Letter 82

Date 16/28 January 1866
Addressed to Modest Tchaikovsky
Where written Moscow
Language Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 36, л. 1–2)
Publication Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1900), p. 229
П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 76–77
П. И. Чайковский. Письма к близким. Избранное (1955), p. 24–25 (abridged)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 95–96
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Letters to his family. An autobiography (1981), p. 23 (English translation; abridged)

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Brett Langston
16 января 1866 г[ода]

Модя! Благодарю тебя за письмо. Нового рассказать мне Вам решительно нечего; про курс мой напишу Вам только, когда он начнётся; покамест я только должен был делать экзамены желающим в оный поступить. В Русском театре был два раза и неимоверно наслаждался; это пока единственно приятные минуты, проведённые мною здесь. Опера отвратительная, концерт Музык[ального] общ[ества], бывший вчера, тоже был плох, словом, по части музыки куда хуже Петербурга. Раза два был в Артистическом кружке; слышал, как Островский читал там «Пучину», а Писемский «Комика». Большею же частью сижу дома. Ты мне пишешь про дружбу к Толстому и Инсарскому, а ничего не говоришь про ученье; пожалуйста, зубри, чтоб не оставаться в классе. Толе я писать не буду, покамест он мне не напишет. В следующем письме прошу мне отвечать по пунктам:

1) Про Катю. Выздоравливает ли она?
2) Где были в субботу и воскресенье?
3) Про Давыдовых?
4) Про Училище.

Так как мне писать на сей раз решительно нечего, да притом я страшно устал (написал 5 писем), то я и прекращаю, посылая тебе всевозможные лобзания и Анатолию тоже.

П. Чайковский

Ради Бога напиши, отнесли ли вы в Консерваторию мой перевод.

16 January 1866

Modya! Thank you for the letter [1]. You had absolutely nothing new to tell me; I'll only write to you about my course once it's started; for now I just have to do examinations in order to enrol. I've been to the Russian theatre twice and enjoyed it enormously; these were just about the only pleasant moments I've spent here. The opera is abominable, the Musical Society concert I was at yesterday was also poor [2], and in summary, so far as music is concerned, things are even worse here than in Petersburg. I've been to the Artistic Circle twice, and heard Ostrovsky read from "The Abyss" [3], and Pisemsky's "The Comic Actor" [4]. Most of the time I sit at home. You write to me about your friendship with Tolstoy and Insarsky [5], but say nothing about your studies; please don't stay an ox in the classroom. I won't be writing to Tolya for a while, as he hasn't written to me. Could I ask you to respond to the following points in your next letter:

1) How is Katya [6]. Has she recovered?
2) What happened on Saturday and Sunday?
3) How are the Davydovs?
4) How is School?

Since you've written about absolutely nothing this time, and moreover I'm terribly tired (I've written 5 letters) [7], then I shall end by sending you all manner of kisses, and Anatoly too.

P. Tchaikovsky

For God's sake write and tell me if you took my translation to the Conservatory[8].

Notes and References

  1. This letter from Modest Tchaikovsky has not survived.
  2. The eighth Russian Musical Society symphony concert in Moscow on 15/27 January 1866 was conducted by Nikolay Rubinstein, and featured the overture to Étienne-Nicolas Méhul's opera La chasse du jeune Henri; an oratorio from Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah, and romances by Glinka and Schubert (all sung by Aleksandra Aleksandrova-Kochetova); Handel's Concerto Grosso in B-flat major; and Beethoven's Eighth Symphony.
  3. Aleksandr Ostrovsky's play The Abyss was first published January 1866 in the Saint Petersburg Gazette, and would be performed for the first time at the Maly Theatre in Moscow on 8/20 April 1866.
  4. The Comic Actor (Комик) was written in 1851 by Aleksey Pisemsky (1821-1881).
  5. Nikolay Tolstoy and Klavdy Insarsky were Modest Tchaikovsky's friends at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence.
  6. Tchaikovsky's cousin, the youngest daughter of Yelizaveta Shobert, who was suffering from from tuberculosis. She died on 24 March/5 April 1866.
  7. No other letters from this date are known.
  8. Tchaikovsky's translation of François Auguste Gevaert's Handbook for Instrumentation, which would be published by Jurgenson later in 1866.