Tchaikovsky Research

Paris is the capital and largest city of France, and the centre of its Île-de-France region.

Tchaikovsky visited Paris more frequently than any other city outside Russia, and it was one of his favourite cities.

Tchaikovsky in Paris

The composer's visits were as follows:

From Until Notes
2/14 August 1861 mid/late September 1861 On his first trip to western Europe, travelling as an interpreter and secretary to a friend of his father. "In Paris one cannot help becoming giddy and forgetting oneself", he wrote home. "On the whole, life in Paris is extremely agreeable. In this place you can do anything you like, the only impossible thing being to feel bored. You only have to go out into the boulevards for your spirits immediately to rise" [1].
mid/late June late July/early August 1868 As part of his summer vacation. Here he orchestrated the overture to his new opera The Voyevoda.
late May 1870 early June 1870 Spending three "pleasant" days, taking in "three theatres and many walks" [2].
late December 1871 early January 1872 Spending just one day in Paris, on his way to Nice.
21 July/2 August 1873 early/mid-August 1873 As part of his summer vacation.
3/15 January 1876 10/22 January 1876 Travelling with his brother Modest, he began work on the String Quartet No. 3.
27 July/9 August 1876 29 July/10 August 1876 Staying at the Hôtel de Hollande, before travelling to the first Bayreuth Festival.
1/13 November 1877 3/15 November 1877 Returning to the Hôtel de Hollande, after leaving Clarens in Switzerland.
18/30 December 1878 28 December 1878/9 January 1879 Staying again at the Hôtel de Hollande, he paid frequent visits to the Comédie Française.
6/18 February 1879 28 February/12 March 1879 Staying at the Hôtel Meurice on Rue de Rivoli, he worked on the opera The Maid of Orleans, finishing the sketches completely on 22 February/5 March.
13/25 November 1879 5/17 December 1879 While at the Hôtel Meurice, he completed the sketches of his Piano Concerto No. 2.
28 February/11 March 1880 2/14 March 1880 Meeting his old friend Nikolay Kondratyev.
13/25 March 1881 21 March/2 April 1881 Attending the funeral of Nikolay Rubinstein (14/26 March). "I always valued Nikolay Grigoryevich highly as an artist, but did not maintain (especially recently) an affection for the man. Now it goes without saying that everything is forgotten apart from his good side, which was far greater than his weaknesses" [3].
2/14 January 1883 11/23 May 1883 The main purpose for Tchaikovsky's extended stay at the Hôtel Richepanse was to care for his niece, Tatyana Davydova, who gave birth to an illegitimate child, Georges-Léon, in Paris on 26 April/8 May. He also completed the orchestration of the opera Mazepa, and wrote the Coronation March and cantata Moscow.
9/21 February 1884 29 February/12 March 1884 To attend the christening of Georges-Léon, at the Bicêtre Hospital (12/24 February).
23 November/5 December 1884 5/17 December 1884 Writing five of the Six Romances, Op. 57.
15/27 May 1886 12/24 June 1886 Working on the opera The Enchantress.
4/16 August 1887 4/16 August 1887 Visiting Félix Mackar and Anatoly Brandukov.
12/24 February 1888 7/19 March 1888 To rehearse and conduct three concerts of his own works (see below). He also attended numerous events held in his honour. "In Paris I found many glories, but little money" [4].
8/20 March 1889 28 March/9 April 1889 To attend the 20th Châtelet concert (19/31 March), conducted by Édouard Colonne, which included the Theme and Variations from Suite No. 3.
10/22 March 1891 25 March/6 April 1891 To rehearse and conduct a concert of his own works (see below).
3/15 April 1891 4/16 April 1891 Visiting Paris from Rouen,Tchaikovsky learned of the death of his sister Aleksandra from a Russian newspaper.
9/21 January 1892 19/31 January 1892 Working on the sextet Souvenir de Florence.
5/17 June 1892 11/23 June 1892 Stopping on his way from Berlin to Vichy.
4/16 July 1892 6/18 July 1892 Calling on his return from Vichy to Saint Petersburg.
22 December 1892/3 January 1893 9/21 January 1893 Travelling from Montbéliard to Brussels, and after his return from Brussels stopping in Paris again before travelling on to Odessa.
2/14 June 1893 6/18 June 1893 Returning from England, where he had received an honorary doctorate at Cambridge University.


Tchaikovsky's conducting engagements in Paris were as follows:

16/28 February 1888 At the home of Nicolas and Marie de Benardaky, with members of Édouard Colonne's orchestra. The programme consisted of the 2nd and 3rd movements of the Serenade for String Orchestra, Op. 48; the Nocturne, Op. 19, No. 4 (arranged for cello with orchestra) and Pezzo capriccioso, Op. 62 (cellist: Anatoly Brandukov); the piano pieces Humoresque (No. 2 of the Two Pieces, Op. 10), Chant sans paroles (No. 2 from Souvenir de Hapsal, Op. 2), and Franz Liszt's transcription of the Polonaise from Yevgeny Onegin (pianist: Louis Diémer); the songs It Was in the Early Spring (No. 2 of the Six Romances, Op. 38) and Bitterly and Sweetly (No. 3 of the Six Romances, Op. 6), sung by Marie de Benardaky; The Terrible Moment (No. 6 of the Six Romances, Op. 28), None But the Lonely Heart (No. 6 of the Six Romances, Op. 6), sung by Jean Louis Lassale; Cradle Song (No. 1 of the Six Romances, Op. 16), Why? (No. 3 of the Six Romances, Op. 28), sung by Olga Leibrock; Don Juan's Serenade (No. 1 of the Six Romances, Op. 38) and Why? (No. 5 of the Six Romances, Op. 6), sung by Edouard de Reszke; Does the Day Reign? (No. 6 of the Seven Romances, Op. 47), specially arranged for soprano and orchestra by Tchaikovsky , sung by Marie de Benardaky; and the Andante cantabile from String Quartet No. 1, in an arrangement for cello and string orchestra (soloist Anatoly Brandukov).
21 February/4 March 1888 The 16th Châtelet concert, including the Serenade for String Orchestra, the Andante cantabile and Nocturne (soloist Anatoly Brandukov), the Concert Fantasia (soloist Louis Diémer) and the Theme and Variations from his Suite No. 3.
28 February/11 March 1888 The 18th Châtelet concert, including the Theme and Variations from Suite No. 3, the first movement of the Violin Concerto (soloist Martin Pierre Marsick), Francesca da Rimini, Nocturne (soloist Anatoly Brandukov), and two movements from the Serenade for String Orchestra.
24 March/5 April 1891 The 23rd Châtelet concert, including the Suite No. 3, Piano Concerto No. 2 (soloist Vasily Sapelnikov), Sérénade mélancolique (soloist Johann Wolf), the Andante cantabile from his String Quartet No. 1 (arranged for string orchestra), The Tempest, and the Slavonic March.


External Links

Notes and References

  1. Letter 59 to Ilya Tchaikovsky, 12/24 August 1861.
  2. Letter 195 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 1/13 June 1870.
  3. Letter 1715 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 17/29 March 1880.
  4. Letter 3518 to Pyotr Jurgenson, 8/20 March 1888.