Max Erdmannsdörfer

Tchaikovsky Research
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Max Erdmannsdörfer (1848-1905)

German conductor, pianist and composer (b. 14 June 1848 in Nuremberg; d. 14 February 1905 in Munich).

Tchaikovsky and Erdmannsdörfer

After studying at the Leipzig Conservatory, Erdmannsdörfer became concertmaster at Sonderhausen. In 1882, he became the principal conductor of the Russian Musical Society concerts in Moscow and professor at the Moscow Conservatory. Tchaikovsky considered him to be "a very skillful, experienced and expert conductor", although he was "inclined to indulge the public's taste of exaggerated nuances" and "offhanded in his attitude to Russian music (except my own)" [1].

In 1874, he married the pianist and composer Pauline Fichtner (b. Oprawill, 1847–1916).

The list of Tchaikovsky's works premiered by Erdmannsdörfer includes the Symphony No. 1 (revised version, 1883), Suite No. 2 (1884), Concert Fantasia (1885), and the symphony Manfred (1886), The composer valued Erdmannsdörfer's arrangement of his Chant sans paroles (No. 3 from Souvenir de Hapsal, Op. 2) so highly that Tchaikovsky conducted it himself in 1892.


In 1884, Tchaikovsky dedicated his Suite No. 3 in G major, Op. 55 (1884) to the conductor, to make amends for missing the premiere of his Suite No. 2, which had taken place earlier that year under Erdmannsdörfer's direction [2].

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

2 letters from Tchaikovsky to Max Erdmannsdörfer have survived, dating from the late 1880s, of which those highlighted in bold have been translated into English on this website:

3 letters from Erdmannsdörfer to the composer, also dating from the late 1880s, are preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.


Notes and References

  1. Letter 2173 to Nadezhda von Meck, 12/24–13/25 December 1882.
  2. See Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 2 (1901), p. 621, and Letter 2493 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 21 May/2 June 1884.