Letter 3787a

Date 5/17 February 1889
Addressed to Jules Massenet
Where written Dresden
Language French
Autograph Location unknown [1]
Publication Lettres autographes et correspondances diverses adressées principalement au maître et à M[ada]me Massenet. Vente Henri Baudoin, Paris, hôtel Drouot, 8 décembre 1938 (item no. 22; extracts only) [2]
Tchaikovsky Research Bulletin No. 1 (February 2011), p. 45 (with English translation)
Чайковский. Новые материалы к творческой биографии (2013), p. 397 (with Russian translation, p. 398)
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Reproduced by kind permission of the Artcurial auction-house, Paris

Text and Translation

French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
17 Fevrier 1889

Cher maitre!

Votre bonne lettre m'a ratrappé à Dresde et je m'empresse de Vous dire que j'ai été on ne peut plus content et heureux de ce que Vous ayez accepté notre invitation. Vous ne sauriez croire combien on s'en réjouira à Moscou, où j'ai deja annoncé par télègraphe la bonne nouvelle.

Je serai à Paris dans le courant du mois de Mars et tâcherai de Vous voir ne fût-ce que pour un moment pour Vous remercier de vive voix et aussi pour obtenir des renseignements plus ou moins prècis quant à la dâte de Votre concert moscovite.

Donc au reoir! Recevez l'expression de ma vive admiration et de ma grande reconnaissance!

P. Tchaïkovsky

17 February 1889

Dear maestro!

Your kind letter caught up with me in Dresden, and I hasten to tell you that I was tremendously pleased and happy at your acceptance of our invitation [3]. You cannot imagine how much joy this will cause in Moscow, where I have already broken the good news by means of a telegram.

I shall be in Paris in the course of March, and shall attempt to see you, if only for a moment, so as to thank you in person and also to obtain some more or less accurate information regarding the date of your Moscow concert.

And so until we meet! Receive this assurance of my keen admiration and of my great gratitude!

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. The autograph was auctioned on 20 November 2020 by Aguttes, Paris [1]; it had previously been sold on 14 December 2010 by Artcurial, Paris, and was then owned by the Musée des lettres et manuscrits in the French capital, until the closure of that institution in 2015.
  2. A scan of the relevant page in this auction catalogue was kindly provided by Jean-Christophe Branger of the Université Jean Monnet in Saint-Etienne, who also mentions this letter in the introduction to his book Manon de Jules Massenet, ou, Le crépuscule de l'opéra-comique (Metz, 1999), p. 10, note 8.
  3. During his second conducting tour of Western Europe Tchaikovsky sought to help the Moscow branch of the Russian Musical Society (which had recently lost its principal conductor, Max Erdmannsdörfer) by inviting, in the name of the society, several prominent European musicians and composers to conduct concerts there during the 1889–90 season. Thus, in a letter to Pyotr Jurgenson the same day he wrote: "As far as Klindworth and Dvořák are concerned, I shall find out very soon. I've received a letter from Massenet. He enthusiastically accepts our offer, but requests that the decision about the exact dates be postponed, since this depends on the fate of his new opera [Esclarmonde] ... I am now trying to invite Brahms" (see Letter 3787). According to the editors of the Soviet collected edition of Tchaikovsky's correspondence (1959–1981), the location of Massenet's letter to Tchaikovsky is unknown. Several weeks later, on 21 March/2 April 1889, Tchaikovsky would report to Jurgenson again from Paris: "I have met up with Massenet several times; he is very flattered and glad to come to Russia. He still can't give an exact date, but would prefer to come in the spring [of 1890]" (see Letter 3826). In the end, though, Massenet did not conduct any concerts in Russia, nor did he ever visit the country.