. Nikolay Ivanovich Sorokhtin, a contemporary of the composer's brother Anatoly Tchaikovsky at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence, and former state prosecutor at Tula between 1871 and 1875.
  56. Lyubov Pavlovna Tretyakova (1870-1928) was the daughter of Pavel Tretyakov and his wife Vera.
  57. "Novichikha" was Tchaikovsky's pet-name for Nadezhda Vasilyevna Navikova, the owner of the house he was renting at Maydanovo.
  58. See Letter 2891 to Yuliya Shpazhinskaya of this date.
  59. Sergey Mikhailovich Remezov (b. 1854), instructor at the Moscow Conservatory from 1881.
  60. Nikolay Prokofievich Sitovsky (1829-1890), State councillor, Secretary of the Arts Committee at the Moscow Conservatory, and director of the Russian Musical Society.
  61. i.e. of the opera The Enchantress, for which Ippolit Shpazhinsky was providing the libretto.
  62. The Dresden Hotel in Moscow.
  63. The Yevreinov family were cousins of the composer's in Moscow.
  64. Fyodor Petrovich Komissarzhevsky (1832-1905), Russian tenor and singing teacher.
  65. Anna von Meck (b. Davydova, 1864-1942) was Tchaikovsky's niece, who in 1884 had married Nikolay von Meck (1863-1929), the son of the composer's benefactress Nadezhda von Meck.
  66. Yekaterina Vasilyevna Peresleni (1822-1898), older sister of Tchaikovsky's brother-in-law, Lev Davydov.
  67. The last of Anton Rubinstein's historical concerts had a largely Russian programme, consisting of works by Frédéric Chopin, Mikhail Glinka, Mily Balakirev, César Cui, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Anatoly Lyadov, Tchaikovsky, Anton Rubinstein and Nikolay Rubinstein. Tchaikovsky's pieces were the Chant sans paroles (No. 3 from the Souvenir de Hapsal), a waltz (probably the Valse-Scherzo, Op. 7), the Romance in F minor, Op. 5, and the Scherzo à la russe, Op. 1, No. 1. Writing to Nadezhda von Meck three days later in Letter 2896, Tchaikovsky noted that "From my works he played four pieces, incomparably of course, but I confess that his choice could have been more successful and interesting".
  68. Pavel Leontyevich Peterssen (1831-1895), pianist and secretary of the Saint Petersburg branch of the Russian Musical Society.
  69. Tchaikovsky may be referring here either to a variety of white grampus mushrooms, or to the opera singer Anna Porfiryevna Belokha.
  70. Vonifaty (Boniface) or "Votya" Sangursky, a boy from Kamenka and Tchaikovsky's protege. The composer took much interest in his education and sent him to study painting at the Art school in Moscow. Later Vonifaty became a teacher of drawing. Some of his paintings are preserved in the Tchaikovsky House-Museum at Klin.
  71. Tchaikovsky is known to have written at least four letters on this date: to Aleksandra Hubert (No. 2892), Yekaterina Peresleni (No. 2892a), Vasily Safonov (No. 2893) and Modest Tchaikovsky (No. 2894).
  72. Nikolay Dmitriyevich Kondratyev (1832-1887), lawyer and friend of the composer.
  73. This telegram has not survived/
  74. Only Letter 2895 to Anna Merkling is known from this date.
  75. Rhapsody was the original title of the Dumka, Op. 59, commissioned by the French music publisher Félix Mackar.
  76. Nadezhda von Meck's letter dated 15/27 February 1886. Tchaikovsky began his reply immediately, but only completed it five days later (see Letter 2896, 21 February/5 March–25 February/9 March 1886).
  77. The French town famed for the supposed health-giving properties of its spa waters.
  78. "Batasha" was Tchaikovsky's pet-name for Nikolay Hubert's wife, Aleksandra Hubert (née Batalina), to whom the composer had written on 19 February/3 March 1886 (see Letter 2892).
  79. "Tonichka" was Tchaikovsky's pet-name for Nikolay Hubert.
  80. Vasily Ilyich Safonov (1852-1918), pianist, conductor and director of the Moscow Conservatory.
  81. Adam Olearius (b. Ölschläger, 1599-1671), German scholar, mathematician, geographer and librarian, who travelled frequently in Russia.
  82. Avgust Antonovich Gerke (1812-1870), lawyer and former schoolfriend of the composer.
  83. None of Tchaikovsky's letters written on this date have survived.
  84. A merchant from Minsk, who later became mayor of Klin.
  85. Letter 2897 to Praskovya Tchaikovskaya, Letter 2898 to Modest Tchaikovsky, and the conclusion of Letter 2896 to Nadezhda von Meck (begun four days previously) are the only letters known from this date.
  86. Probably not the composer, conductor and music critic Pyotr Shchurovsky (1850-1908), but more likely a past acquaintance.
  87. "Lyosha" was one of Tchaikovsky's pet-names for his servant Aleksey Sofronov.
  88. Konstantin Petrovich Pobedonostsev (1827-1907), the Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church. Tchaikovsky's Letter 2899 to him is the only one extant to any correspondent from this date.
  89. Vasily Sergeyevich Orlov (1856-1907), a former student in Tchaikovsky's harmony classes, who was appointed head of the Moscow Synodal Choir in 1886.
  90. Andrey Nikolayevich Shishkov (d. 1909), manager of the Russian Synod's publishing house. See Tchaikovsky's Letter 2901 of this date.
  91. Only four operas by the Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) could have been known to Tchaikovsky: L'Orfeo (1607), L'Arianna (1608), Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (1640), L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642). The latter, like Anton Rubinstein's Néron which Tchaikovsky had recently been studying, was based on an episode in the life of the Roman emperor Nero.
  92. Presumably the widow of the pianist Gustav Kross (1831-1885), who had died the previous October. Apart from the letter to Andrey Shishkov mentioned above, the only surviving letters written by Tchaikovsky on this day were to his brothers Anatoly and Modest (numbers 2900 and [Letter 2900a|2900a]] respectively.
  93. Daniel-François-Esprit Auber (1782-1871), French composer. In 1868 Tchaikovsky had written new material for a production of Auber's opera Le Domino noir.
  94. Aleksey Sergeyevich Suvorin (1834-1912), journalist, writer, dramatist, and editor-in-chief of the newspaper New Time (Новое время). This telegram has not survived.
  95. The "strong artistic delight" from which the news about the forthcoming concert had torn him was produced by two of Aleksey Tolstoy's longer poems: The Sinner (Грешница, 1857), which describes how a beautiful courtesan, who defies St. John the Evangelist to convert her, is suddenly filled with compunction and repents of her ways; and John of Damascus, or St. John Damascene (Иоанн Дамаскин, 1859), which is based on the Life of the seventh- or eighth-century theologian and composer of hymns still used in the liturgy of the Russian Orthodox church today. Tchaikovsky had already used an extract from Tolstoy's poem for No. 5 of the Seven Romances, Op. 47 (1880): I Bless You, Forests.
  96. These latter outbursts refer to the imminent premiere of the Manfred symphony, which was due to take place in Moscow on 11/23 March, and the presence of Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich heightened Tchaikovsky's apprehension about the work's reception.
  97. Three letters are known from this date: Letter 2902 to Karl Davydov, Letter 2903 to Modest Tchaikovsky, and Letter 2904 to Yuliya Shpazhinskaya.