Letter 3465a

Date 10/22 January 1888
Addressed to Josef Sittard
Where written Hamburg
Language German
Autograph Location Tübingen (Germany): Private collection
Publication Musiker der Spätromantik. Unbekannte Briefe aus dem Nachlass von Josef und Alfred Sittard (1979), p. 77 (abridged)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XVII (1981), p. 244 (abridged)
Tschaikowsky in Hamburg. Eine Dokumentation (2006), p. 67-68

Text and Translation

German text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
22. Jan[uar] 1888

Hochgeehrter Herr Sittard!

Verzeihen Sie mir, um Gottes wilen, daß ich Sie betrogen habe. Ich konnte wahrhaftig nicht ins Theater gehen, obwohl ich möchte es recht gern thun. Ich mußte den ganzen Tag mit allerlei Sachen beschäftigt sein die mich gehindert haben meine Packette zu machen und ich muß durchaus heute fahren.

Herzlichsten Dank für Ihre Freundlichkeit gegen mich! Ich werde nie vergessen wie Sie für mich gut und liebenswürdig waren. Wollen wir hoffen, daß wir uns noch sehen werden. Grüßen Si Frau Sittard und vergessen mich nich.

Von Leipzig schicke ich Ihnen mein Bild, aber à charge de revanche!!!

Ihr ergebener,

P. Tschaikowsky

Meine Adresse ist
, 37, Leipzigerstraße,
Bote u[nd] Bock

22 January 1888

Highly respected Herr Sittard!

Forgive me, for God's sake, for having deceived you. I really could not come to the theatre, even though I would very much have liked to do so. I had to occupy myself all day long with all kinds of things which have prevented me from packing my bags, and I must absolutely set off today [1].

I thank you most sincerely for your kindness towards me! I shall never forget how good and kind you were to me. Let us hope that we may yet see one another [2]. Give my regards to Mrs Sittard and do not forget me.

I shall send you my photograph from Leipzig, but on condition that you repay me in kind!!!

Yours devotedly,

P. Tchaikovsky

My address is
, 37, Leipzigerstraße,
Bote and Bock

Notes and References

  1. Hamburg on 8/20 January 1888, at which he conducted the Serenade for String Orchestra, the Piano Concerto No. 1 (soloist Vasily Sapelnikov), and the Theme and Variations from the Suite No. 3. Although Sittard had written a rather unfavourable (and prejudiced) review of this concert, in which, despite praising the "thematic, contrapuntal, and harmonic artistry" of the Variations, he had observed how a Russian could never attain the "free spiritual heights" of German music, he did treat Tchaikovsky with great warmth and hospitality. It seems that they had agreed to meet at the city's opera-house to attend a performance of Wagner's Lohengrin. Tchaikovsky, however, had then decided to leave Hamburg that evening and travel to Berlin, the next stop of his European concert tour — see Tschaikowsky in Hamburg. Eine Dokumentation (2006), p. 57–58, 68.
  2. Sittard would in fact call on Tchaikovsky in his hotel room that very same evening in order to say goodbye. See the diary entry for 10/22 January 1888: "A still more unexpected visit of Sittard (I bluffed him—did not go to the theatre)" — translated by Wladimir Lakond in The Diaries of Tchaikovsky (1973), p. 225.