Letter 3962

Date 20 October/1 November 1889
Addressed to Anton Chekhov
Where written Moscow
Language Russian
Autograph Location Moscow: Russian State Library
Publication Музыка в жизни и творчестве Чехова (1953), p. 32
Чеков и Чайковский (1962), p. 24 (abridged)
Чеков и Чайковский (1970), p. 105 (abridged)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XV-А (1976), p. 202

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
20 октября [18]89 г[ода]

Дорогой Антон Павлович!

Посылаю Вам билет на симфонические собрания Р[усского] Муз[ыкального] Общ[ества]. Ужасно рад, что могу Вам хоть немножко услужить. Сам не мог завезти, ибо вся эта неделя поглощена у меня приготовлением к 1-му концерту и ухаживанием за гостем нашим Римским-Корсаковым. Бог даст, на той неделе удастся побеседовать с Вами по душе.

Ваш П. Чайковский

Предваряю Вас, что билет, в случае желания, можете передавать кому угодно

20 October 1889

I am sending you a ticket for the symphonic concerts of the Russian Musical Society [1]. I am awfully glad that I can at least render you this small service. I wasn't able to deliver it myself, because this whole week is taken up for me with the preparations for our first concert and with having to look after our guest, Rimsky-Korsakov [2]. God willing, on that week I shall have a chance to have a heart-to-heart talk with you [3].

Yours P. Tchaikovsky

I would like to tell you beforehand that, if you should so wish, you can pass on the ticket to anyone you like [4].

Notes and References

  1. During the 1889–90 season Tchaikovsky was actively involved, both as an organizer and as a conductor, in the concerts of the Russian Musical Society, which was going through a period of crisis, with falling membership and attendance numbers. See Letter 3957 to Nadezhda von Meck, 12/24 October 1889.
  2. Tchaikovsky was not the conductor at this first symphonic concert of the Moscow branch of the Russian Musical Society (for which Rimsky-Korsakov had come over specially from Saint Petersburg), but he would conduct the second concert of the season on 28 October/9 November 1889. The programme of that later concert consisted of a symphony in D major by Mozart, Tchaikovsky's own Violin Concerto (soloist: Adolph Brodsky), the Dances from Mozart's opera Idomeneo, the overture to Taneyev's opera Oresteia, violin pieces by Spohr and Sarasate (played by Brodsky), and Glinka's Jota aragonesa.
  3. At their meeting six days earlier, on 14/26 October, Tchaikovsky and Chekhov had discussed the possibility of collaborating on an opera. A few months later Chekhov would suggest a story by Lermontov, one of his favourite writers, as the basis for a libretto, but unfortunately nothing came of the projected opera Béla.
  4. Despite his love of music Chekhov was evidently too busy to be able to attend concerts regularly and he passed on this season ticket to his sister Mariya Pavlovna Chekhova (1863-1957). She later wrote in her memoirs: "Those were very interesting concerts, at which the composers themselves conducted the performances of their own works. During that whole winter I was delighted to be able to go to the Column Hall [of the Assembly of the Nobility] using Tchaikovsky's ticket and enjoy the magnificent concerts. Once I was at a concert featuring works by some composer whom I didn't know and I saw P. I. Tchaikovsky in the hall. He was sitting by the edge of the podium, behind the columns, and listening to the music. My seat was nearby, and that whole evening I could not tear my eyes off Tchaikovsky—so great was the enchantment of his personality". Quoted from Воспоминания о П. И. Чайковском (1980), p. 206.