Letter 3689

Date 8/20 October 1888
Addressed to Willy Burmester
Where written Frolovskoye
Language German
Autograph Location unknown
Publication Fünfzig Jahre Künstlerleben (1926), p. 66–67
Музыкальное наследство, том 1 (1962), p. 369
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XIV (1974), p. 557–558
Čajkovskijs Homosexualität und sein Tod. Legenden und Wirklichkeit (1998), p. 279 [1]
Notes Original incorrectly dated "2/20 October"

Text and Translation

Based on its 1926 publication in Fünfzig Jahre Künstlerleben, which may contain differences in formatting and content from Tchaikovsky's original letter.

German text
(original)
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Frolowskoye
2/20 Oktober 1888

Lieber Freund Willy!

Sie können ganz sicher sein, dass ich keine Gelegenheit ungenützt vorüberlassen werde, um Sie öffentlich spielen zu lassen. Aber meine Macht ist leider gar nicht so gross, wie Sie es [zu] glauben scheinen. Ein Herr Wolff könnte für Sie viel mehr tun. Ich habe einige Einladungen für Deutschland, aber keine Tournee in Absicht. Herr Zet (mein Vertreter) möchte mich in Skandinavien eine Tournee machen lassen, aber ich weiss noch bis jetzt nicht, ob das ernst ist. Wenn die Sache geschieht, ich werde an Zet sagen, daß Sie müssen mit mir sein—das wäre ja wirklich sehr angenehm für mich. Also wollen wir sehen später was zu machen ist! Jetzt auf [dem] Lande weiss ich gar nichts. Erwarten Sie einen Brief von mir aus Petersburg nach einigen Wochen!

Einen Gruss an [Ihren] Papa und [Ihre] Schwester.

Ich umarme Sie.

P. Tschaikowsky

Frolovskoye
2/20 October 1888

Dear friend Willy!

You can be quite certain that I will not let any opportunity of getting you to play in public slip by unused [2]. But my power is unfortunately not at all as great as you seem to think. A certain Herr Wolff would be able to do much more for you. I have some invitations to Germany, but no plans for a concert tour. Herr Zet (my representative) [3] would like me to go on a tour of Scandinavia, but I do not yet know whether this is realistic. If this works out, I shall tell Zet that you must come with me—that would really be very pleasant for me. So let us wait and see what is to be done! Right now, as I am in the country, I know nothing at all. Await a letter from me from Petersburg in a few weeks' time![4]

A greeting for your Papa and your sister.

I embrace you.

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. The following notes are based partly on Thomas Kohlhase's commentary in Paris vant bien une messe! Bisher unbekannte Briefe, Notenautographie und andere Čajkovskij-Funde (1998), p. 279.
  2. Tchaikovsky is replying here to a letter from Willy Burmester, dated Hamburg, 12 October 1888 [N.S.]. In this letter, which has been published in Paris vant bien une messe! Bisher unbekannte Briefe, Notenautographie und andere Čajkovskij-Funde (1998), p. 278–279, the young violinist asked Tchaikovsky if he could take part in his second German concert tour in the coming winter (by which he was evidently referring to Tchaikovsky's remark in letter 3659 that he might perhaps be returning to Hamburg during the coming concert season).
  3. Julius Zet (in Russia: Yuly Tset) was for many years secretary to the pianist Sophie Menter, and it was through her that he met Tchaikovsky. In 1888 he became the composer's representative in his negotiations with Western European concert agents. Tchaikovsky thought very highly of Zet's personal qualities, but the latter did not have a good eye for business and many of his ambitious enterprises fell through. He left Russia in 1891 and never went back again. See Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 3 (1997), p. 229, note 1.
  4. It is not clear whether Tchaikovsky did actually write to Burmester from Saint Petersburg. In any case, no such letter has been preserved.