Letter 3043

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date 9/21 September 1886
Addressed to Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich
Where written Maydanovo
Language Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): Institute of Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Pushkin House), Manuscript Department (ф. 137, No. 78/2)
Publication Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 3 (1902), p. 129–130
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIII (1971), p. 447
К.Р. Избранная переписка (1999), p. 35.

Text and Translation

Russian text
(original)
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Ваше Императорское Высочество!

В начале весны настоящего года, при встрече со мной у г[оспо]жи Абаза, Вы изволили обещать мне Ваше благосклонное содействие, в случае если я осмелюсь испрашивать у Государыни Императрицы милостивого дозволения посвятить Ей какое-либо моё сочинение.

В настоящее время я написал 12 романсов и был бы в высшей степени счастлив, если бы Государыня приняла почтительнейшее посвящение их Её Величеству.

Намереваясь воспользоваться Вашим обещанием, я распорядился теперь о снятии изящной копии с моей черновой рукописи, каковую и позволю себе выслать на имя Вашего Высочества, как только она будет готова, в надежде, что Вы соизволите испросить для меня необходимое на сей случай Высочайшее разрешение.

Я окончил недавно сочинение новой оперы моей «Чародейки» и буду в течение наступающей зимы оркестровать её. Если будет можно надеяться, что Государю не покажется слишком смелым моё пламенное желание посвятить Ему эту, вероятно, последнюю и, вероятно, лучшую мою оперу, — то в своё время снова обращусь к Вашему Высочеству и буду просить Вас об оказании мне покровительства Вашего.

Во время упомянутого свидания моего с Вашим Высочеством Вы изволили также обещать прислать мне экземпляр напечатанного труда Вашего, причём, быв тогда на отъезде в дальнее путешествие, я просил Вас адресовать его в Москву, в Консерваторию. Однако ж произведения этого по упомянутому адресу, получено не было, а между тем весьма приятно и лестно было бы получить его.

Пользуюсь случаем, чтобы принести Вашему Императорскому Высочеству запоздалое, но душевное поздравление с рождением сына Вашего, и прошу Вас принять уверение в почтительнейшем и глубочайшем уважении моём, с коим и имею честь быть Вашего Императорского Высочества покорнейший слуга,

П. Чайковский

г[ород] Клин, с[ело] Майданово
9 сентября 1886 г[ода]

Your Imperial Highness!

In early spring this year, during our meeting at Mrs Abaza's [1], you deigned to promise me your benevolent support in the event that I should make so bold as to request Her Majesty the Empress for her gracious permission to dedicate to her one of my compositions.

I have now written 12 romances and would be extremely happy if the Empress were to accept my dedicating them most respectfully to Her Majesty [2].

With the intention of availing myself of your promise I have now arranged for a fair copy to be made of my working manuscript and shall take the liberty of sending it to Your Highness as soon as it is ready, in the hope that you will deign to request the permission from Her Majesty which it is essential for me to have in this case.

I recently completed the composition of my new opera The Enchantress, and will be orchestrating it in the course of the coming winter. If I may hope that the Sovereign does not regard my ardent desire to dedicate to His Majesty this opera, which will probably be my last and best one, as unduly bold, then I shall in due course turn to Your Highness again and ask you to exercise your patronage on my behalf.

During the abovementioned meeting I had with Your Highness you also deigned to promise to send me a copy of your published work [3] — because I was then about to depart on a long journey [4]. I asked you to send it to Moscow, to the Conservatory. However, the book has not been received at the aforesaid address. I should, though, find it most agreeable and flattering to receive such a copy.

I make use of this opportunity to proffer to Your Imperial Highness my belated, yet heartfelt congratulations on the birth of your son [5], and I ask you to accept this assurance of my most respectful and profound esteem, with which I have the honour of remaining Your Imperial Highness's most humble servant.

P. Tchaikovsky

Town of Klin, village of Maydanovo
9 September 1886.

Notes and References

  1. Yuliya Fyodorovna Abaza (née Stubbe; 1830-1915), singer and composer; the wife of Aleksandr Ageyevich Abaza (1821-1895) who was Minister of Finances during the 1880s. Her house in Saint Petersburg was frequented by such luminaries as Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Ivan Turgenev. Tchaikovsky's works were performed there on several occasions. The meeting with Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich referred to in the above letter took place on 18/30 March 1886, as suggested by this entry in Tchaikovsky's diary for that day: "Big evening reception at Abaza's. My social successes" (quoted here from The Diaries of Tchaikovsky (1973), p. 57) — note by L. K. Khitrovo in К.Р. Избранная переписка (1999), p. 35.
  2. Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich would write to Tchaikovsky on 23 October/4 November 1886 to tell him that the Tsarina Mariya Fyodorovna had asked him to thank the composer on her behalf for the Twelve Romances, Op. 60, which she found "delightful". The Grand Duke's letter has been published in К.Р. Избранная переписка (1999), p. 36.
  3. Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich had promised to send the composer his first book of poetry, Стихотворения К. Р. (Poems by K. R.; Saint Petersburg, 1886). A copy of this book containing a personal inscription was sent to Tchaikovsky together with the Grand Duke's reply of 12/24 September 1886, and it has survived in the composer's library at the Klin House-Museum. Tchaikovsky would choose six poems from this collection to set to music, in the following year, as the Six Romances, Op. 63 — note by L. K. Khitrovo in К.Р. Избранная переписка (1999), p. 36.
  4. In the spring of 1886 Tchaikovsky travelled to the Caucasus, after which he paid a visit to France.
  5. On 23 June/5 July 1886, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich's first child was born: a son who was christened Ioann (1886-1918) — note by L. K. Khitrovo in К.Р. Избранная переписка (1999), p. 36.