Letter 4362a

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date 30 March/11 April 1891
Addressed to Clotilde Kleeberg
Where written Rouen
Language French
Autograph Location Frankfurt am Main (Germany): Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg, Musik- und Theaterabteilung
Publication Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (1993), p. 45–46
Bisher unbekannte Briefe und musikalische Arbeiten Čajkovskijs (1994), p. 12–14
Internationales Čajkovskij Symposium, Tübingen 1993. Bericht (1995), p. 36–38
View Onlinehttp://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/nachmisc/urn/urn:nbn:de:hebis:30:2-279979

Text and Translation

French text
(original)
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Rouen
11 Avril 1891

Chère et bonne Mademoiselle!

Vous avez été si bonne, si obligeante, si prevenante envers moi. J'ai été si ingrat, si impoli! Je suis parti de Paris sans avoir profité de Votre trop aimable invitation!!! Soyez certaine que je le regrette infiniment. J'ai dû, par un concours de circonstances, qu'il serait trop long à raconter, quitter subitement Paris, afin de pouvoir remplir un devoir ce qui était impossible à Paris car il s'agit de terminer un travail que l'on attend avec impatience à Petersbourg, et travailler à Paris — est chose impossible. Maintenant je suis sur le point de partir pour l'Amèrique d'ou je compte revenir dans quelques semaines, et je serai à Paris. C'est alors que je viendrai Vous demander excuse et serai heureux de pouvoir obtenir Votre pardon. En attendant veuillez croire à mes meilleurs sentiments et au regret que je ressens de ne pas avoir pu Vous voire.

Salutations chaleureuses pour Vos parents.

Bien à Vous, P. Tchaïkovsky

Rouen
11 April 1891

Dear and kind Mademoiselle!

You have been so good, so obliging, so helpful to me. I have been so ungrateful, so impolite! I left Paris without taking advantage of your most kind invitation!!![1] Rest assured that I regret this infinitely. Due to a coincidence of various circumstances which it would take too long to relate, I have had to leave Paris suddenly, so as to be able to fulfil an obligation — something that was impossible in Paris, because it involves completing some work which is being impatiently awaited in Petersburg, and working in Paris is quite impossible [2]. Now I am about to leave for America, expecting to come back from there in about a few weeks, and then I will be in Paris again [3]. It is then that I shall come to beg your pardon and I will be happy if you grant it. In the meanwhile, be assured of my best regards and of the regret which I feel at not having been able to see you.

My warm regards to your parents.

Yours, P. Tchaïkovsky

Notes and References

  1. Clotilde Kleeberg's letter to Tchaikovsky of 25 March 1891 [N.S.] has been published by Thomas Kohlhase in Drei bisher unbekannte Briefe Čajkovskijs von 1887, 1891 und 1893, sowie sechs weitere Briefe vom 20. August 1893 (1995), p. 36. Tchaikovsky had arrived in Paris on 10/22 March 1891 in order to conduct Édouard Colonne's orchestra in a concert of his own works on 24 March/5 April. Clotilde Kleeberg had met Tchaikovsky for the first time five years earlier (see the entry for 10/22 June 1886 in the composer's diary when he was in Paris: "Called on Kleeberg. She plays nicely" — translated by Wladimir Lakond in The Diaries of Tchaikovsky (1973), p. 87), and now in her letter of 25 March 1891 [N.S.] she invited him to dine with her and her parents after the concert on Sunday 5 April [N.S.].
  2. Tchaikovsky had gone to Rouen in order to work in peace on the two compositions which he had promised to deliver to the Saint Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre in time for the 1891/92 season: the ballet The Nutcracker and the opera King René's Daughter (which would later receive the title Iolanta).
  3. Tchaikovsky left Rouen on 5/17 April, reaching the port of Le Havre that same day, and the following morning he set sail for America. After his American tour he did not in fact return to France, but sailed to Hamburg, arriving on 17/29 May. He then immediately made his way to Russia (with only a brief stop in Berlin).