Letter 4168

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 9/21 July 1890
Addressed to Doctor Baske
Where written Frolovskoye
Language German
Autograph Location Berlin (Germany): Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler, Internationale Musikbibliothek, Verband Deutscher Komponisten und Musikwissenschaftler [1]
Publication Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, Jg. 16 (1961), Nr. 2, p. 73 (facsimile, p. 71; addressee not identified)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XV-Б (1977), p. 205–206

Text and Translation

German text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
9 Juli 1890
Kline, Frolowskoye

Sehr geehrter Herr!

Danke herzlich für Ihre freundliche Zeilen. Ich verspreche Ihnen[,] dass ich das Lied von Heine, welches mir höchst gefallen hat, im Musik zu setzen versuchen werde.

Mein Bild, von Konarsky gemacht, ist schon sehr alt und, soviel ich mich erinnere, nicht gelungen. Ich shicke Ihnen einer anderes.

Danke Ihnen noch einmal herzlich. Hoffentlich werde ich das Vergnügen haben Ihre Bekann schaft persönlich zu machen.

P. Tschaikowsky

9 July 1890
Klin, Frolovskoye

Most respected Sir!

I thank you cordially for your friendly lines [2] . I promise you that I shall try to set to music the song by Heine, which has pleased me very much [3] .

The picture of me taken by Konarsky [4] is already very old, and, as far as I can remember, it was not a good one. I am sending you a different one.

I thank you warmly once again. Hopefully I shall have the pleasure of making your personal acquaintance.

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. As pointed out by Erich Hermann Mueller von Asow when presenting this letter in Österreichische Musikzeitschrift, Jg. 16 (1961), Nr. 2, p. 73, the autograph was previously in the possession of Doctor Max Le Blanc (1865–1943), a German physical chemist who taught at Leipzig University. The addressee of this letter, however, was not known at the time of its first publication. The editors of the Soviet edition of Tchaikovsky's correspondence were subsequently able to identify the former as a certain Doctor Baske because in the archives at Klin it was possible to find the letter to which Tchaikovsky is replying here.
  2. In his letter to Tchaikovsky, Doctor Baske wrote that he had greatly enjoyed a recent recital in a German sea resort in which a number of the Russian composer's songs had been performed, adding that unlike Anton Rubinstein's music, Tchaikovsky's spoke to the heart and was like a "revelation". See the information provided by Lyudmila Korabelnikova in Čajkovskij im Dialog mit Zeitgenossen (1995), p. 195.
  3. Doctor Baske had suggested to Tchaikovsky that he might like to consider setting to music Heinrich Heine's poem Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht. Tchaikovsky does not seem to have kept his promise. Only three settings of Heine poems (in Russian translation) by him are known: Why? (No. 5 of the Six Romances, Op. 6 (1869)), Blue Eyes of Spring (No. 2 of the Two Songs (1873)), and I Should Like in a Single Word (No. 1 of the Two Songs (1875)).
  4. Six different photographs of Tchaikovsky were taken by the Moscow photographer Maksim Konarsky: five of them on 1/13 April 1884, and the sixth in the autumn of that year. Reproductions of these are included as nos. 41–46 in the Catalogue of photographs in The Tchaikovsky Handbook. A guide to the man and his music, vol. 1 (2002), p. 490–492.