Ippolit Tchaikovsky

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Ippolit Tchaikovsky (1843-1927)

Younger brother of the composer (b. 10/22 April 1843 in Votkinsk; d. 1927), born Ippolit Ilyich Chaykovsky (Ипполит Ильич Чайковский).

Ippolit was the fourth child of Ilya Tchaikovsky (1795–1880) and his wife Aleksandra (b. Assier, 1812–1854). He became an officer in the Imperial Russian naval fleet, serving on the frigates First Light (Пересвет) and Dmitry Donsky (Дмитрий Донской), and the corvette Champion (Витязь) on the Black and Baltic Seas, as well as in foreign waters. From 1867 he served in the Russian merchant navy, based initially at Odessa, later at Taganrog, where he was principal of the Naval School.

In June 1869 at Kamenka he married Sofya Nikonova (1843–1920), and the couple had one daughter — Natalya (1876–1970).

Ippolit liked music very much and he would later acquire an orchestrina (similar to the one he and Pyotr had listened to in their childhood) with cylinders that played the following pieces of music by his brother: the Entr'acte and Waltz from Yevgeny Onegin; the Gopak from Mazepa; and the Hymn from Act I of The Maid of Orleans. Ippolit had a difficult and sensitive character, being quick to take offence. Because of the nature of his work as captain of a steamship that sailed along the Black Sea coast from Odessa to Batum, he had few opportunities to see his brothers, and he was very saddened by this. On the other hand, Ippolit and Sofya's house in Taganrog was always open to local musicians, and many of these would besiege him with requests to be introduced to Tchaikovsky during his brother's three brief visits to Taganrog. Ippolit also happened to be in Odessa in January 1893 when his brother was giving a number of concerts there, and he later wrote some interesting memoirs about this [1].

In the latter half of the 1890s Ippolit moved to Saint Petersburg, where he continued to work as a representative of the Russian merchant navy. He retired in 1900 with the rank of Major-General, but accepted the post of director of a private steamship company. Over the following years he was a governor at various schools in Saint Petersburg, including the Peter the Great Seagoing and Ship Mechanics' School (now the Admiral Makarov State Maritime Academy). Around 1915 he moved to Moscow and began to work on the executive board of the Moscow–Ryazan Railway. In 1919 Ippolit moved to Klin, where he was appointed curator of the Tchaikovsky House-Museum, becoming its academic secretary in 1922. He was responsible for the first edition of the composer's diaries: Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923).

Ippolit Tchaikovsky died at Klin in 1927, and was buried at the town's Demyanovo Cemetery.

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

4 letters from Tchaikovsky to his brother Ippolit have survived, dating from 1889 and 1891, and those highlighted in bold are available in English translations on this website:

14 letters from Ippolit Tchaikovsky to the composer, dating from 1880 to 1893, are preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.

Bibliography

Notes and References