Letter 235

Date 29 May/10 June 1871
Addressed to Mily Balakirev
Where written Moscow
Language Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 11, л. 53–55)
Publication Переписка М. А. Балакирева и П. И. Чайковского (1868-1891) [1912], p. 67
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 235
Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 159–160

Text and Translation

Russian text
(original)
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
29 мая 1871 г[ода]. Москва

Добрейший Милий Алексеевич!

Сегодня уезжаю на всё лето в Киевскую губернию к сестре; в Петербурге вряд ли скоро буду, и очень грущу, что так долго Вас не видал и не увижу.

Рубинштейн прошлым летом проездом через Берлин отдал Боте и Боку мою Увертюру в её первоначальном виде, т. е. с интродукцией в E-dur. В начале осени я уже получил корректуру, но так как в это время у меня уже были сделаны известные Вам поправки, то я написал издателю, что не согласен на выход в свет Увертюры, если он не перепечатает её вновь; он согласился на моё требование без всяких затруднений; я переслал ему исправленные места, и теперь партитура вышла в том самом виде, в каком она имеется у Вас.

Очень рад, что Вы берёте на себя труд пересмотреть аранжировку; потрудитесь переслать её к Юргенсону, к[ото]рый отправит и переложение г-жи Пургольд, и превосходную аранжировку на 2 фортепьяно в четыре руки, к[ото]рую недавно сделал Клиндворт. Я бы с удовольствием переделал бы ещё что-нибудь, но, во 1-х, после всех аранжировок и напечатания Увертюры оно было бы излишне, а во 2-х, право, не хватает на это сил. Я теперь всей душой предался сочинению оперы «Опричники», и не в состоянии был бы отвлечь себя от этой работы для произведения, которое я уже привык считать конченным. Прощайте, милый друг; что-то Вы поделываете, какие у Вас планы, что Вы пишете и располагаете ли давать концерты в будущем сезоне? Вот Вам на всякий случай мой адрес: Киевской губернии, Черкасского уезда, в местечко Смелу, а оттуда в Каменку.

П. Чайковский

29 May 1871. Moscow

Today I am leaving for Kiev province to stay with my sister over the whole summer. It's unlikely that I will come to Petersburg soon, and I am very sad that I haven't and won't be seeing you for a long time.

Last summer, during a stopover in Berlin, Rubinstein gave my overture to Bote & Bock in its original shape, that is, with the introduction in E major. By the start of the autumn I had already received the proofs, but since by then I had already made those corrections which you know about, I wrote to the publisher telling him that I did not consent to the overture being issued unless he reprinted it afresh. He agreed to my request without raising any objections. I sent him the corrected passages, and now the score has been published in the same version which you have [1].

I am very glad that you are taking upon yourself the task of going over the arrangement [2]. Would you be so kind as to send it to Jurgenson, who will forward both Miss Purgold's transcription and the magnificent arrangement for two pianos and four hands which was recently made by Klindworth. I would be glad to revise some more things, but, firstly, it wouldn't make any sense now that these arrangements have been made and the overture has been printed; and, secondly, I really do not have the energy to undertake such revisions [3]. I have now committed myself with all my soul to the composition of my opera "The Oprichniks" [4] and I would not be able to divert my attention from this project for the sake of a work which I have already grown used to regarding as finished. Goodbye, dear friend. How are you getting on? What plans do you have? What are you writing? Do you intend to give any concerts during the next season? Just in case, here is my address: Kiev province, Cherkasy district, to the town of Smela, and thence to Kamenka.

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. The full score of the overture (later styled 'overture-fantasia') Romeo and Juliet published by the Berlin firm of Bote & Bock in 1871 was the second version.
  2. In his letter to Tchaikovsky of 19/31 May 1871, Balakirev had written that he would himself go over the piano duet transcription of the Romeo and Juliet overture made by Nadezhda Purgold before it was sent to Tchaikovsky, who wanted to have her arrangement published by Bote & Bock. See Balakirev's letter in Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 159.
  3. In his letter of 19/31 May 1871, Balakirev had expressed his regret that Tchaikovsky (or Nikolay Rubinstein) had been in such a rush to have the Romeo and Juliet overture published, adding that even the new version did not satisfy him completely: "Although the new introduction is much better, I feel strongly that you need to make further revisions, and not just give it up as a bad job and place your hopes on future compositions". See Balakirev's letter in Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 159.
  4. The Oprichniks (plural) was the title of Ivan Lazhechnikov's story on which Tchaikovsky's opera, The Oprichnik (singular), was based.