Bernhard Cossmann

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Bernhard Cossmann (1822-1910)

German cellist and composer (b. 17 May 1822 in Dessau; d. 7 May 1910 in Frankfurt am Main).

Cossmann taught at the Moscow Conservatory from 1866 to 1870 (where Tchaikovsky was his colleague) before he decided to return to Germany with his family. They had settled first in Baden-Baden, but, in 1878, they moved to Frankfurt am Main where Cossmann became one of the co-founders of the Hoch Conservatory.

In 1889, while in Frankfurt, the second stop on his itinerary through Germany, Tchaikovsky met the elder Cossmann at rehearsals for his concert, and the composer was invited to dine with his former colleague later that evening. The two men had evidently not met since Cossmann's departure from Russia in 1870. An entry in Tchaikovsky's diary for 2/14 February 1889 reads: "Dinner at Cossmann's. He has aged awfully. Pleasing wife and daughters. [...] Home. Unpleasant realization of failure. At Cossmann's. Supper. Their warmth and kindness" [1]. The cellist and his wife had also seen Tchaikovsky off on the day of his departure from Frankfurt on 4/16 February, as he duly recorded in his diary: "With Madame Cossmann to the railroad station. Lunch. Knorr, he and his wife, and old Cossmann" [2].

Shortly after this re-acquaintance, Tchaikovsky corresponded briefly with Cossmann's wife Mathilde (née Hilb), and his two children Paul (1869-1942) and Lulu, but no more letters to the cellist himself have so far come to light.

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

One letter from Tchaikovsky to Bernhard Cossmann has survived, dating from 1870:

Notes and References

  1. Diary entry for 2/14 February 1889. Here quoted from The Diaries of Tchaikovsky (1973), p. 258.
  2. Diary entry for 4/16 February 1889. Here quoted from The Diaries of Tchaikovsky (1973), p. 259.