Letter 2924

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 3/15 April 1886
Addressed to Félix Mackar
Where written Tiflis
Language French
Autograph Location Paris (France): Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département de la Musique
Publication Revue de musicologie, tome 64 (1968), no. 1, p. 54
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIII (1971), p. 311–312

Text and Translation

French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
3/15 Avril 1886

Cher ami !

J'ai chargé Mr Jurgenson de faire copier la pièce pour le piano que je V[ou]s ai promise et de Vous l'envoyer. Pour des raisons que je V[ou]s conterai quand N[ou]s nous verrons je n'ai pu remplir entièrement la promesse que je V[ou]s ai faite. Je crois que je V[ou]s avais promis de V[ou]s la donner pour tous pays. Maintenant il se trouve que je ne puis V[ou]s donner les droits sur ce morceau que pour France et Belgique.

Pardon ! Je ne dois, je ne puis froisser au dela de certaines limites les sentiments d'amitié qu'a toujours témoigner à mon égard Jurgenson. Enfin je V[ou]s dirai tout cela à notre entrevue.

Je serai à Paris vers le commencement de Juin.

À Vous de tout cœur,

P. Tschaïkovsky

Je viens de faire un voyage des plus agréable[s]. Je reste ici quelque temps et puis par Constantinople, Naples, Rome, je m'en vais dans Vos parages.

3/15 April 1886

Dear friend!

I have instructed M[onsieu]r Jurgenson to have the piano piece which I promised you copied and to send it to you. For reasons which I shall tell you about when we meet, I was not able to keep fully the promise which I made you. I think that I promised to assign to you the rights in all countries. Now, though, it turns out that I can only give you the rights to this piece in France and Belgium [1].

Sorry! I cannot, I must not injure beyond certain limits the feelings of friendship which Jurgenson has always shown with regard to me. Anyway, I shall explain everything to you during our meeting [2].

I shall arrive in Paris towards the start of June [3].

Yours most cordially,

P. Tchaikovsky

I have just undertaken a most agreeable trip. I am staying here for a while and then, via Constantinople, Naples, and Rome [4], I shall make my way to your part of the world.

Notes and References

  1. In Letter 2819 to Mackar on 22 November/4 December 1885, Tchaikovsky had agreed to his French publisher's request to write a piano piece based on Russian folk themes specially for his firm. He did not start work on it until February 1886, however. The completed piece, entitled Dumka and subtitled "Russian rustic scene", was dedicated, as Mackar had advised him to, to Antoine François Marmontel (1816–1898), the influential professor of piano at the Paris Conservatory who had shown great interest in Tchaikovsky's music. After Jurgenson had published Dumka in Moscow later that year, Tchaikovsky asked him to send the original manuscript to Mackar (see Letter 2981 to Jurgenson of 22 June/4 July 1886), but Jurgenson ignored this request, since for the sake of posterity he wanted to keep in his possession as many of the composer's autographs as possible. The French edition of the piano piece appeared in the following year as Doumka. Scène rustique russe (Paris: F. Mackar, 1887).
  2. Tchaikovsky's first face-to-face meeting with Mackar would take place in the latter's music-shop at No. 22, Passage des Panoramas, Paris, on 21 May/2 June 1886.
  3. Tchaikovsky would in fact arrive in Paris slightly earlier, on 15/27 May 1886.
  4. Tchaikovsky eventually decided not to travel via Italy because of the cholera epidemic which was then raging in Naples, and so from Constantinople he sailed to Marseilles, arriving at the French port on 11/23 May. Four days later he boarded a train to Paris.