Letter 3898

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 9/21 July 1889
Addressed to Adolph Brodsky
Where written Frolovskoye
Language Russian
Autograph Location Manchester (England): Royal Northern College of Music, The Library
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XV-А (1976), p. 149
Воспоминания о русском доме (2006), p. 130–131

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
9 июля [18]89 г[ода]

Милый друг мой!

Я должен просить у тебя прощения за то, что страшно напутал в деле о приглашении твоего квартета. Сейчас у меня был Сафонов (новый директор консерватории), и из беседы с ним оказывается следующее. Когда в дирекции шёл разговор о приглашении вас, то я сказал, что вы дадите четыре сеанса. Тут же было решено, что на каждый из них будет приглашён один из наших четырёх пианистов. Если теперь одному из них отказать, то произойдёт обида, неприятности, ссоры.

Итак, если это возможно, согласись, ради Бога, играть четыре раза. Так как в протоколе заседания дирекции сказано (вследствие моей ошибки), что дирекция обеспечивает вам по 500 р[ублей] за четыре, а не за три сеанса — то изменить это теперь уже очень трудно. Но так как я нисколько не сомневаюсь, что успех ваш будет громадный, то вы, во всяком случае, получите излишек против гарантированной суммы. Сафонов (очень практический человек) ручается за большой сбор. Итак, ради Бога, не отказывайся и прости, что я напутал. Дни, в которые вы будете играть, уже назначены. Итак,

I) 28 окт[ября] ты играешь в концерте,
II) 1-й сеанс 31 окт[ября]/12 ноября, вторник,
2-й сеанс 3/15 ноября, пятница,
3-й сеанс 7/19 ноября, вторник,
4-й 10/22 ноября, пятница.

Таким образом, всего квартету придётся быть в Москве две недели, а тебе самому несколько больше (одной репетиции для концерта мало, и потому тебе нужно быть на репетиции 26-го, в четверг, утром).

Засим вам остаётся целая неделя для Петербурга. Если хочешь, я напишу, а то ты сам напиши Альбрехту, что вы у него можете играть между 12/24 и 18/30 ноября.

Прости, что неудобочитаемо написал, очень тороплюсь!

Твой П. Чайковский

9 July 1889

My dear friend!

I must beg your forgiveness for having made such an awful mess of the invitation for your quartet [1]. Safonov (the Conservatory's new director) has just been to see me, and this is what emerged from my conversation with him. When the board of directors discussed the possibility of inviting you, I said that you would be giving four performances. It was also then that the decision was taken to invite one of our four pianists to take part in each one of these concerts. If we now have to turn away one of them, then the result will be hurt feelings and unpleasant quarrels [2].

Therefore, if it is possible, please do agree, for God's sake, to play four times. Since in the minutes of the board of directors' meeting it says (due to my mistake) that the board is guaranteeing to each one of you 500 rubles for four performances rather than three, it would be very difficult to alter this now. However, as I have not the least doubt that your success will be tremendous, you will in any case receive a surplus as against the guaranteed sum. Safonov (a very practical-minded person) vouches for the box-office returns being very good. And so, for God's sake, don't refuse and forgive me for having muddled things up. The dates on which you are to play have already been fixed. Thus,

I) On 28 October, you are playing in the concert,
II) the 1st [quartet] performance is on Tuesday, 31 October/12 November,
the 2nd performance is on Friday, 3/15 November,
the 3rd performance is on Tuesday, 7/19 November,
the 4th is on Friday, 10/22 November.

This means that your quartet would have to be in Moscow for just two weeks, though you would have to be there a bit longer (one rehearsal for the concert isn't enough, and so you'll have to attend the rehearsal on the morning of Thursday the 26th).

After that you have a whole week left for Petersburg. If you wish, I can write to Albrecht (or you can write to him yourself) to tell him that you can play there any day between 12/24 and 18/30 November.

Forgive me for having written this in such unreadable fashion—I am in a great hurry!

Yours, P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. Adolph Brodsky had set up his own string quartet in Leipzig a few years earlier (this ensemble was known as the "Leipzig Quartet"). At the time of this letter its grouping included the following players: Brodsky (first violin), Hans Becker (second violin), Ottokar Nováček (viola), and Julius Klengel (cello). The quartet had been invited by the Russian Musical Society to give a number of performances in Moscow during the forthcoming concert season.
  2. As his letter to Tchaikovsky from Leipzig on 6/18 June 1889 shows, Brodsky was assuming that he and his quartet had been invited to play at three chamber music soirées in Moscow, and he accordingly suggested a number of possible dates which he hoped to fit around his own solo appearance in Moscow scheduled for 28 October/9 November, at which he intended to play Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. He also intended to perform with the "Leipzig Quartet" at a chamber music soirée in Saint Petersburg. Brodsky's letter has been published in Воспоминания о русском доме (2006), p. 128.