Russian poet (b. 6/18 December 1819 in Ryazan; d. 18/30 October 1898 in Saint Petersburg), born Yakov Petrovich Polonsky (Яков Петрович Полонский).
After graduating from Moscow University in 1844, he published his first collection of poems in the same year. In 1851 he moved to Saint Petersburg, where he edited the literary journal Russian Word (Русское слово). In later life he worked in the department of the state censor, while maintaining a steady output of poetry.
Tchaikovsky's Settings of Works by Polonsky
The texts of Tchaikovsky's Cantata for the Opening of the Polytechnic Exhibition (1872) and the chorus A Greeting to Anton Rubinstein (1889) were both specially written by Polonsky.
Tchaikovsky set three of Polonsky's poems in his Twelve Romances, Op. 60 (1886):
- No. 7, Song of a Gypsy Girl (Песнь цыганки), from the poem of the same name (1853).
- No. 9, Night: Monologue for Baritone (Ночь: Монолог для баритона), from the poem of the same name (1850).
- No. 10, Beyond the Window, in the Shadows (За окном в тени мелькает), from Polonsky's poem The Summons (Вызов) (1844).
Correspondence with Tchaikovsky
4 letters from the composer to Yakov Polonsky have survived, dating from 1872 to 1889, all of which have been translated into English on this website:
- Letter 265 – 2/14 June 1872, from Kiev
- Letter 346 – 11/23 April or 12/24 April 1874 (?), from Saint Petersburg
- Letter 463 – 4/16 May 1876, from Moscow
- Letter 3950 – 4/16 October 1889, from Moscow
One letter from Polonsky to the composer, dating from 30 September/12 October 1889, is preserved in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin (a4, No. 3649).