Lev Davydov

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Lev Davydov (1837–1896) with his first wife Aleksandra (b. Tchaikovskaya, 1842–1891)

Estate manager and brother-in-law of the composer (b. 1837; d. 1896), born Lev Vasilyevich Davydov (Лев Васильевич Давыдов).

Lev was the sixth son of landowner Vasily Lvovich Davydov (1792–1855) and his wife Aleksandra Ivanovna (b. Potapova, 1802–1895). His father was a participant in the unsuccessful "Decembrist uprising" of 1825 which unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the Russian Emperor Nicholas I.

Lev managed the family's extensive estates at Verbovka and Kamenka (near Kiev). On 6/18 November 1860 he married for the first time to the composer's sister Aleksandra (1842–1891), and they had seven children: Tatyana (1861–1887); Vera (1863–1888); Anna (1864–1942); Natalya (1868–1956); Dmitry (1870–1929); Vladimir (1871–1906); and Yury (1876–1965).

In 1893, two years after Aleksandra's death, Lev married a cousin of his late wife — Yekaterina Nikolayevna Olkhovskaya (1859–1930) — and this union opened a rift with some family members (but not the composer). Lev had a son by his second marriage, also called Lev (b. 1893).

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

37 letters from Tchaikovsky to Lev Davydov have survived, dating from 1866 to 1885, of which those highlighted in bold are now available in English translations on this site:

40 letters from Lev Davydov to the composer, dating from 1877 to 1886, are preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.

Bibliography