Letter 3219a

Date 4/16 April 1887
Addressed to Jacques Dusautoy
Where written Maydanovo
Language French
Autograph Location Tübingen (Germany): Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Universitätsbibliothek
Publication Bisher unbekannte Briefe und musikalische Arbeiten Čajkovskijs (1994), p. 4
Internationales Čajkovskij Symposium, Tübingen 1993. Bericht (1995), p. 21–35

Text and Translation

French text
(original)
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
4/16 Avril 1887
Kline, Maïdanowo

Cher Monsieur et ami!

J'ai été bien ingrat vis à vis de Vous! Combien V[ou]s avez été gentil et plein d'egards pour moi, et combien peu je le merite! Votre lettre est datée le 27 Fevrier et c'est le 16 Avril que [je] prends enfin la plume pour V[ou]s remercier de la peine que V[ou]s V[ou]s ètes donnée pour me décrire Vos impressions de la soirée-audition organisée par Mackar! Que V[ou]s dire pour obtenir Votre pardon? Le fait est que tout ce temps-ci j'etais si accablé par un travail incessants et par toute espèce de soucis et d'affaires que forcément j'ai bien négligé ma correspondence et que j'ai été sans le vouloir en faute vis à vis de bien de pesonnes, dont j'apprécie l'amitié et les bons sentiments.

Il y a encore une raison pour laquelle j'ai tardé à V[ou]s répondre. Je voulais obtenir quelquechose de précis sur la question que V[ou]s posez, notamment celle de savoir s'il y a à faire quelquechose pour V[ou]s aux Conservatoire de Petersbourg ou de Moscou? Eh bien, à mon très grand regret, je ne puis V[ou]s dire rien de précis ni de sûr. V[ou]s avez laissé de très bons souvenirs à Petersbourg, et on serait charmé de V[ou]s y revoir, mais on ne peut pas V[ou]s offrir une position sûre et qui pût V[ou]s convenir. Je crois que si V[ou]s aviez le courage de venir à Petersbourg à Vos risques et périls, V[ou]s finiriez peu a peu à acquerir une belle position. Mais il faut attendre, commencer par ce contenter de quelques leçons, être un peu géné dans les premiers temps etc. etc. Mais, certainement, ce n'est pas facile tout cela! Nous causerons de tout cela à Paris où je compte venir en été. Y serez V[ou]s? Ou bien allez V[ou]s à la campagne? Je saurai par Mackar où V[ou]s trouver. En attendant je V[ou]s serre bien cordialement la main.

Votre tres devou
P. Tschaïkowsky

4/16 April 1887
Klin, Maydanovo

Dear Sir and friend[1]!

I have been very ungrateful towards you! How kind and full of consideration you have been towards me, and how little do I deserve it! Your letter is dated 27 February, yet it is on 16 April that I now finally take up my pen to thank you for the trouble you took in describing to me your impressions of the evening recital organized by Mackar[2]! What can I say to you so as to obtain your pardon? The fact is that all this time I have been so burdened by an incessant amount of work and by all kinds of worries and business matters that I have necessarily had to neglect my correspondence considerably, and, without wishing to, I have been remiss with regard to quite a few people whose friendship and kind feelings I much appreciate [3].

There is another reason, too, why I have been slow to reply to you. I wanted to find out something specific regarding the question you asked—that is, your question as to whether there might be something for you to do at the Petersburg or Moscow Conservatory [4]. Well, to my profound regret, I cannot tell you anything specific or certain. You have left a very good impression in Petersburg [5]}, and people there would be delighted to see you again, but they cannot offer you a reliable position which might suit you. I think that if you had the courage to come to Petersburg at your own risk and peril, you would eventually, little by little, obtain a good post. But it is necessary to wait, to start by contenting oneself with a few lessons, to endure a bit of hardship at first etc. etc. But, certainly, all this is not easy! We shall chat about it all in Paris, where I am intending to come in the summer [6]. Will you be there? Or will you perhaps go to the country? I shall find out from Mackar where you are to be found. In the meanwhile I shake your hand most cordially.

Your most devoted
P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

<references> [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

[6]

  1. 1.0 1.1 In the commentary accompanying the publication of this letter in Drei bisher unbekannte Briefe Čajkovskijs von 1887, 1891 und 1893, sowie sechs weitere Briefe vom 20. August 1893 (1995), p. 29–35, Thomas Kohlhase explains how its unnamed addressee was identified—namely, on the basis of Tchaikovsky's reference to his correspondent's letter of 27 February [1887] [N.S.]. Polina Vaidman, director of the Klin House-Museum archive, was able to track down a letter with this date among the ca. 6,000 letters received by Tchaikovsky which are stored there. In the above-cited publication Professor Kohlhase also includes the text of this letter from Jacques Dusautoy to Tchaikovsky and discusses its contents and tone.
  2. 2.0 2.1 In his letter to Tchaikovsky of 27 February 1887 [N.S.] Dusautoy had described a recital which took place at the Salle Erard in Paris on 23 February 1887 [N.S.]. The recital was organized by Tchaikovsky's French publisher Félix Mackar and featured the following works: the Sérénade mélancolique (in Tchaikovsky's own arrangement for violin and piano; played by the Belgian violinist Martin Pierre Marsick (1848–1924), with Anatoly Brandukov accompanying on the piano); the Nocturne, No. 4 of the Six Pieces, Op. 19, for piano, arranged for solo cello and piano (played by Brandukov, with Marsick accompanying); the Piano Trio (played by Louis Diémer, Brandukov, and Marsick); Nos. 1, 2, 5, and 6 from the Six Romances, Op. 6 (sung by Juliette Conneau); the Polonaise from Yevgeny Onegin in Liszt's transcription for piano; Chant sans paroles, No. 3 from Souvenir de Hapsal, Op. 2; Polka de salon, No. 2 of the Three Pieces, Op. 9; Mazurka, No. 5 of the Twelve Pieces, Op. 40; and Romance, No. 5 of the Six Pieces, Op. 51 (all played by Diémer). Dusautoy noted, in particular, the strong impression which the Piano Trio had produced, and also how None But the Lonely Heart, No. 6 of the Six Romances, Op. 6, and the smaller piano pieces had gone down very well with the audience — note based on Thomas Kohlhase's commentary in Drei bisher unbekannte Briefe Čajkovskijs von 1887, 1891 und 1893, sowie sechs weitere Briefe vom 20. August 1893 (1995), p. 29–35.
  3. 3.0 3.1 In the first months of 1887 Tchaikovsky had been completing the piano reduction of The Enchantress which was due to be published by Jurgenson in April and required a lot of proof-reading. He was also working intensely on the instrumentation of his opera. At the same time, with the premiere of Cherevichki at the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre on 19/31 January 1887, which he himself conducted, Tchaikovsky had embarked on what was in effect a 'second career' as a conductor. Since he conducted two more performances of Cherevichki and a concert of his own works in Saint Petersburg on 5/17 March, these months had also been packed with rehearsals — note based on Thomas Kohlhase's commentary in Drei bisher unbekannte Briefe Čajkovskijs von 1887, 1891 und 1893, sowie sechs weitere Briefe vom 20. August 1893 (1995), p. 29–35.
  4. 4.0 4.1 At the end of his letter of 27 February 1887 [N.S.] Dusautoy had asked: "N'y a t'il rien à faire aux Conservatoires de Pétersbourg ou de Moscou, Direction Rubinstein?", hinting that Tchaikovsky might be able to use his influence to secure a teaching post for him.
  5. 5.0 5.1 It has not been possible to establish when exactly Dusautoy visited Saint Petersburg.
  6. 6.0 6.1 That summer, Tchaikovsky was in Paris for only a few days, from 2/14 to 4/16 August 1887. It is not clear whether he did actually meet Dusautoy on that occasion — note based on Thomas Kohlhase's commentary in Drei bisher unbekannte Briefe Čajkovskijs von 1887, 1891 und 1893, sowie sechs weitere Briefe vom 20. August 1893 (1995), p. 29–35.