Karl Albrecht

Tchaikovsky Research
(Redirected from Konstantin Karlovich)
Karl Albrecht (1836-1893)

Cellist and teacher (b. 4 October 1836 [N.S.] in Elberfeld, Prussia; d. 14/26 June 1893 in Moscow), known in Russia as Konstantin Karlovich Albrekht (Константин Карлович Альбрехт).

Karl was the son of the German conductor and composer Karl Albrecht (1807–1863), and older brother to Eugen Albrecht (1842–1894). In 1838, the Albrecht family moved from Düsseldorf to Saint Petersburg, where they became naturalised Russian citizens. Karl's father conducted the premiere of Glinka's Ruslan and Lyudmila at the Saint Petersburg Bolshoi Theatre in 1842.

The younger Karl followed in his father's musical footsteps, and became a cellist with the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow in 1854. Here he worked with Nikolay Rubinstein to help found the Moscow branch of the Russian Musical Society in 1860, becoming a teacher in the society's music classes. After the opening of the Moscow Conservatory in 1866, Albrecht was appointed as supervisor and instructor in choral singing and elementary theory, a position he held until 1889. It was at the Conservatory that Tchaikovsky and Albrecht first met as fellow tutors, and the two men remained good friends for the rest of their lives.

In 1878, Albrecht also helped to found the Russian Choral Society in Moscow, and while working at the Conservatory he also produced a Manual of Choral Singing after the Numerical Method of Chevé (Руководство к хоровому пению по цифирной методе Шеве) and Collections of Choral Pieces for Single and Mixed Voices (Сборники хоровых пьес, для однородных и смешанных голосов), to which Tchaikovsky contributed the choruses Spring, Evening, and Blessed is He Who Smiles. Albrecht also compiled and published catalogues of selected works by Beethoven, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, and Glinka.

Tchaikovsky's letters show that he thought highly of Albrecht's musical abilities, and regretted that the latter had chosen not to develop them further.


Two of Tchaikovsky's compositions were dedicated to Karl Albrecht:

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

97 letters from Tchaikovsky to Karl Albrecht have survived, dating from 1869 to 1892, all of which have been translated into English on this website:

27 letters from Albrecht to Tchaikovsky are also known, dating from 1877 to 1893, of which 26 are currently preserved in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin (a4, Nos. 40–66), and one is held by the Russian National Museum of Music in Moscow (Ф-37-I-1112).


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