Letter 3187

Date 18 February/2 March 1887
Addressed to Félix Mackar
Where written Maydanovo
Language French
Autograph Location Paris (France): Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département de la Musique
Publication Revue de musicologie, tome 64 (1968), no. 1, p. 60
Советская музыка (1970), No. 9, p. 55 (Russian translation)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIV (1974), p. 52–53.

Text and Translation

French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
18 Février/2 Mars 1887

Mon bien cher ami!

Je reçois Votre bonne lettre dans laquelle V[ou]s me faites part de la réussite de l"audience. J'en suis ravi et V[ou]s remercie pour toutes les peines que V[ou]s V[ou]s etes données à cause de moi. Ce que V[ou]s me dites de Votre santé me chagrine, mais j'espère que jusqu'à mon arrivée à Paris V[ou]s serez totalement remis. Je ne sais encore quand je viendrai à Paris, mais bien certainement j'y viendrai pas plus tard que dans le courant de cette saison. Savez Vous ce que j'ai décidé? Je veux passer tout l'hivers prochain à Paris. D'abord ce sera pour moi un grand plaisir, car V[ou]s ne sauriez V[ou]s imaginer combien j'aime Paris, et puis cela peut contribuer à lancer ma musique dans le domaine du public musical parisien et de l'y acclimatiser autant que cela se peut.

Je pars aujourd'hui pour Moscou où je resterai trois jours. De la je m'en vais directement à Petersbourg. Le grand concert dont je V[ou]s ai parlé aura lieu le 5/17 Mars. Puis il faudra revenir chez moi et travailler assidument à l'instrumentation de mon opera. Et puis je prendrai mon vol vers Vos parages. Je voudrais faire un cure à Vichy ; mon estomac est un peu détraqué et demande à être soigné. Si V[ou]s aviez besoin de me dire quelquechose tout de suite, adressez jusqu'au 18 Mars à Petersbourg Fontanka 15. Mille choses à M[ada]me Mackar! Je V[ou]s remercie encore[,] mon cher et bon ami.

P. Tschaïkovsky

Permettez V[ou]s que je règle mes comptes avec Vous à Paris?

18 February/2 March 1887

My very dear friend!

I have received your kind letter in which you notify me of the success of the audition [1]. I am delighted by this, and thank you for all the trouble which you have gone to on my account. What you tell me about your health saddens me, but I hope that by the time I arrive in Paris you will have recovered completely. I do not know yet when exactly I shall be coming to Paris, but I will of course come before this current season comes to an end. Do you know what I have decided to do? I want to spend the whole of next winter in Paris [2]. For a start, it would be a great pleasure for me, since you cannot imagine how much I love Paris, and, then, it might also help to launch my music into the conscience of the Parisian musical public and to acclimatize it there as far as possible.

Today I am leaving for Moscow, where I shall stay for three days. From there I am going directly to Petersburg. The big concert I told you about will take place on 5/17 March [3]. After that I shall have to return home in order to work diligently on the orchestration of my opera. And then I shall make my way to your country. I would like to undergo a cure at Vichy; my stomach has got a bit out of kilter and demands to be looked after well [4]. If you should need to tell me anything immediately, use this address until 18 March: Petersburg, No. 15 Fontanka Embankment [5]. A thousand kind regards for Madame Mackar![6] I thank you once again, my dear and kind friend.

P. Tchaikovsky

Will you permit me to settle my accounts with you in Paris?[7]

Notes and References

  1. In a letter from Paris on 12/24 February 1887 Mackar informed Tchaikovsky about the success of the recital, or audition, of his works that he had organized at the Salle Érard the previous evening. Various prominent musicians based in the French capital had taken part in this recital, which featured the Sérénade mélancolique (in Tchaikovsky's own arrangement for violin and piano; played by the Belgian violinist Martin Pierre Marsick, with Anatoly Brandukov accompanying on the piano); the Nocturne, No. 4 of the Six Pieces, Op. 19, for piano, arranged for solo cello and piano (played by Brandukov, with Marsick accompanying); the Piano Trio (played by Louis Diémer, Brandukov, and Marsick); Nos. 1, 2, 5, and 6 from the Six Romances, Op. 6 (sung by Juliette Conneau); the Polonaise from Yevgeny Onegin in Liszt's transcription for piano; Chant sans paroles, No. 3 from Souvenir de Hapsal, Op. 2; Polka de salon, No. 2 of the Three Pieces, Op. 9; Mazurka, No. 5 of the Twelve Pieces, Op. 40; and Romance, No. 5 of the Six Pieces, Op. 51 (all played by Diémer). Mackar wrote that over 200 people had to listen to the concert standing because there were not enough seats for everyone in the Salle Érard. The audience had, in particular, encored the romance None But the Lonely Heart, which Madame Conneau proceeded to sing again, this time accompanied by Brandukov on the cello. Mackar promised that he would send Tchaikovsky all the reviews that appeared, and added that everyone in Paris was keen to get to know more of his music. Mackar's letter has been published (in an abridged Russian translation only) in Чайковский и зарубежные музыканты (1970), p. 154.
  2. Tchaikovsky abandoned this plan, partly because he soon started making arrangements for his first European conducting tour which would get underway in mid/late December 1887 and lasted until March 1888. In 1887 the composer visited Paris only very briefly, from 2/14 to 4/16 August.
  3. In letter 3170 to Mackar from Maydanovo in early/mid February 1887, Tchaikovsky had explained that he could not come to Paris to attend the recital which his publisher was organizing in the Salle Érard because he had to prepare for a concert of his works which he was due to conduct in Saint Petersburg. The concert of the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Society under Tchaikovsky's direction on 5/17 March 1887 featured the first performance in the imperial capital of the Suite No. 1, Kuma's arioso from Act I of The Enchantress (sung by Aleksandra Panayeva-Kartsova), the Dance of the Tumblers from that opera, the Andante and Valse from the Serenade for String Orchestra, the fantasia Francesca da Rimini, various solo piano pieces (played by Dmitry Klimov), three romances (sung by Panayeva-Kartsova), and the festival overture The Year 1812.
  4. Tchaikovsky did not take the waters at Vichy in 1887.
  5. The address of Nikolay Konradi and Modest Tchaikovsky's apartment in Saint Petersburg.
  6. Mackar's wife, Valérie. In 1888, Tchaikovsky would dedicate to her one of the prints made by the Hamburg photographer E. Bieber on 6/18 January 1888. He wrote on it the following inscription: "Madame Valérie Mackar souvenir affectueux" and sketched three bars from the Andante cantabile of his String Quartet No. 1. See Revue de musicologie, tome 64 (1968), no. 1, p. 94. The portrait in question appears as Photograph Np. 60 in our Catalogue of Photographs.
  7. This note was written along the margin of the first page. In earlier letters Tchaikovsky had asked Mackar to order several prints of the portrait photographs he had had taken at Reutlinger's atelier in Paris in the summer of 1886, and "settling accounts" here presumably refers to this.