Letter 7

Tchaikovsky Research
Date by 5/17 March 1850 [1]
Addressed to Fanny Dürbach
Where written Alapayevsk
Language French
Autograph Location unknown
Publication Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1900), p. 56
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 10 (French text with Russian translation, p. 10–11)
Из семейных воспоминаний (1995), p. 47–48 (Russian translation).
Notes Manuscript copy in: Klin (Russia): Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve

Text and Translation

Based on a handwritten copy in the Klin House-Museum Archive made by Modest Tchaikovsky, which may contain differences in formatting and content from Tchaikovsky's original letter. Spelling and punctuation errors in the French text have not been indicated.

French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Chère et bonne M[ademois]elle Fanny!

Combien j'étais content, en recevant votre lettre, qui me rejouit chaque fois, parcequ'il n'y a rien de plus agréable que de lire votre lettre. Apresent nous fêtons le carnaval très agréablement. Hier nous avons pris le chocolat et le thé dans la chambre destinée aux arivés et les hôtes étaient Sacha et moi, nous avons reçu les visites.

Quant à mon frère Nicolas, il rejouit beaucoup Papa et Maman. Il apprend très bien et on écrit qu'il fait de si grands progrès dans la musique qu'il a surpassé tous ses camarades.

Et moi aussi, je ne laisse jamais le piano, qui me rejouit beaucoup quand je suis triste.

J'étais à la foire d'Irbite et le soir, que nous arrivâmes de nouveau à Alapaeff nous avons reçu votre lettre. Sacha et Pola vous baisent et Sacha salut à Lise et Nadine.

Votre élève,


Caroline vous salue.

Dear and good Mademoiselle Fanny!

How happy I was when I received your letter, which gladdens me each time, because there is nothing more pleasant than to read your letter. We are now celebrating carnival in a very agreeable fashion. Yesterday we had hot chocolate and tea in the guest-room. Sasha and I were the hosts and received the guests.

As for my brother Nikolay, he is making Papa and Mama very happy. He is learning very well, and it is reported that he has made such great progress in music that he has surpassed all his comrades [2].

I, too, never leave the piano, which cheers me up a lot when I am sad.

I was at the Irbit fair [3] and on the evening that we arrived back at Alapayevsk, we received your letter. Sasha and Polya kiss you, and Sasha sends greetings for Liza and Nadya.

Your pupil,


Caroline [4] sends you her regards.

Notes and References

  1. Dated from the occasion of the Irbit fair, which ran from 27 February/11 March to 5/17 March 1850.
  2. Nikolay Tchaikovsky was at a private boarding-school in Saint Petersburg, where he was being coached for the entrance exams to the Mining College.
  3. Irbit is a small town to the east of the Urals, some 200 km from Yekaterinburg. Throughout the nineteenth century the Irbit fair (held annually in winter) was one of the most important in Russia, attracting tea and fur merchants from Siberia.
  4. Caroline (or in Russian spelling, Karolina) was the nanny in charge of the composer's younger siblings Aleksandra and Ippolit.