Letter 3784

Date 5/17 February 1889
Addressed to Willy Burmester
Where written Dresden
Language German
Autograph Location unknown [1]
Publication Fünfzig Jahre Künstlerleben (1926), p. 68
Музыкальное наследство, том 1 (1962), p. 370 (Russian translation)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XV-А (1976), p. 40–41

Text and Translation

German text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
17 Febr[uar 18]89

Mein lieber, guter Freund Willy!

Ich weiß selbst bis jetzt nicht, wann ich nach Hamburg komme. Herr Bernuth hat mir noch keinen bestimmten Antwort gegeben, ich weiss nicht, warum. Schon längst wollte ich Ihnen schreiben, aber erwartete einen Brief von Bernuth, um Ihnen etwas Sicheres zu sagen. Jedenfalls zweifeln Sie nicht, dass ich glüklich wäre, wenn wir könnten an demselben Konzert mitwirken. Von Berlin werde ich Ihnen noch einmal schreiben.

P. Tschaikowsky

17 February 1889

My dear, good friend Willy!

I myself do not yet know when I shall be coming to Hamburg [2]. Herr Bernuth hasn't yet given me a definite reply; I don't know why. I had been intending to write to you for a long time, but I was waiting for a letter from Bernuth so that I could I tell you something certain. In any case, have no doubt that I would be delighted if we could take part in the same concert [3]. I shall write to you again from Berlin [4].

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. At the time of publication in П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XV-А (1976), the autograph was in the private collection of a Dr. Oestrich in Hamburg.
  2. Tchaikovsky is replying here to a letter from Willy Burmester, dated Hamburg, 31 January 1889 [N.S.]. In this letter, which has been published by Thomas Kohlhase in Paris vant bien une messe! Bisher unbekannte Briefe, Notenautographie und andere Čajkovskij-Funde (1998), p. 281, the young violinist informed Tchaikovsky that he had recently performed the Violin Concerto at concerts in Lübeck and Kiel. Moreover, Burmester said that he had read in the newspapers that Tchaikovsky would be coming to Hamburg in March to conduct the Fifth Symphony, and asked the composer if he could let him know the exact date, because he, too, was scheduled to appear in a concert of the Philharmonic Society that month and it might well turn out that it was the same concert as Tchaikovsky's.
  3. Tchaikovsky conducted his Fifth Symphony in Hamburg on 3/15 March 1889, and from entries in his diary we know that he met Willy Burmester and his sister Johanna during his stay in the city. Burmester appeared as a soloist in the second half of the concert, playing Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst's Violin Concerto in F♯ minor and shorter works by Spohr and Wieniawski. See Tschaikowsky in Hamburg. Eine Dokumentation (2006), p. 87.
  4. It is not clear whether Tchaikovsky did write to Burmester from Berlin, the next stop of his tour. In any case, no such letter has come down to us.