Letter 3113b

Date 1/13 December 1886
Addressed to Raïssa Boulanger
Where written Moscow
Language French
Autograph Location Paris (France): Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département de musique
Publication Jérôme Spycket, Nadia Boulanger (Lausanne, 1987), p. 14
Jérôme Spycket, Nadia Boulanger (Stuyvesant, NY, 1992), p. 11 (facsimile), p. 12 (English translation)
Annegret Fauser, Der Orchestergesang in Frankreich zwischen 1870 und 1920 (Laaber, 1994), p. 171 (German translation)
Tschaikowsky-Gesellschaft Mitteilungen, Heft 19 (2012), p. 132 (original), p. 132–133 (German translation)

Text and Translation

French text
(original)
English translation
By Brett Langston
1/13 Décembre 1886

Madame!

Je viens de recevoir Votre lettre et m'empresse de V[ou]s rèpondre que j'ai fait tout mon possible pour que V[ou]s soyez satisfaite dans Votre désir (très flatteur pour moi) d'obtenir l'orchestration de ma romance «Я — ли в поле». Je tremble à l'idée que peut-ètre elle Vous arrivera trop tard; s'il en est ainsi, veuillez de grâce m'excuser. Je suis depuis quelque temps si absorbé par les soins de la mise en scène de mon opera et par d'autres travaux presses, — que je n'ai pas eu le loisir de penser plus tôt à remplir la promesse que je V[ou]s ai donnée. Quant à l'instrumentations de: «И больно и сладко» je l'ai commencée et sous peu, je V[ou]s l'expédierai.

Encore une fois, Madame, mille excuses. J'aurai l'occasion de V[ou]s les rèiterer de vive voix car je serai à Paris dans le courant de cet hiver.

En attendant veuillez me rappeler au souvenir de M[onsieur]] Boulanger et me croire Votre très devoué serviteur.

P. Tschaïkovsky

Tournez s'il V[ou]s plait


P. S. Les parties d'orchestre que V[ou]s recevrez sont à M[ada]me Lavrovska. V[ou]s aurez la bonté, Madame, de les renvoyer à Petersbourg (Большая Морская, Магазин П. Юргенсона для передачи Е. А. Лавровской) dès que V[ou]s n'en aurez plus besoin. Plus tard je ferai faire la copie des parties d'orchestre et V[ou]s le[s] enverrai.

1/13 December 1886

Madame!

I have just received your letter, and am hastening to reply to you that I have done everything possible to ensure to comply with your wish (most flattering for me) to obtain the orchestration of my romance "Was I — in the field" [1]. I tremble at the idea that perhaps it will reach you too late; if this is so then I beg your forgiveness. I have been absorbed for so long now with preparations for the staging of my opera [2] and by various other pressing matters, that I did not have the opportunity to consider fulfilling my promise to you earlier. As for the scoring of "Bitterly and Sweetly" [3], I have begun it and shall send it to you very shortly.

Once more, Madame, a thousand excuses. I will have occasion to repeat these to you in person, for I shall be in Paris this winter [4].

Meanwhile please remember me to Monsieur Boulanger [5], and be assured of your most devoted servant.

P. Tchaikovsky

Please turn the page


P. S. You shall be receiving the orchestral parts from Madame Lavrovskaya. Please be so good, Madame, as to return them to Petersburg (Bolshaya Morskaya, P. Jurgenson's store, for Ye. A. Lavrovskaya, as soon as you no longer require them. Later I will have the orchestral parts copied and sent to you.

Notes and References

  1. Was I Not a Little Blade of Grass in the Field? was No. 7 of the Seven Romances, Op. 47. In 1884 Tchaikovsky had made an orchestral version of it, at the request of the singer Yelizaveta Lavrovskaya.
  2. Tchaikovsky had been busy preparing to conduct the premiere of his opera Cherevichki, on 19/31 January 1887 at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
  3. Bitterly and Sweetly was No. 3 of the Six Romances, Op. 6. It is uncertain whether Bitterly and Sweetly was duly orchestrated by the composer.
  4. The composer's next visit to Paris took place the following summer.
  5. Ernest Boulanger (1815-1900), a pianist, composer and conductor.