Letter 3910

Date 27 July/8 August 1889
Addressed to Désirée Artôt-Padilla
Where written Frolovskoye
Language French
Autograph Location Munich (Germany): Tchaikovsky Foundation
Publication П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XV-А (1976), p. 161

Text and Translation

French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
27 Juillet/8 août 1889

Chère, bonne, très respectée Madame!

Je viens d'apprendre par M[ada]me Mouromtzewa que Vous n'avez pas encore mes Lieder!! J'en ai eu une insomnie et ne saurai Vous exprimer combien M[onsieu]r Jurgenson et sa manière d'agir me désespèrent. Et voila bientôt un quart de siècle que j'ai affaire à cet homme! Il est d'une distraction, d'un désordre inimaginable! Heureusement j'ai ici un exemplaire de l'édition allemande et je m'empresse de Vous l'envoyer en Vous suppliant de ne pas m'en vouloir! Je Vous jure que ce n'est pas ma faute! Figurez-Vous que l'édition russe depuis le moi de Septembre est toujours en train de paraitre mais ne parait pas!!! Mais il aurait pu depuis longtemps Vous envoyer des épreuves! Enfin tout est bien qui fini bien.

Chère Madame, je Vous écrirai une autre fois pour Vous raconter tout ce que j'ai fait depuis le moi de Février 1889; maintenant je n'ai que le temps de Vous écrire ces quelques lignes. Recevez, chère Madame, l'expression de mon respect et de mon affection inalterable!

Tout à Vous,

P. Tschaikowsky

27 July/8 August 1889

Dear, kind, and most respected Madam!

I recently found out from Madame Muromtseva [1] that you do not have my Lieder [2] yet!! This has caused me a sleepless night, and I cannot convey to you how much Mr Jurgenson and his way of acting drive me to despair. And yet soon it will be twenty-five years since I started having dealings with him! His absentmindedness, his disorderliness is inconceivable! Fortunately, I have here a copy of the German edition [3], and I hasten to send it to you whilst begging you at the same time not to be angry with me! I swear to you that this is not my fault! Just imagine: since September the Russian edition has been supposed to come out soon, and yet it still hasn't appeared!!![4] All the same he could have sent you some proofs long ago! Anyway, all's well that ends well.

Dear Madame, I shall write to you on another occasion to tell you everything that I have been doing since February 1889 [5]; now I only just have enough time to write you these few lines. Please accept, dear Madame, the assurance of my respect and my unchanging affection!

Yours ever,

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. The soprano Mariya Klimentova-Muromtseva had sent Tchaikovsky an undated letter from the seaside town of Etretat in Normandy where she was studying with Désirée Artôt. Note in П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XV-А (1976), p. 162, note 1.
  2. The Six French Songs, Op. 65, which Tchaikovsky had composed in October 1888 for Désirée Artôt, to whom they are dedicated.
  3. Sechs Lieder für eine Singstimme mit Begleitung des Pianoforte. Op. 65 (Hamburg: D. Rahter, 1889). Note in П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XV-А (1976), p. 162, note 2.
  4. After completing the Six French Songs, Tchaikovsky had written to Désirée Artôt from Frolovskoye on 17/29 October 1888 to ask her whether she wished to wait until they had been published before acquainting herself with the songs, or whether she would like a handwritten copy immediately. Artôt had replied from Berlin on 27 October/8 November that she would wait until they were published so as not to cause any extra trouble, and asked Tchaikovsky to instruct Jurgenson to send her a copy as soon as the edition came out. See Artôt's letter in Чайковский и зарубежные музыканты (1970), p. 194–195. Evidently Jurgenson had forgotten to do so. As for Tchaikovsky, he did not have a copy of the Russian edition, although the songs had already come out in the spring, at some point between April and May 1889, because he had had to go through the proofs during his European conducting tour and only returned to Russia in April. See letter 3813 to Jurgenson from Hamburg on 4/16 March 1889. Note in П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XV-А (1976), p. 162, note 3.
  5. No other letter to Artôt later in 1889 has come to light, and in Tchaikovsky's next extant letter to her, from Florence on 25 February/9 March 1890, he speaks not of his earlier work, but of his new opera, The Queen of Spades.