Letter 3216

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 4/16 April 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. 61–62
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIV (1974), p. 82–83.

Text and Translation

French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
4 Avril/16 Avril 1887

Mon cher ami!

Je suis peiné de ne pas pouvoir satisfaire Votre désir de posséder tous les articles de journeaux qu'on a imprimé à l'occasion de mon concert. Le fait est qu'en fait de journeaux je n'en reçois ici qu'un seul et qu'il me serait fort difficile d'obtenir ici tous les autres. Du reste quand je serai en passant à Moscou je chargerai une des demoiselles du magazin de Jurgenson de préparer cette collection et Vous l'envoyer.

Mon ami! Je V[ou]s remercie de tout mon cœur, Vous et M[ada]me Mackar, de vouloir bien V[ou]s charger de me caser pour les mois d'hiver que je passerai à Paris. Ce que je voudrais n'est pas une chambre d'Hotel (celui de Richepanse d'ailleurs me convient parfaitement et le patron et sa famille sont mes amis) mais un logement, meublé. Du reste nous en causerons à Paris. Ne m'en veuillez pas, mon cher ami, de ce que je n'ai pas pu venir à Paris cet hivers. En vérité les choses se sont arrangées de manière que j'en ai été empeché surtout par la necessité de terminer coute que coute mon opéra. Il me reste encore deux grands actes à instrumenter. C'est à Tiflis pour où je pars dans quelques jours que je terminerai ce gros travail. De là j'irai comme je V[ou]s l'ai annoncé à Paris et à Vichy. Mais ce qui est tout à fait sûr et bien formellement décidé c'est que je passerai l'hivers prochain à Paris. J'espère que V[ou]s serez content de moi et que nos affaires prendront un essor nouveau et qui nous avancera beaucoup.

Mes salutations les plus empressés pour M[ada]me Mackar et mille compliments aux amis Condemine. Je V[ou]s serre bien cordialement la main.

P. Tschaïkovsky

Je crois à mon très grand regret, que je n'aurai pas l'avantage de voir St Saëns, Taffanel et leurs amis.

Adressez lettres à Tiflis, Caucase, Russie, Rue Michel № 188

4/16 April 1887

My dear friend!

I am sorry not to be able to satisfy your wish to have all the newspaper articles that appeared on the occasion of my concert [1]. You see, as far as newspapers are concerned, I am only subscribed to one, and it would be very difficult for me to obtain the others here. Nevertheless, when I next pass through Moscow I shall ask one of the young ladies working at Jurgenson's shop to draw up such a compilation and to send it to you.

My friend! I thank you with all my heart — you and Madame Mackar — for being so kind as to offer to take care of my accommodation during the winter months that I shall spend in Paris [2]. What I am looking for is not a hotel room (though, incidentally, I would have nothing against the Hôtel Richepanse, where the owner and his family are my friends [3], but, rather, a furnished apartment. However, this is something we will discuss in Paris [4]. Don't be angry with me, my dear friend, because I was unable to come to Paris this winter. The truth is that things worked out in such a way that I was prevented from doing so above all by the need to complete my opera at all costs. I still have two large acts to orchestrate. It is in Tiflis, where I am setting off to in a few days' time, that I shall finish this huge task. From there, as I explained to you, I shall go to Paris and Vichy. However, what is completely certain, and indeed has been formally settled, is that I shall spend next winter in Paris [5]. I hope that you will be satisfied with me, and that our business dealings will receive a new impulse which will take us very far.

Give my most eager regards to Madame Mackar [6], and a thousand compliments to my friends, the Condemines [7]. I shake your hand very cordially,

P. Tchaikovsky

To my great regret, I think that I shall not have the benefit of seeing Saint-Saëns, Taffanel, and their friends [8].

Please address your letters as follows: Tiflis, Caucasus, Russia, 188 Mikhaylovskaya Street [9].

Notes and References

  1. The Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Society concert of 5/17 March 1887 at which Tchaikovsky had conducted several of his own works. After the premiere and subsequent two performances of Cherevichki at the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre earlier that year, this was Tchaikovsky's second major test as a conductor. The concert had 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.
  2. Tchaikovsky was intending to spend the whole of the winter of 1887/88 in Paris, but he abandoned that plan as soon as arrangements were made for his first European conducting tour during the same period. Paris then became just one of several stops on his itinerary, though certainly one of the most important.
  3. Monsieur and Madame Bélard, the proprietors of the Hôtel Richepanse where Tchaikovsky often stayed during his visits to Paris. They are mentioned several times in the composer's diaries, almost always in glowing terms.
  4. In earlier letters to Mackar, Tchaikovsky had announced his intention of visiting Paris in July or August. In the end his decision to keep the ailing Nikolay Kondratyev company in Aachen that summer meant that he was only able to steal away to Paris for a few days, from 2/14 to 4/16 August, during which he only managed to meet up with Mackar on the last day.
  5. Neither the plan of taking the waters at Vichy that summer, nor that of spending the winter of 1887/88 in Paris, as mentioned earlier, would work out.
  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 No. 60 in our Catalogue of Photographs.
  7. The brothers Henri and Charles Condemine who were friends of Mackar's, and whom Tchaikovsky had met at his publisher's house in Paris in the summer of 1886. Henri Condemine was a pianist.
  8. Since Tchaikovsky was intending to come to Paris at the end of July or in August, he did not expect to find most of his Parisian colleagues and friends in town.
  9. The address of Tchaikovsky's brother, Anatoly, who was then state prosecutor in Tiflis.