Letter 241

Date 8/20 October 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. 56–57)
Publication Переписка М. А. Балакирева и П. И. Чайковского (1868-1891) [1912], p. 68–69
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 263
Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 160–161

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Москва. 8 октября 1871 г[ола]

Милый друг!

Надеюсь, что Юргенсон (Осип Иванович) давно уже передал Вам мою партитуру с партиями и клавираусцугом. Последний сделан кое-как, но я полагаю, что для сопровождения хора на спевках достаточен. Очень рад буду, если хор этот у Вас пойдёт; если встретите затруднение в хоре мальчиков, то не найдёте ли возможным заменить их двумя солистками? Я, со своей стороны, не встречаю в том препятствия. Очень жалею, что «Ромео» пойдёт не у Вас; я убеждён, что Направник многое переврёт. Нельзя ли, чтобы Вы или Корсаков на репетиции указали ему темпо, которое я, к сожалению, не метрономизировал? Я бы Вам был за то бесконечно благодарен.

Обнимаю Вас от души.

П. Чайковский

Торопите Бородина кончить его превосходную симфонию, а Кюи при случае поклонитесь и поблагодарите за тёплый отзыв.

Moscow. 8 October 1871

Dear friend!

I hope that Jurgenson (Osip Ivanovich) has long since handed to you my score, together with the parts and the piano reduction [1]. The latter was made rather badly, but I think that it will suffice for accompanying the chorus during rehearsals. I will be very glad if this chorus is performed under your auspices. If the boys' choir presents a difficulty for you, would you not be able to replace it with two female soloists? I for my part would not have any problem with that. I am very sorry that "Romeo" isn't going to be performed by you—I am convinced that Nápravník will mess up a lot of things [2]. Would it not be possible for you or Korsakov to indicate to him, at a rehearsal, its tempo for which I unfortunately failed to give metronomic markings? I would be infinitely grateful to you if you were able to do this.

I embrace you heartily.

P. Tchaikovsky

Do press Borodin to finish his magnificent symphony [3], and when the opportunity arises give Cui my regards and thank him on my behalf for his warm review [4].

Notes and References

  1. The score in question is of the Chorus of Flowers and Insects, which Balakirev wanted to include in one of the Free Music Schools concerts that season. The concert at which it was performed under the baton of Balakirev would take place in Saint Petersburg on 18/30 December 1871.
  2. In his letter to Tchaikovsky of 29 September/11 October 1871, Balakirev explained that the Russian Musical Society was keen to perform the overture-fantasia Romeo and Juliet, and that he did not want to deprive the Society of the opportunity to showcase this work by reserving the first performance in Saint Petersburg for the Free Music School. The first performance of the Romeo and Juliet overture (2nd version) in Saint Petersburg duly took place at an RMS concert conducted by Eduard Nápravník on 5/17 February 1872. Tchaikovsky's negative view of Nápravník's conducting abilities was one he retained throughout the 1870s. He would later revise his opinion significantly — note based on information provided by Aleksandra Orlova in Милий Алексеевич Балакирев. Воспоминания и письма (1962), p. 197.
  3. Borodin's Symphony No. 2 in B minor (the "Bogatyrskaya") was not in fact completed until 1876.
  4. Cui's review of the Romeo and Juliet overture which appeared in the 30 September 1871 [O.S.] issue of the Saint Petersburg Register, and in which Cui had written: "This overture is a remarkable and extraordinarily talented work".