Letter 4749a

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 9/21 August 1892
Addressed to Albert Gutmann
Where written Klin
Language French
Autograph Location Saint Paul (Minnesota, USA): The Schubert Club Museum, Gilman Ordway Manuscript Collection
Publication Tchaikovsky Research Bulletin No. 1 (February 2011), p. 16-17 (with English translation, p. 17)
Чайковский. Новые материалы к творческой биографии (2013), p. 242-243 (with Russian translation, p. 243-245)
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Text and Translation

French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Klin, près 'Moscou
9/21 Août 1892

Très respectés Messieurs!

Vous m'excuserez de Vous répondre en français. J'écris très mal l'allemand et comme je suis en ce moment à la campagne, je n'ai personne ici pour corriger mes fautes d'ortographe.

J'ai l'honneur de répondre à la proposition que Vous me faites l'honneur de faire, — que j'accepte avec plaisir l'invitation de venir à Vienne pour y conduire l'orchestre à un concert consacré à mes œuvres. Malheureusement je ne puis plus disposer de la fin du mois courant ayant promis de le passer à Kieff, ou je suis attendu et où je pars demain. Je ne pourrai donc venir que vers le 20 Septembre. Demain en passant par Moscou je Vous enverrai une dépèche dans laquelle je Vous prierai de fixer tout de suite le jour du concert et des répetitions, car il faut que je sache aussi vite que possible les dâtes justes pour disposer de mon temps. Quant au programme voici ce que je propose:

1) Suite Nº 3
2) Sérènade pour instruments à corde
3) Suite du Ballet Der Nussknacker que je viens de composer.

Chacune de ces œuvres comporte 4 parties (vier Sätze) et je crois que c'est plus que suffisant. Si par hasard Vous teniez à ce que Mr Grünfeld ou Rosenthal exécutent mon concerto (Nº 1] en Si bémol mineur), certainement je n'aurai qu'à m'en réjouir et en ètre on ne peut plus flatté. Alors ce concerto prendrait la place de la Sérénade pour Cordes. Si, par hasard aucun de ces grands artistes ne voulut m'honorer de leur concours, permettez moi de Vous recommander un grand, j'oserai dire, génial pianiste russe Wassil Sapellnikoff qui se trouve justement pas loin de Vienne et qui certes serait heureux de profiter de Votre invitation. (Son adresse est Schloss Itter, Station Hopfgarten, Tyrol, bei Fr[au] Menter).

Si Vous teniez à une ouverture ou Simphonische Dichtung au lieu de la Sérénade, veuillez me le dire, cependant je préferérai que Vous acceptiez mon programme tel que je Vous le propose.

Veuillez adresser Vos lettres ou Vos dépèches per adresse à Mr P. I. Jurgenson à Moscou (c'est le frère de celui de Pétersbourg) qui sera toujours au courant de mes changements d'adresse. Je suis prét à venir pour le 20 Septembre. À Vienne je descend toujours à l'Hotel Goldenes Lamm (Praterstrasse).

Veuillez agréer l'expression de mon profond respect.

P. Tschaïkovsky

Klin near Moscow
9/21 August 1892

Most respected Sirs!

You must excuse me for replying to you in French. My written German is very poor, and as I am at present in the country I have no one here who could correct my spelling mistakes.

I am honoured to say, in response to the proposal which you do me the honour of putting to me, that I gladly accept the invitation to come to Vienna so as to conduct there a concert dedicated to my works [1]. Unfortunately, I cannot dispose any longer of the last days of the current month, having already promised to spend them in Kiev, where I am expected and where I shall be leaving for tomorrow [2]. I can therefore only come to Vienna towards the 20th of September. Tomorrow, when I pass through Moscow, I shall send you a telegram in which I shall ask you to fix immediately the date of the concert and the rehearsals, since it is essential that I know the exact dates as soon as possible so that I can dispose of my time accordingly. As for the programme, this is what I suggest:

1) Suite No. 3
2) Serenade for String Orchestra
3) Suite from the ballet The Nutcracker, which I have just composed.

Each one of these works comprises four sections (vier Sätze), and I think that this is more than sufficient. If by any chance you should wish that Mr Grünfeld [3] or Rosenthal [4] should perform my Concerto (No. 1) in B-flat major]], I would certainly be delighted by this and feel enormously flattered. In that case this concerto would take the place of the Serenade. If by any chance neither of these great artists should wish to do me the honour of participating in my concert, allow me to recommend to you a great Russian pianist—indeed, I'd say a pianist of geniusVasily Sapelnikov, who is at present not far from Vienna and who would most certainly be glad to take up your invitation. (His address is: Itter Castle, Hopfgarten Station, Tyrol, at Frau Menter's.

If you would like an overture or symphonic poem instead of the Serenade, please let me know, although I would prefer you to accept my programme such as I have suggested it.

Would you address your letters or telegrams to Mr P. I. Jurgenson in Moscow (he is the brother of the one in Petersburg [5], who will always be informed of my changes of address. I am prepared to come for the 20th of September. In Vienna I always stay at the Goldenes Lamm Hotel (Praterstrasse).

Please accept this assurance of my profound respect.

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. Albert Gutmann, chairman of the committee organizing the International Exhibition for Music and Drama in Vienna that summer, had sent Tchaikovsky a telegram on 30 July/11 August 1892, asking him to come to Vienna to conduct a concert of his own works. Tchaikovsky was very keen to conquer the Viennese public and especially the critics there, many of whom had hitherto dismissed his music out of anti-Russian prejudice, and this was the main reason why he accepted this offer (see Letter 4754 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 14/26 August 1892). He arrived in Vienna on 6/18 September, but at the first rehearsal three days later he was so dismayed by the cramped conditions of the concert venue that he cancelled his engagement and left the city at once.
  2. Tchaikovsky did not in fact travel to Kiev at all in mid/late August 1892 or at any other point that summer. Instead, on 11/23 August he paid a brief visit to Moscow in order to liaise with the engravers who were preparing the scores of The Nutcracker and Iolanta for publication, returning to Klin immediately afterwards to go through the proofs. His decision to accept the invitation to give a concert in Vienna changed his travel plans for that summer considerably (see Letter 4754 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 14/26 August 1892).
  3. Alfred Grünfeld (1852–1924), Austrian pianist.
  4. Moriz Rosenthal (1862–1946), Polish pianist.
  5. Osip Jurgenson (1829–1910), brother of Pyotr Jurgenson.