Letter 455a

Tchaikovsky Research
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Date ? 20 March/1 April 1876 [1]
Addressed to Sergey Taneyev
Where written Moscow
Language Russian
Autograph Location Moscow (Russia): Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (ф. 880)
Publication П. И. Чайковский. С. И. Танеев. Письма (1951), p. 137 ("1886")
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XVII (1981), p. 222–223

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Сергей Иванович!

1) Симфония моя не получена ещё.

2) Вечером в консерватории будет спектакль, на котором мне бы очень хотелось быть. По этим двум причинам не отложить ли наш музыкальный вечер до понедельника? Если Вы найдёте это возможным, то потрудитесь уведомить Фёдора Ивановича. В понедельник в 8 часов буду Вас ожидать.

П. Чайковский

Не придёте ли и Вы на консерваторский спектакль?

1) My symphony hasn't been received yet.

2) This evening at the Conservatory there is a performance which I would very much like to attend [2]. For these two reasons, could we not postpone our musical soirée until Monday? If you think this is possible, then be so kind as to inform Fyodor Ivanovich. I shall expect you on Monday at 8 o'clock.

P. Tchaikovsky

Wouldn't you also like to come to the Conservatory performance?

Notes and References

  1. This brief letter to Taneyev, which bears no date, was dated to 1886 in П. И. Чайковский. С. И. Танеев. Письма (1951), p. 137, because Vladimir Zhdanov, who was responsible for this edition, assumed that Tchaikovsky was referring to the proofs of his Manfred symphony, which was being printed by Jurgenson in the spring of 1886. The editors of П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XVII (1981), however, pointed out that 1876 was the more likely year of this letter and were even able to propose a precise date for it on the following grounds: "Tchaikovsky began corresponding with Taneyev in 1874; this letter was written in Moscow during the period in which he was in regular contact with Taneyev and the Maslovs, evidently before the autumn of 1877, when Tchaikovsky left Moscow for a long time. The student performances at the Moscow Conservatory took place in March, and in both 1876 and 1877 on Saturdays. In 1877 Tchaikovsky was not occupied with any symphony at the start of the year. The most likely year is therefore 1876. On 24 January/5 February 1876 the Third Symphony had been performed in Saint Petersburg, and the [handwritten copies of the] score and parts may possibly have remained there for a while. This was a new work which had been performed only once in Moscow (on 7/19 November 1875), and so the 'musical soirée' referred to in the letter may well have been organized by Tchaikovsky in order to acquaint his friends with the symphony once the score arrived from Saint Petersburg. On 20 March/1 April 1876 there was a student performance at the Moscow Conservatory which would have interested Tchaikovsky greatly: a staging of Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz, an opera of which he had been fond ever since his childhood. The soirée would, naturally, have been put off until another day" (op. cit., p. 223).
  2. Weber's Romantic opera Der Freischütz was staged at the Maly Theatre on 20 March/1 April 1876 with a cast drawn from students of the Moscow Conservatory, and under the baton of Nikolay Rubinstein. On 17/29 March Tchaikovsky had attended the dress rehearsal and was very pleased with the quality of the singers (see Letter 453 to Anatoly Tchaikovsky, 17/29 March 1876). This may have prompted him to wish to hear the full performance — note in П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XVII (1981), p. 223.