Vladimir Davydov

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Vladimir Davydov (1871–1906)
Pictured with the composer in June 1892

Tchaikovsky's nephew (b. 2/14 December 1871 at Kamenka; d. 14/27 December 1906 at Klin), born Vladimir Lvovich Davydov (Владимир Львович Давыдов), and known to his family as Bob (Боб).

Tchaikovsky and Vladimir Davydov

According to Yury Davydov, his older brother Vladimir had been destined for the role of "favourite nephew" almost from the very moment that he came into the world [1]. When Tchaikovsky’s sister Aleksandra gave birth to her second son on 2/14 December 1871, she immediately noticed his resemblance to his uncle. It may well have been this resemblance that preordained Tchaikovsky's love for Vladimir Davydov. All those who were present when the composer first set eyes on his new nephew later said that from the very first moment Tchaikovsky had shown a special love and attention towards this child and kept extolling his virtues, although it is unlikely that they differed greatly from the qualities of any other child of that age. Explaining the origin of the name "Bob", Yury also tells us that it was young Vladimir himself who, unable to pronounce the English "Baby", as his family used to call him, came out with "Bob" instead, and the nickname stuck [2].

In his introduction to the period in Tchaikovsky's life starting from the mid-1880s, when Bob Davydov became the focus of the ageing composer's solicitude and affection, Modest remarked: "Before proceeding to a chronological account of the events of the last period in Pyotr Ilyich's life it remains only for us to note at this point the strengthening of one of his greatest attachments. There were three sons in the family of Aleksandr Ilyinichna Davydova. The second eldest of them, Vladimir, from the first years of his coming into the world was always Pyotr Ilyich's favourite, but until the 1880s this preference was not of a serious character. Pyotr Ilyich would pamper him more than the other members of the family and that was all. But from the time the child began to turn into a young man, his uncle's sympathy for him began to grow, and little by little he came to love the boy as he had loved his own twin brothers in childhood. Despite the difference in ages, he never tired in the company of his favourite, felt anguish at their separation, confided his most intimate thoughts to him, and in the end made him his principal heir, entrusting him with the care of all those whose fate after his death worried him" [3].

The account by Modest is closer to the truth. During Bob's childhood Tchaikovsky delighted in him with the same characteristic sentimentality as marked his raptures over little Yury, although even in the 1870s his particular preference for this nephew was noticeable. "Bobik [...] pleases the eye and the heart. He has now taken passionately to drawing, and Modest gives him a lesson every morning. His gifts are unmistakeable", he wrote to Anatoly in August 1878 [4]. "How happy I was to receive a letter from Bobik", he exclaimed elsewhere. "The lines he inscribed were covered with kisses" [5].

In 1878, Tchaikovsky had made his first musical dedication to Bob, the piano pieces of his Children's Album. "Tell Bobik", he wrote movingly to his brother-in-law on 12/24 December, "that the music has been printed with pictures, that this music was composed by Uncle Petya, and that on it is written: Dedicated to Volodya Davydov. He, silly boy, will not even understand what 'dedicated' means! I will write to Jurgenson asking him to send a copy to Kamenka. "Bobik is a little poet", he declared. "All day long he picks flowers, admiring the flowers, the sun, the birds" [6] "Bobik was, is, and will always be my favourite", Tchaikovsky emphasized in another letter to Anatoly on 7/19 October 1879 [7]. To Nadezhda von Meck he wrote in the same vein: "Volodya (the one to whom I dedicated the children's pieces) is making progress in music and displays remarkable aptitudes for drawing. Indeed, he is a little poet. He does not like the usual games played by boys. All his free time he devotes either to drawing or to music or to flowers, for which he has a passion. He is my favourite. However delightful his younger brother may be, Volodya still occupies the warmest corner of my heart" [8]. In another letter to her, after mentioning Yury, he confessed: "I nourish a particularly strong love for the middle one—Volodya—the poet, musician, passionate lover of flowers, birds, and butterflies. Never in my life have I seen a more gentle child" [9]. With stubborn passion and a degree of wishful thinking, Tchaikovsky continued to stress his nephew's artistic gifts in subsequent letters to Nadezhda von Meck. "My favourite, Volodya, has made great progress in music", he declared proudly on 15/27 April 1880 [10], adding a few weeks later: "My favourite, Volodya, will probably be an artist; he continually reveals signs of a very rich artistic imagination. He does not have any great talent for music particularly, although he makes progress in this as well. Probably he will become either a painter or a poet" [11].

Tchaikovsky's attachment to his nephew grew ever stronger with the passing of the years. "Ah, what an adorable creation of nature; I fall in love with him more and more" he would write to Anatoly on 30 May/11 June 1880 [12]. It was his own beloved nephew Bob who was the main source of pleasure and consolation for Tchaikovsky in Kamenka, as he confided to Modest on 2/14 May 1884: "Bobik plays a large role in my life here. Our friendship is terrific—and for the first time he displays a strong liking towards me. Formerly he only allowed himself to be adored, while now he seems to have begun to value my adoration. And truly I do adore him, and the longer, the more powerfully. What a delightful specimen of humankind he is! He continually stops by to chat with me, but at the same time respects my working hours, that is, when in the morning I am working, he comes only for a minute [...] Bobik, my suite and [studying] the English language constitute the three adornments and attractive forces of Kamenka" [13] Bob was now thirteen. The intensification of Tchaikovsky's feelings for his nephew is the second striking feature of the Kamenka diary. Scarcely a day passed when Tchaikovsky failed to jot down some adoring remark about the boy's charm in his diary. Here are some examples:

  • 24 April/6 May — "All day Bob was a sight to behold; how incomparably sweet he looks in his little white suit".
  • 26 April/8 May — "Bob walked around the garden with me and then he dropped in to see me. Ah, what a delight this Bob is!"
  • 18/30 May — "Afterwards sat on the roof with Bob (where I would only venture for the sake of this angel!) [...]After supper I played, at Bob's request, a special game—secret—a most silly game"
  • 19/31 May — "Walked to the cliffs with (golubchik) Bob, where we met up with a boating party, and then I returned home with him. Bob and I called in at the green house and sat with [a neighbour]. I played Bob some children's songs […] I was at the piano. Bob was inexpressibly fascinated that I could play quadrilles on the themes he proposed"
  • 22 May/3 June — "Bob came to see me before lunch and I played him my songs [...]. I was going to work after tea, but Bob distracted me with his stilts [...] I went out a few times, looking for Bob. As soon as I stop working or walking (and that is also work for me), I start to long for Bob and to miss him. I love him so terribly".
  • 31 May/12 June — "For about two hours after lunch I was inseparable from my wonderful, incomparable Bob; at first he lounged about on the balcony, and on a bench, languished enchantingly and prattled on about my works [...]. Then he sat in my room and made me play".
  • 2/14 June — "After supper sat with Bob in study and chatted about school matters".
  • 3/15 June — "It's a strange thing, but I desperately don't want to leave this place. I think that it is all to do with Bob" [14] .

These passages, which are but a few of the many that fill the diary, show Tchaikovsky going far out of his way to ingratiate himself with his young nephew. For all the diversity of content and tone in the entries, the emotion permeating them clearly exceeded the common attachment of a middle-aged man for a teenager. Rather, it resembled the feelings of a lover: already it was a source of anguish and longing, already it compelled the respected composer to lapse into childishness, already it absorbed no small portion of his time and energy. Even when Bob had barely entered puberty, he was already eliciting in his uncle sensations of which the erotic component can scarcely be doubted and which were increasingly to dominate Tchaikovsky's emotional life in the years to come.

While Bob was studying in the School of Jurisprudence in Saint Petersburg Tchaikovsky always found time to see him during his short visits there. In the summer of 1890, Bob arrived for a brief stay at his uncle's house in Frolovskoye. "Today I saw Bob in a dream, and as a result of this dream I have an insuperable desire to see him", Tchaikovsky had written to Modest a few weeks before his beloved nephew's visit [15]. Bob stayed for just three days, which was something of a disappointment for Tchaikovsky, although he tried not to show it when describing Bob's visit to Modest afterwards. "It was extremely pleasant and we were favoured with good weather", he wrote on 12/24 June. "We read together; it turns out that Bob adores reading books that he knows and likes to someone else, if the other person does not know them [...] We went walking together every day, and on the last day of his stay we went to the distant state forest, where Aleksey brought us tea in the carriage. Afterwards I learned in a letter from Miss Eastwood [the Davydov children's English governess] that Bob could easily have stayed with me some three days more, whereas he had assured me that he couldn't. From which I conclude that his visit to me was a sacrifice, though not a burdensome one. I only take note of this fact, but in no way feel offended, for I know by my own experience that one can love a person but not especially love to spend more than a certain amount of time with that person" [16]. To Bob himself he wrote on 5/17 June, with an attempt at humour: "The day of your departure was sad for me [...] Were you an interesting and intelligent boy, one might have killed time somehow; but having taken into consideration your dreadful denseness and silliness, I am filled with horror at what I would have experienced in the course of three [more] days. A telegram came from Mitya, from which I see that either you were confused or he was—but the point is that because of this muddle you left two days earlier than you might have" [17].

This passage, with its blend of passion, didacticism, ironic self-awareness, and banter, is characteristic of Tchaikovsky's correspondence with Bob. The mature composer was undergoing a hard schooling. He was dealing with an inexperienced young man, and he could not impose his company on his nephew or make too much of his emotional dependence on him. There was much that Tchaikovsky had to put up with and much that he had to try to ignore. Bob had his own friends and often preferred to spend his time with them instead.

In 1891 in Paris Tchaikovsky learn from the Russian newspaper by accident that his sister Aleksandra passed away. He thought at once of cancelling of his forthcoming American tour, but then realized that he could not, having already received a large sum of money in advance, which would then have to be returned. He wrote to Modest on 4/16 April: "I suffer very much emotionally. I am terribly afraid for Bob, although I know from experience that at that age such sorrows are borne with relative ease" [18]. But even Tchaikovsky, in the end, bore with relative ease the ordeal of his sister's death. Worry about Bob and the upcoming American tour seem to have outweighed his own feelings of grief. The circumstances of the last years of Aleksandra's life, her morphine addiction and alcoholism, had substantially distanced brother and sister.

Tchaikovsky's beloved nephew, then aged nineteen, seems to have reacted to his mother's death with composure. "The plan to hide Mama's death from you, as I had expected, proved unworkable", Bob wrote to his uncle from Saint Petersburg on 9/21 April. "Besides, what's the point of hiding anything—you would have found out sooner or later. Yes, as you write, at my age grief is borne easily—if it really is my age which is to account for this, and not my particular character. Still, I had assumed that such a terrible event would have a quite different effect on me, and I was surprised when I saw that I had not fallen ill or something of the sort. I suppose that's how I am by nature, though Papa, too, is putting up a good show and isn't succumbing to despair" [19].

While in United States composer had written quite a few letters to Bob describing in details his experience with American public. After arriving in Hamburg on 17/29 May, on his way back from America Tchaikovsky proceeded from there to Berlin and finally to Saint Petersburg. He had missed Bob greatly and anticipating their reunion felt a particular surge of love for him. Tchaikovsky spent a week in the capital in the company of his nephew and Modest and then returned home to Frolovskoye.

In order to fill the void that Nadezhda von Meck's disappearance from his life had left him with, Tchaikovsky needed someone else to whom he could confide his feelings and creative plans, as well as share his impressions of musical events and trips abroad. Modest had by this time started to devote himself in earnest to the theatre and writing plays. Besides, Tchaikovsky had grown used to him over the years. Modest was too predictable in his letters. The other twin, Anatoly, had been absorbed by career interests and by family life after his marriage, and he was becoming increasingly estranged from his elder brother. The ageing composer felt the need for a close human relationship.

Tchaikovsky in 1891 has changed the style of his correspondence with Bob and began sending him detailed letters, as he had done to Modest and Anatoly in the past, at times forgetting that his twenty-year-old nephew was too young to be able to understand his uncle's emotional needs. Throughout this whole year Tchaikovsky was growing more and more obsessed with Bob. Never before had his desire for Bob's constant presence, his desire to caress and indulge him, been so pronounced as during these months. In his letters to him he continued to shower him with love, though at times Tchaikovsky, probably for pedagogical reasons, seems to have adopted a more restrained tone. In March, writing from Berlin on his way to Paris, he had told Bob of the "terrible, inexpressible, maddeningly agonizing homesickness" that had come upon him as soon as he found himself abroad. "Above all", he wrote, "of course, I thought about you and longed to see you and to hear your voice, and this seemed so incredibly blissful that I would have given ten years of my life (and as you know, life is very dear to me) just to have you appear for a second [...] Bob! I adore you. Do you remember, I told you that even greater than my joy at beholding you with my own eyes is my suffering when I am without you. But when in a strange land, contemplating an infinite number of days, weeks and months without you, all my love for you feels especially important. I hug you!" [20]. Later, in July, he wrote: "Like a young man having received a letter from his beloved, Like a young man receiving a letter from his beloved, I even shamelessly kissed the traces of your wretched, abominable hands. My dear wonderful fellow, I adore you!" [21]. The same analogy to someone in love was also at the heart of a musical joke that Tchaikovsky composed and addressed to Bob a year later. The stylized folk ditty, in which the composer identified himself with a young girl pining for her beloved, began:

No news from my darling,
I can't take it anymore,
If only he would write me
Just an itty-bitty note [22].

Despite his joking disparagements, Tchaikovsky continued to perceive in the object of his affections a multitude of talents and merits which the latter did not possess. "If you sometimes doubt that you are a chosen individual, that you are not like everyone else, you are quite wrong to do so," he wrote to his nephew on 11/23 July 1891. "Your very striving towards heights which are as yet vaguely defined is in itself proof of extraordinariness. Mark my words: you are definitely climbing a most respectable distance above the ranks of ordinary mortals. I am not at all afraid lest I confuse you with these assurances or drum into your head an exaggerated notion of yourself [...] I am inclined to think that you will be either a writer-artist or a writer-philosopher [...] I've long since noticed that you are given to serious theorizing" [23]

The young man replied sensibly to his uncle's letter: "Well, how am I supposed to write to you now? In my capacity of a future writer—artist or philosopher—I am afraid to blurt out something silly which would be unbecoming even for a nineteen-year-old student of jurisprudence! You're right: I am not going to develop 'an exaggerated notion of myself,' but not for the reason which you suppose. You are a terribly important authority for me, and I will always take into account your opinion, even if I should happen to disagree with it, but my own person is the exception—in the first place, because you love me and wish to see me better than I am (I admit that it is easy for people to be mistaken about me: I'm a splendid container for what you have in mind—but that's all); in the second, I resemble you very much (in terms of moral physiognomy), and you wrongly see in me that which is and was your property. Believe me: this is no mere pose" [24].

Tchaikovsky protested against Bob's self-deprecating attitude in his letter of 22 July/3 August: "You are by no means a container. You have a great deal of content, only everything contained in the container is still heaped about in disarray and it will take time to discern what the container is chiefly filled with. Anyway, please don't think about all this: everything will work out on its own. Enjoy your youth and learn that time is valuable. The longer I live, the more I'm appalled at the senseless squandering of this most precious element of life. This somewhat high-flown phrase is none other than the advice to read as much as possible [...] I embrace you, my idol! [...] Dear, good, darling beloved! Such an adorable little container!" [25].

The intensity of his longing did not diminish. By the end of the year, Tchaikovsky was telling Bob that he was "constantly in my thoughts, because with each sensation of sadness, anguish, mental torments, and dark clouds on every horizon, the knowledge that you exist, and that I will be be back to see you in the near future, is like a ray of light" [26]. As for Vladimir Davydov's own attitude towards Tchaikovsky such as it is reflected in his letters, the Russian scholar Valery Sokolov has rightly observed: "In these one can find elements of both love and indifference, a high appreciation of the composer's creative genius and a sober view of himself (as an object of adoration), but the defining note of the nephew's feelings, as his letters show, was boundless respect for his famous uncle" [27]. Sokolov cites as an example this passage from a letter which Bob wrote to his uncle on 25 January/6 February 1890: "I just can't reconcile myself to the fact that you love me not because I am good but because I am who I am, and that if I turn out to be bad (as is actually the case), then you'll still not stop loving me, since I won't have stopped being myself. If you loved me for the fact that I worship you, then it would be understandable, but, according to your own words, you came to love me when I was not yet able to love anyone at all" [28]. And from a letter written by Bob on 11/23 October 1891: "Why don't you want to come now for a few days [...] After all, I did come to you!!! I awfully want to see you" [29].

Vladimir Davydov is not known to have had any amorous involvements with women, and he was by his own admission homosexual. Like Tchaikovsky and Modest, Bob Davydov became aware of his unorthodox sexual orientation while at the School of Jurisprudence. His love for his classmate Baron Rudolph Buchshoevden lasted several years. In a letter of 1890 to Modest, Bob reflected on his preferences in that sphere: "My perversion (as others call it) or my inclinations developed quite independently, and though in many instances you can safely say that you are my Prometheus, in this respect my own nature must alone be held responsible!" [30].

It was his uncle Modest whom Bob chose as his confidant, which is understandable, given that in Saint Petersburg they had shared lodgings most of the time. In the above-cited letter Bob confessed to Modest that he had "long since known" about the latter's homosexuality, and it can hardly be doubted that, like many in the Tchaikovsky and Davydov families, he was by then aware of how things stood with Tchaikovsky on that score, too. Tchaikovsky for his part soon found out from his younger brother about Bob's sexual preferences.

Tchaikovsky's interest in Bob grew sharply from 1890 onwards, and in their correspondence one can catch glimpses of a certain ambiguity, characteristic of such tastes, followed eventually by mutual understanding. Tchaikovsky was not too happy about Bob's principal and most ardent attachment to the young Rudolph Buchshoevden. In his letters Tchaikovsky often spoke of "Rudy", as he was known, with irritation and displeasure. Tchaikovsky's jealousy of Buchshoevden was amusingly reflected in a letter which Bob wrote to Modest in 1891: "By the way, I have devised a caricature which could serve to illustrate my relations with Rudy. A pedestal—he stands on the pedestal—under the pedestal a bonfire is burning to which I incessantly add further fuel, consisting of theatre tickets, dinner menus, and pieces of Uncle Petya and you—Uncle Petya, by the way, sometimes turns out to be damp and sizzles" [31]. Instead of Tchaikovsky, who loved him passionately, the young man had put one of his classmates on a pedestal. As attested by the archival documents, Modest, who had been looking after Bob in Saint Petersburg, enjoyed his nephew's confidence to a far greater extent than his famous brother. Sokolov notes that "gradually Pyotr Ilyich, too, found himself among those in the know [about Bob's emotional entanglements], but the degree of intimacy observed by Bob when communicating with him was immensely "lower"—the composer could not fail to sense this, just as, very likely, he could not but suffer on account of Bob's infatuation [with Buchshoevden] [...] Tchaikovsky would hardly have been jealous of Modest Ilyich, to whom he was bound by ties of mutual brotherly love and creative friendship, but without doubt the composer understood that Bob, the person dearest to his heart, had others who were closer to him than he was" [32].

After the end of the final examinations at the School of Jurisprudence in late May/early June 1892, Tchaikovsky and Bob travelled to the French resort town of Vichy to try the waters and see if this would alleviate the chronic stomach disorders from which they both suffered. Bob was unpredictable in his attitude towards his famous uncle, as well as in the way he reacted to the vicissitudes of life, and Tchaikovsky often had to contend with his beloved nephew's moods and prejudices.

In February 1893 Tchaikovsky start writing the Sixth Symphony, which was to be dedicated to his favourite nephew. Undaunted by the slowness of the work, composer was growing increasingly confident about the symphony itself. He told Bob on 2/14 August 1893: "I'm very pleased with its content, but dissatisfied, or rather not completely satisfied, with the instrumentation. For some reason it's not coming out as I intended. To me it would be typical and unsurprising if this symphony were torn to pieces or little appreciated, for it wouldn't be for the first time that had happened. But I absolutely consider it to be the best, and in particular, the most sincere of all my creations. I love it as I have never loved any of my other musical offspring" [33].

On 10/22 October 1893 Tchaikovsky was reunited in Saint Petersburg with Modest and Bob, who had decided to change career and instead of entering the civil service had enrolled as a volunteer in the Preobrazhensky Guards' Regiment commanded by Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich. Tchaikovsky was in high spirits and liked the new apartment rented by his brother. "His fine mood stayed with him", Modest later recalled, "especially during the first few days of his visit while his arrival was not yet known in the city and he could still dispose of his time freely" [34]. There is no evidence that his nephew was present at the première of Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony on 16/28 October, but he went with the composer to see a play at the Aleksandrinsky Theatre, and probably was present at the fateful dinner at Leiner's restaurant on 20 October/1 November 1893, where Modest believed Tchaikovsky contracted the cholera that led to his death five days later. Bob had been present at Tchaikovsky's deathbed agony in Modest’s apartment, and it cannot be ruled out that this experience left his own psyche so severely traumatized that he was never able to get over it, just as he was unable to overcome his fatal addiction to morphine, which he had inherited from his late mother and elder sister. According to Tchaikovsky's will all legal possession of the royalties from the composer’s works went to Bob, to whom were assigned all copyrights as well as the duty to divide the royalties among his relatives [35].

Later Years

The great hopes that Tchaikovsky had once had for his favourite nephew were never fulfilled. Bob did not develop into the outstanding personality that his uncle saw in him, and while endowed with certain musical, artistic, and even poetic gifts, he was never more than a dilettante in all these fields. The young man was aware of this and took a very sober view of his own capabilities, as he once admitted in a letter to his adoring uncle: "I am like a squirrel running in a wheel, only it is not the squirrel which moves the wheel in my case; rather, the squirrel is moved by the wheel. But the result is of course identical, since everything remains in one and the same place" [36]

After three years of service in the Preobrazhensky regiment—from 1893 to 1896, during which period he swiftly rose up the ranks of this elite formation commanded by Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, who would praise Lieutenant Davydov for his work in improving music teaching at a school for soldiers' children—he went on sick-leave and eventually resigned from active military service in 1900. Bob then moved into the house at Klin, occupying the rooms which Modest had added to the house in 1898. Like his mother and sister Tanya, he sought to justify his dependence on morphine and opium, and later on alcohol, too, by invoking the unbearable pains he was afflicted with during his various illnesses. Modest selflessly tried to help his nephew in all kinds of ways, taking him to Italy, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for treatment, but all to no avail. He kept having to witness the young man's distressing "breakdowns", hallucinations, and bouts of delirium tremens, which for both of them became increasingly harder to bear as time passed. These years were marked by the "incessant physical suffering, moral torment, spiritual ruin, and gradual degeneration" of Tchaikovsky's beloved nephew [37].

On 13/26 December 1906, Modest, who had originally intended to return to Klin on that date, was held up in Moscow by the cellist Anatoly Brandukov, who entreated Modest to stay and hear his ensemble perform one of Tchaikovsky's string quartets. When he finally arrived in Klin, Modest learnt that Bob had shot himself that day, thereby putting an end to his nightmare of several years. The police report stated that "in the town of Klin the following incident has occurred: the guards' lieutenant of the reserve Vladimir Lvovich Davydov, 35 years old, took his own life by shooting himself with a revolver. He had been suffering from a derangement of his mental abilities" [38]. It is quite possible that this tragedy, together with the well-known fact that the Sixth Symphony had been dedicated to Bob, contributed to the emergence or proliferation of rumours claiming that Tchaikovsky himself had also committed suicide.

Vladimir Davydov is buried at the Demyanovo Cemetery, near the composer's former home at Klin.

Alexander Poznansky


Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

43 letters from Tchaikovsky to Vladimir Davydov have survived, dating from 1889 to 1893, all of which are available in English translations on this website:

68 letters from Vladimir Davydov to the composer, dating from 1889 to 1893, are preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive.


Notes and References

  1. Yury Davydov, Записки о П. И. Чайковском (1962), p. 28.
  2. Yury Davydov, Записки о П. И. Чайковском (1962), p. 28-29.
  3. Modest Tchaikovsky, Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 3 (1902), p. 15-16.
  4. Letter 887 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 3/15 August 1878.
  5. Letter 1117 to Lev Davydov, 22 February/6 March 1879.
  6. Letter 1165 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 28 April/10 May 1879.
  7. Letter 1308 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 7/19 October 1879.
  8. Letter 1167 to Nadezhda von Meck, 29 April/11 May–30 April/12 May 1879.
  9. Letter 1233 to Nadezhda von Meck, 19/31 July 1879.
  10. Letter 1478 to Nadezhda von Meck, 15/27 April 1880.
  11. Letter 1489 to Nadezhda von Meck, 3/15-7/19 May 1880.
  12. Letter 1506 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 30 May/11 June 1880.
  13. Letter 2481 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 2/14 May 1884.
  14. Дневники П. И. Чайковского (1873-1891) (1923), p. 15-28.
  15. Letter 4112 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 14/26 May 1890.
  16. Letter 4145 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 12/24 June 1890.
  17. Letter 4139 to Vladimir Davydov, 5/17 June 1890. "Mitya" was Bob's elder brother, Dmitry Davydov.
  18. Letter 4365 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 5/17 April 1891.
  19. Letter from Vladimir Davydov to Tchaikovsky, 9/21 April 1891. Quoted in: Valery Sokolov, Письмо В. Л. Давыдова к П. И. Чайковскому (2003), p. 283-284.
  20. Letter 4342 to Vladimir Davydov, 8/20 March 1891.
  21. Letter 4436 to Vladimir Davydov, 8/20 July 1891.
  22. Дни и годы П. И. Чайковского. Летопись жизни и творчества (1940), p. 483, and Чижик, чижик. П. И. Чайковский. Шутливые послания, музыкальные подарки (2009), p. 204-205.
  23. Letter 4440 to Vladimir Davydov, 11/23 July 1891.
  24. Letter from Vladimir Davydov to Tchaikovsky, 16/28 July 1891. Quoted in: Valery Sokolov, Письмо В. Л. Давыдова к П. И. Чайковскому (2003), p. 284-285.
  25. Letter 4442 to Vladimir Davydov, 22 July/3 August 1891.
  26. Letter 4584 to Vladimir Davydov, 29 December 1891/10 January 1892.
  27. Valery Sokolov, Жизнь и смерть Владимира Львовича Давыдова. Материалы к биографии Чайковского (2003), p. 259.
  28. Letter from Vladimir Davydov to Tchaikovsky, 25 January/6 February 1890. Quoted in: Valery Sokolov, Жизнь и смерть Владимира Львовича Давыдова. Материалы к биографии Чайковского (2003), p. 259.
  29. Letter from Vladimir Davydov to Tchaikovsky, 11/23 October 1891. Quoted in: Valery Sokolov, Жизнь и смерть Владимира Львовича Давыдова. Материалы к биографии Чайковского (2003), p. 259.
  30. Undated etter from Vladimir Davydov to Modest Tchaikovsky, 1890. Quoted in: Valery Sokolov, Жизнь и смерть Владимира Львовича Давыдова. Материалы к биографии Чайковского (2003), p. 260-261.
  31. Undated letter from Vladimir Davydov to Modest Tchaikovsky, 1891. Quoted in: Valery Sokolov, Жизнь и смерть Владимира Львовича Давыдова. Материалы к биографии Чайковского (2003), p. 261.
  32. See: Valery Sokolov, Жизнь и смерть Владимира Львовича Давыдова. Материалы к биографии Чайковского (2003), p. 261.
  33. Letter 4998 to Vladimir Davydov, 2/14 August 1893 (incorrectly dated 3/15 August by Tchaikovsky).
  34. Modest Tchaikovsky, Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 3 (1902), p. 642.
  35. The full text of Tchaikovsky's will has been published in Чайковский. Новые документы и материалы. Сборник статей (2003), p. 329-333.
  36. Letter from Vladimir Davydov to the composer, 31 July/12 August 1893. Quoted in Valery Sokolov, Жизнь и смерть Владимира Львовича Давыдова. Материалы к биографии Чайковского (2003), p. 262-263.
  37. Valery Sokolov, Жизнь и смерть Владимира Львовича Давыдова. Материалы к биографии Чайковского (2003), p. 266.
  38. Valery Sokolov, Жизнь и смерть Владимира Львовича Давыдова. Материалы к биографии Чайковского (2003), p. 271.