Letter 2013

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 4/16 May 1882
Addressed to Adolph Brodsky
Where written Kamenka
Language Russian
Autograph Location Manchester (England): Royal Northern College of Music, The Library
Publication Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 2 (1901), p. 531–532 (abridged)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XI (1966), p. 112–113
Воспоминания о русском доме (2006), p. 114–115

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Каменка, 4 мая 1882

Дорогой друг
Адольф Давидович!

Весьма и весьма обрадовало меня письмо Ваше, полученное сегодня. Радуюсь несказанно Вашему и моему успеху и разразился бы опять в благодарностях, если б Вы в предыдущем письме Вашем не просили меня от них воздерживаться. Потрудитесь, пожалуйста, передать от меня мою благодарность Рихтеру за двукратное и столь успешное дирижирование концертом. Как мне нравится, что Вы в Лондоне завоевали себе достойное Вашего таланта положение. Желательно, чтобы успехи Ваши шли всё crescendo, и чтобы когда-нибудь Вы возвратились в Россию с громким авторитетным именем и украсили бы им и собою нашу бедную и всё-таки милую Московскую консерваторию. Быть может, и я когда-нибудь, утомлённый кочевой жизнью, возвращусь на старое пепелище и вместе с Вами будем работать для поддержки дела, основанного Ник[олаем] Григ[орьевичем].

Про себя скажу Вам, что не могу достаточно выразить Вам всё удовольствие, испытываемое мною здесь, в деревне, после месяца, проведённого в Москве, где я испытал много ненавистной для меня суеты и много мучительно-тоскливых чувств, причиняемых сознанием невозвратности прошлого. Вы гораздо моложе меня и ещё, вероятно, мало знакомы с этим болезненным чувством. Чем старше становишься, тем живее, сильнее и чаще врывается оно в жизнь и отравляет её. Здесь, да ещё в моём римском уединении, моё нравственное благосостояние сильнее, чем где-либо. Собираюсь писать оперу; надеюсь, что дело пойдёт хорошо; по крайней мере, расположение к писанию есть и, если ничто не помешает, должно быть, хорошо буду работать.

До свидания, голубчик! Дай Вам Бог всякого рода удачи в делах Ваших. Как решён вопрос о Вашей поездке в Москву летом? Будете ли Вы там играть?

Искренно Вас любящий и уважающий,

П. Чайковский

Kamenka, 4 May 1882

Dear friend
Adolph Davidovich!

Your letter, which I received today, has made me very, very happy [1]. I am ineffably glad at your success, and mine, and I would again burst into expressions of gratitude, had you not asked me in your preceding letter to refrain from them [2]. Please be so kind as to convey my gratitude to Richter for his reiterated and so successful conducting of the concerto. How I am pleased that you have earned yourself a status in London which is commensurate with your talent. I wish that your successes keep rising in crescendo, and that some day you return to Russia with an acclaimed and authoritative reputation, with which, as well as with yourself, you can adorn our poor and yet dear Moscow Conservatory. Perhaps I too, worn out by my nomadic life, will some day return to my old home, and you and I can then work together to support the cause launched by Nikolay Grigoryevich.

About myself I must say that I cannot describe to you sufficiently all the pleasure I am experiencing here in the countryside, after a month spent in Moscow, where I went through a great deal of commotion, so loathsome to me, and also had many agonizing and melancholy feelings which were caused by my realizing the irrevocability of the past. You are much younger than I am and you are probably not very familiar yet with that painful feeling. The older one becomes, the more keenly, intensely, and frequently this feeling irrupts into one's life and poisons it. Here, and also in my seclusion in Rome, my moral well-being is sturdier than anywhere else. I am intending to write an opera. I hope that this project will go well—at any rate, I am in a mood for writing, and provided nothing intervenes I should be able to work well.

Until we meet, golubchik! May God grant you every possible success in your work. What has been decided regarding your trip to Moscow this summer? Will you be playing there?[3]

Yours with sincere affection and respect,

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. In his letter to Tchaikovsky from London on 28 April/10 May 1882 Adolph Brodsky reported on his performance of the Violin Concerto at a concert in the St. James's Hall conducted by Hans Richter two days earlier, on 26 April/8 May 1882. "The day before yesterday," Brodsky wrote, "I had a huge success at the Richter concerts. Applause broke out already at the first tutti. After the first movement the audience applauded a very long time. At the very end I was called out twice. He who is familiar with the London public will understand that two curtain calls in London are equivalent to five calls in Moscow. The English don't give more than two curtain calls even to their darlings: [Joseph] Joachim and Clara Schumann. In Richter's opinion, and as it seemed to me too, I played better on this occasion than in Vienna. Everyone whom I have spoken to about your concerto liked it very much. The audience listened with the keenest attention. The original motifs of the final movement were evidently to people's liking... As soon as the reviews appear, I shall forward them to you—I hope they will be better than the Viennese ones". Brodsky's letter has been published in Воспоминания о русском доме (2006), p. 113–114.
  2. In an earlier letter from London on 24 April/6 May 1882 Brodsky had written: "I feel terribly embarrassed by your thanking me so much [in letter 2008]. I do not deserve this in the least. Rather than you thanking me, I should thank God for allowing me to understand and love your music. As far as your concerto is concerned, it is a case of a service in return for a service. For if I am making it popular, it too is making me popular in turn, and here, in London, I have simply had a lot of luck thanks to this concerto. Your name is very well-known here thanks to the Piano Concerto and songs which have been performed here by Bülow and Henschel, and the new Violin Concerto has proved to be a tasty morsel for the local directors (concert entrepreneurs), who are constantly seeking to treat their audiences to something new ... Besides, your concerto gives me the opportunity to demonstrate in the best possible light the 'maximum' of my technical expertise, and apart from a host of musical merits, there is also precisely the fact that it seems far more difficult than it is in reality—that is, it is very rewarding and effective. Therefore, dear Pyotr Ilyich, I hope that your ['thank you'] 'again', 'again', and 'again' in your last letters have exhausted the stock of expressions of gratitude, and that you will not thank me again" This letter of Brodsky's has also been published in Воспоминания о русском доме (2006), p. 112–113.
  3. Brodsky had received an invitation from the Musical Committee of the All-Russian Arts and Industrial Exhibition in Moscow to perform at one of the concerts which were to be held under its auspices that summer. He accepted the invitation, and on 8/20 August 1882, as part of the Exhibition's sixth concert conducted by Ippolit Altani, he would give the first performance in Russia of the Violin Concerto. Tchaikovsky was present, and after the performance of his concerto he was called out onto the podium several times.