Letter 3961a

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 19/31 October 1889
Addressed to Vasily Sapelnikov
Where written Moscow
Language Russian and French
Autograph Location New Haven (Connecticut, USA): Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Publication Чайковский. Новые документы и материалы (2003), p. 97–98
Notes Formerly numbered 3958a (with incorrect date of 14/26 October 1889)

Text and Translation

Russian and French text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
19 окт[ября] [18]89 г[ода]
Москва. Пречистенка,
Троицкий переулок, д[ом] № 6

Голубчик Вася!

Не знаю найдёт ли ещё тебя это письмо в Иттере. Твоё я давно получил, но отвечать решительно некогда было; кроме всевозможных занятий и хлопот по делам Музык[ального] Общ[ества], я должен был написать целую балетную сцену, а теперь я все дни провожу с Римским-Корсаковым, который приехал дирижировать нашим первым концертом вместе (т. е. приехал вместе) с обожаемым Фелей.

Успокойся. Николаев, узнав, что я очень недоволен заключённым с тобою контрактом, разорвал его и подпись твою отдал мне. Можешь смело ехать в Питер и я буду ужасно рад тебя видеть. Относительно, Colonn'а советую тебе написать ему следующее письмо:


Vous avez eu l'extrème complaisance il y a 9 mois de me promettre une invitation pour un des concerts de Chatelet. Je dois Vous avouer que j'y tiens énormément et si telle est toujours Votre intention veuillez me faire savoir quand je pourrai avoir l'honneur de prendre part à un de Vos concerts, car en vue de plusieurs invitations en Allemagne et en Angleterre — je voudrais dès à present disposer de mon temps de manière à ne pouvoir empècher en rien mon voyage pour Paris, dès que Vous aurez la bonté de m'y apeller.

Recevez, Monsieur, l'assurance de mon très profond respect.

W. S[apelnikoff]

На следующей неделе концерт, коим я дирижирую. Программа:

1) Симфония D-dur Моцарта
2) Концерт для скрипки Чайковского (Бродский)
3) Отрывки из Идоменея Моцарта
4) Увертюра Танеева
5) Мелкие пиэсы для скрипки
6) Аррагонская хота Глинки.

Засим Вася, целую тебя. Писать некогда! Кланяйся С[офье] О[сиповне].

Прости, что скверно пишу

П. Чайковский

Весь ноябрь и часть декабря проведу в Петербурге.

19 October 1889
Moscow. Prechistenka [Street],
Troitsky Lane, House Nr. 6

Golubchik Vasya!

I don't know whether this letter will still reach you at Itter. I received yours long ago, but I simply haven't had the time to reply to it [until now]. Apart from all kinds of activities and efforts on behalf of the [Russian] Musical Society, I had to write a whole ballet scene [1], and now I am spending all my days in the company of Rimsky-Korsakov, who has come to conduct our first concert [2] together with adorable Felya [3] (that is, he came together with him).

Don't worry. Nikolayev [4], on learning that I was very unhappy with the contract he had made with you, tore it up and gave me [the part of the page with] your signature. So you can go ahead and come to Piter — I shall be awfully glad to see you. With regard to Colonne I recommend that you write him the following letter:


You were so extremely obliging nine months ago as to promise me an invitation for one of the concerts at the [Théâtre du] Châtelet. I must confess to you that I desire this enormously, and if such is still your intention, would you be so kind as to let me know when I may have the honour of taking part in one of your concerts, because in view of several invitations to Germany and England that I have, I would like to be able to dispose of my time from now on so that nothing can prevent my travelling to Paris as soon as you kindly summon me there.

Please accept, Sir, this assurance of my very profound respect.

Next week there is a concert at which I am conducting. The programme is:

1) Symphony in D major by Mozart
2) Violin Concerto by Tchaikovsky (Brodsky)
3) Excerpts from Mozart's Idomeneo
4) Overture by Taneyev [5]
5) Small pieces for violin
6) Jota aragonesa by Glinka

With that, Vasya, I kiss you. I don't have the time to write! Give my regards to Sofya Osipovna.

Forgive me for writing so sloppily.

P. Tchaikovsky

I'll be spending all of November and part of December in Petersburg

Notes and References

  1. Although Tchaikovsky had completed the orchestral score of The Sleeping Beauty on 20 August/1 September 1889, during the rehearsals of his ballet at the Saint Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre in October the directors asked him to write music for an additional scene in Act III featuring Cinderella and Prince Fortuné.
  2. Rimsky-Korsakov had come over specially from Saint Petersburg to conduct the first symphonic concert of the season for the Moscow branch of the Russian Musical Society. Tchaikovsky himself would conduct the second concert on 28 October/9 November 1889.
  3. Feliks Mikhaylovich Blumenfeld (1863–1931), pianist, conductor, and composer. Feliks was the younger brother of Stanislav Mikhaylovich Blumenfeld (1850-1897), a piano teacher in Kiev who was the father of Tatyana Davydova's illegitimate son Georges-Léon — "Felya" was identified as Feliks Blumenfeld by Alexander Poznansky in Письма Чайковского в Йельском университете (США) (2003), p. 97.
  4. It has not been possible to establish the identity of Nikolayev — note by Alexander Poznansky in Письма Чайковского в Йельском университете (США) (2003), p. 97.
  5. The overture to Sergey Taneyev's opera Oresteia, which he had not yet completed in its entirety.