Letter 31

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date 20 July/1 August 1851
Addressed to Ilya Tchaikovsky
Where written Saint Petersburg
Language Russian
Autograph Location Saint Petersburg (Russia): National Library of Russia (ф. 834, ед. хр. 33, л. 45–46)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Письма к родным (1940), p. 32
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том V (1959), p. 35–36

Text and Translation

Spelling and punctuation errors in the original text have not been indicated.

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
20 июля 1851 года

Поздравляю вас мой Ангел Папаша со днём вашего Ангела и желаю вам всех благ на свете а вас моя милая душенька мамашинька с дорогим имянинником. Мне весело когда я вспоминаю прошлого году этот день. Я помню как на другой день мы ездили на гулянье Старик и старуха. Я помню палатку я помню лодку я помню хор мужиков, я помню оркестр Екатеринбургский, я помню иллюминацию с вензелем, я помню танцы Спирина и Тёти Лизы я помню Сашу, Малю, Полю и меня сидевших около доброго П. И. Ахматова, я помню всех гостей, я помню милую Зинушу, мило танцующ[ую] с милой Лидушей, я помню милую Сестрицу, я помню всех и помню наконец бедного улетевшего из гнёздышка простившего[ся] со всем более ему не возвратным Петра Чайковского.

Теперь я сравниваю это с нынешним годом. Я провёл это лето очень весело потому что я провёл его в деревне. Часто вечером вспоминаю я об вас, об Алапаихе об Воткинске, я вспоминаю милую Тётеньку Надежду Тимофеевну которой уже более нет.

Но я провожу это время с такими людьми которые также, как и вы любят

Петра Чайковского

20 July 1851

I congratulate you, my Angel Papasha, on your name-day, and wish you all the blessings in the world, and you, my sweet darling mamashinka, I congratulate on your dear celebrant. I feel happy when I remember this day last year. I remember how on the next day we went to "The old folks" pleasure-ground [1]. I remember the tent, I remember the boat, I remember the peasants' chorus, I remember the orchestra from Yekaterinburg, I remember the illumination with the monogram pattern, I remember the dancing of Spiring [2] and Aunt Liza, I remember how Sasha, Malya, Polya and I were sitting around kind P. I. Akhmatov [3], I remember all the guests, I remember dear Zinusha dancing so nicely with dear Lidusha [4], I remember dear Sestritsa [5], I remember everyone and I remember, finally, poor Pyotr Tchaikovsky who flew away from the little nest and has parted with all these things, now irrevocably lost to him.

Now I am comparing that with the present year. I spent this summer very merrily because I spent it in the countryside [6]. In the evenings I often think of you, of Alapaikha, of Votkinsk; I recall dear Auntie Nadezhda Timofeyevna [7] who is now no more.

But I am spending this time together with people [8] who, like you, also love.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. The name of a place, famous for its remarkable echo, where the inhabitants of Alapayevsk liked to go on excursions. See Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1997), p. 65.
  2. Andrey Nikolayevich Spiring, a colleague of Ilya Tchaikovsky's at the Alapayevsk iron-works. See Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1997), p. 65.
  3. An unidentified acquaintance of the Tchaikovskys at Alapayevsk.
  4. The composer's cousin Lidiya Vladimirovna Tchaikovskaya (married name Olkhovskaya; 1836-1892) was the daughter of Ilya Tchaikovsky's elder brother, Vladimir. She lost her mother when she was quite little, in 1842, and was effectively adopted by Ilya and his wife Aleksandra.
  5. 'Sestritsa', or 'little sister', was the affectionate name for Tchaikovsky's much older cousin, Anastasiya Vasilyevna Popova (1807–1894), the daughter of Ilya Tchaikovsky's older sister Yevdokiya Popova.
  6. Pyotr had spent almost two months of his summer holidays that year on a country estate not far from Saint Petersburg which belonged to the mother of Mariya Petrovna Vakar (née Markova), the wife of his guardian Platon Alekseyevich Vakar (1826-1899).
  7. Nadezhda Timofeyevna Valtseva, Pyotr's godmother, had died earlier that year. She was an elderly relative of his mother Aleksandra. The icon of the Mother of God of Kazan which she bequeathed to him hangs to this day in the composer's bedroom at the Tchaikovsky House-Museum in Klin.
  8. Young Pyotr is referring to his guardian Platon Vakar and the latter's wife Mariya, who were both very kind to him.