Tchaikovsky Research

Interlaken is a city and municipal district in the canton of Berne in central Switzerland.

Tchaikovsky in Interlaken

On his doctor's advice, Tchaikovsky spent six weeks at Interlaken during his 1870 summer vacation [1], arriving there on 10/22 July. "Switzerland's nature is delightful, and I have done a great deal of walking through the mountains" [2], he wrote. "Interlaken is situated between two lakes, Thun and Brienz, and is surrounded on all sides by enormous Alpine mountains and glaciers. This sight is so magnificent and astounding that on the first day of my stay I even felt somewhat frightened and oppressed, but little by little I became acclimatised to these wonders of nature, and I'm experiencing a whole range of pleasures from appreciating the beauty of nature. The only minor source of irritation is the countless Englishmen dashing around Switzerland..." [3].

During his time in the city, Tchaikovsky completely revised his overture-fantasia Romeo and Juliet, which had received its first performance earlier in the year.

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Notes and References

  1. See Letter 205 to Mily Balakirev, 6/18 September 1870.
  2. Letter 202 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 12/24 July 1870.
  3. Letter 201 to Ilya Tchaikovsky, 12/24 July 1870.