Letter 212

Tchaikovsky Research
Date between 20 October/1 November and 23 October/4 November 1870 [1]
Addressed to Mily Balakirev
Where written Moscow
Language Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 11, л. 47–48)
Publication Переписка М. А. Балакирева и П. И. Чайковского (1868-1891) [1912], p. 61–62 ("late October/early November")
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 236–237
Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 156 ("21 or 22 October 1870")

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Вы, должно быть, не получили, мой милый друг, письма, писанного недели 2 тому назад, на которое ответа я не получил, хотя ждал нетерпеливо. Что увертюру до сих пор Вам не посылаю, это меня очень мучает, но я не виноват; Цейнер (наш копиист) всё надувал меня; он очень занят расписыванием на голоса разных вещей для Музыкального общества. Но он дал мне честное слово принести её завтра; само собою разумеется, что, как только будет готово, пришлю. Во всяком случае, это должно быть очень скоро. Боюсь, что будете недовольны, но, пожалуйста, исполняйте во всяком случае. Вы желали, чтоб интродукция была вроде листовского религиозного места из «Фауста». Этого не вышло; я хотел в интродукции выразить одинокую, стремящуюся мысленно к небу душу; удалось ли — не знаю! Конец, быть может, и не вполне отвечает Вашим требованиям, но во всяком случае лучше прежнего. Дай-то Бог, чтобы Вы были довольны. Пишу я вам наскоро, между двумя лекциями. С Антоном ещё не видался. С Николаем поговорю подробно и отпишу на днях. Я сам ничего не понимаю.

Будьте здоровы и передайте нежное приветствие всем вообще, а Корсиньке в особенности.

П. Чайковский

It seems, my dear friend, that you didn't get the letter which I wrote some two weeks ago [2], and to which I received no reply, though I had awaited one so impatiently. The fact that I have not yet sent you the overture distresses me greatly, but I am not to blame. Zeiner (our copyist) has been duping me all the time — he is very busy copying out the parts of various works for the Musical Society. However, he has given me his word of honour that he will bring it tomorrow. It goes without saying that as soon as it is ready, I will send it to you. At any rate this should happen very soon. I am afraid that you may be dissatisfied, but, please, do perform it in any case [3]. You wanted an introduction along the lines of the religious passage from "Faust". This hasn't happened, as I wanted in the introduction to represent the soul alone, mentally striving heavenward. Have I succeeded? — I don't know! Perhaps the ending does not fully correspond to your demands, but in any case it is better than before. May God grant that you are satisfied with it. I am writing to you hastily, in between two lectures. I haven't seen Anton yet. I shall talk the matter over with Nikolay and will write to you about it in a few days' time. I don't understand anything myself [4].

Bless you and give my affectionate greetings to all your lot in general, and to Korsinka in particular.

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. This undated letter could have been written no earlier than 20 October/1 November 1870 (the earliest date on which Tchaikovsky could have received Balakirev's letter written the previous day, to which he refers) and no later than Anton Rubinstein's concert of 23 October/4 November 1870.
  2. See Letter 205 to Balakirev, 6/18 September 1870.
  3. In his letter to Tchaikovsky of 19/31 October 1870, Balakirev complained that Tchaikovsky had not yet sent him the score of the second version of the Romeo and Juliet overture, as he had promised. Balakirev was planning to perform the revised overture at a Free Music School concert during that season, but this did not work out. See Balakirev's letter in Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 155.
  4. In early October 1870 Nikolay Rubinstein had written to Balakirev, explaining that he could not keep his promise and take part in the concerts of the Free Music School, because he was afraid this might harm the Moscow Conservatory. Rubinstein's participation at one of these concerts would have incurred the displeasure of Grand Duchess Yelena Pavlovna (who was ill-disposed towards Balakirev) and possibly led to unfavourable consequences for the Moscow Conservatory, which to a great extent depended on her patronage. In his letter to Tchaikovsky of 19/31 October 1870, Balakirev wrote that he was "shocked" by Nikolay Rubinstein's refusal to take part in his concerts and demanded an explanation. It was in order to obtain such an explanation that Tchaikovsky wanted to speak to both Rubinstein brothers. Nikolay Rubinstein would himself write to Balakirev at the end of October [O.S.], explaining that his refusal was due to circumstances beyond his control — note based on information provided by Aleksandra Orlova in Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 196.