Letter 3469

Date 12/24 January 1888
Addressed to Marie von Bülow
Where written Magdeburg
Language French
Autograph Location London (England): The British Library, Manuscripts Division. Manuscripts Division (Egerton MS 3246, ff. 1–2b)
Publication Makers of Music. Biographical Sketches of Great Composers (1913), p. 238–239 (facsimile of last page) [1]
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIV (1974), p. 332–333

Text and Translation

French text
(original)
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Magdebourg
24 Janvier 1888

Madame!

J'ai une grande prière à Vous adresser. Veuillez intercéder pour moi auprès de M[onsieu]r von Bülow. J'avais l'intention de Vous faire part de vive voix de la chose que je vais Vous dire par ecrit, mais malheureusement un concours de circonstances fâcheuses m'a empêché de venir chez Vous encore une fois, comme j'en avais l'intention. Voici de quoi il s'agit.

Un musicien de l'orchestre Philharmonique, M[onsieur] Burmester est venu me trouver la veille de mon départ de Hambourg et m'a fait entendre ses deux enfants: une deMoyselle, élève de Liszt, et un jeune homme élève de Joachim. Il m'a semblé que ces jeunes artistes avaient du talent, surtout le jeune homme, et je leur ai dit. Ensuite ils m'ont supplié de les présenter à M[onsieu]r Bülow et comme il devait partir ce jour-là, j'ai répondu que c'était impossible, mais que je pouvais leur donner une lettre de recommandation, avec laquelle ils pourraient se présenter chez Vous. Je sais que M[onsieu]r Bülow a si peu de temps à passer chez lui entre ses voyages, je sais que son temps est bien précieux et que cela le dérangerait, mais tout de même je n'ai pas eu le courage de refuser et j'ai donné la lettre. Les Burmester certainement en profiteront et viendront reclamer le quart d'heure auquel ils croient avoir droit à cause de ma lettre.

Je voulais dire tout cela à M[onsieu]r Hans von Bülow hier à Berlin, — et je l'ai oublié! Veuillez donc, Madame, avoir l'extrême bonté de prévenir M[onsieu]r Bülow, qu'un de ces jours, par ma faute, il sera dérangé. Veuillez lui dire aussi que je lui demande bien pardon et le prie, si cela est possible, d'accorder aux jeunes Burmester l'honneur de les entendre

Je prends la liberté de Vous ecrire, pour ne pas déranger M[onsieu]r Votre mari, qui doit avoir demain une répétition et un concert.

Madame, je Vous prie de croire à mon profond respect et le dévouement avec lequel j'ai l'honneur d'être

P. Tschaïkovsky

Magdeburg
24 January 1888

Madame!

I have a big request to address to you [2]. Would you please intercede with Monsieur von Bülow on my behalf? I was intending to communicate to you in person what I am now going to tell you in writing, but unfortunately a coincidence of annoying circumstances has prevented me from coming to visit you again, as I had intended. Here is what my request is about.

A musician from the Philharmonic Orchestra, Monsieur Burmester, called on me on the eve of my departure from Hamburg and bade me listen to his two children: a young lady who has studied with Liszt, and a young man who has studied with Joachim. I got the impression that these young artists were talented, especially the young man, and I told them so. Then they begged me to introduce them to Monsieur Bülow, and since he had to leave that very day, I replied that it was impossible, but that I could give them a letter of recommendation with which they could present themselves at your house. I know that Monsieur Bülow has so little time to spend at home in between his travels, I know that his time is very precious and that this would disturb him, but all the same I did not have the courage to refuse and I gave them the letter. The Burmesters will certainly make use of it and come to claim the quarter of an hour which they believe themselves to be entitled to on the strength of my letter.

I wanted to say all this to Monsieur Hans von Bülow yesterday in Berlin — and I forgot about it! Would you therefore be so extremely kind, Madame, as to warn Monsieur Bülow that because of my fault he will be disturbed one of these days? Please also tell him that I beg his pardon many times and that I request him, if it is possible, to grant the young Burmesters the honour of an audition

I take the liberty of writing to you so as not to disturb your husband, who is supposed to be having a rehearsal and a concert tomorrow.

Madame, I ask you to believe in my profound respect and the devotion with which I have the honour of subscribing myself

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. The caption reads: "Facsimile, slightly reduced, of a page of a letter from Tchaikovsky to Frau von Bülow, dated from Magdeburg, January 24, 1888 [Reproduced by kind permission of the owner of the letter, Edward Speyer, Esq.]".
  2. This is a letter of recommendation for the young violinist Willy Burmester and his sister Johanna, who had trained as a pianist. Tchaikovsky had met them and their father in Hamburg in January 1888 during his first concert tour to Western Europe. See also Letter 3467 to Édouard Colonne, 10/22 January 1888.