Letter 4784

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 12/24 October 1892
Addressed to Modest Tchaikovsky
Where written Klin
Language Russian
Autograph Location Klin (Russia): Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve (a3, No. 2008)
Publication Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 3 (1902), p. 574 (abridged)
П. И. Чайковский. Письма к близким. Избранное (1955), p. 520 (abridged)
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XVI-Б (1979), p. 177
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Letters to his family. An autobiography (1981), p. 521 (English translation; abridged)

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Brett Langston
12 окт[ября] [18]92

Спасибо, милый Модя, за письмецо. Карточку для милой Левкеевой посылаю. Вставь начальные буквы имени и отчества её перед фамилией. К сожалению, все имеющиеся у меня портреты на черном фоне, так что негде сделать надпись как следует. Поэтому я особенных нежностей не написал. Скажи ей, что как приеду в Петербург, достану карточку на белом фоне и тогда напишу целое изъяснение в любви. Работаю, очень усердно. Арию для Фигнера уже написал и послал. Теперь сижу над симфонией. Скоро и её кончу вчерне. У меня в доме тепло, уютно, хорошо. Но по вечерам я что-то стал тяготиться одиночеством и, признаться, меня тянет в Петербург, и именно на Фонтанку в № 24. Послезавтра еду в Москву на конкурс. Неделю тому назад в это время мы наслаждались игрой Свободина в Муромском, — где-то он теперь?...

Мой крестник, если я не ошибаюсь, безусловно, очарователен. У моего дьякона сильно отросли волосы. У Табачка сгорел сарай с хлебом и сеном. Вот и все новости.

До свиданья! Колю, Володю, Боба обнимаю и тебя тоже.

П. Чайковский

12 October 1892

Thank you, dear Modya, for your note. I'm sending you the photograph for dear Levkeyeva [1]. The initial letters of her first name and patronymic need to be inserted before her surname. Unfortunately all the portraits I have are on a black background, so there is nowhere to make an inscription afterwards. Because of this I did not write any special sentiments. Tell her that when I come to Petersburg I will bring a card on a white background and then write her a whole declaration of affection [2]. I'm working very hard. The aria for Figner has been written and sent off [3]. Now I'm sitting over the symphony. Soon it will be finished in rough. My house is warm, cosy and fine. But in the evenings I become somewhat weighed down by loneliness, and I confess that I am drawn to Saint Petersburg, and to No. 24 Fontanka in particular [4]. The day after tomorrow I'm going to Moscow for the contest [5]. This time last week we were enjoying Svobodin playing Muromsky — where is he now?[6]

My godson, if I'm not mistaken, is decidedly charming [7]. My hair is growing decidedly deacon-like. Tabachok's barn has burned down full of hay and grain [8]. That's all the news.

Farewell! Hugs to Kolya, Volodya, Bob and to you too.

P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. Yelizaveta Levkeyeva (1851-1904), opera artist at the Aleksandrinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg.
  2. The photograph sent by Tchaikovsky with this letter has not survived, but the Klin House-Museum Archive includes a later photograph bearing the inscription: "To Yelizaveta Ivanovna Levkeyeva from your ardent admirer P. Tchaikovsky".
  3. Between 7/19 and 12/24 October 1892, Tchaikovsky, responding to a request by Nikolay Figner, wrote an additional aria (romance) for the part of Vaudemont in the opera Iolanta (No. 6a, "No, the charm of caresses..."). Modest Tchaikovsky had sent him the words for this aria in a letter written on 29 July/10 August 1892.
  4. No. 24 Fontanka was the address of Modest Tchaikovsky and Nikolay Konradi's residence in Saint Petersburg.
  5. Tchaikovsky was one of the judges in a contest to appoint a new principal conductor for the Maly Theatre in Moscow.
  6. On 5/17 October 1892 Tchaikovsky attended the comedy "Krechinsky's wedding" (Свадьба Кречинского) by Alexander Sukhovo-Kobylin (1817-1903), in which the role of Muromsky had been performed by the actor Pavel Svobodin (1850-1892), who died suddenly just days after the performance.
  7. Georgy ("Yegor") Sofronov (1892-1948), who was the son of Tchaikovsky's servant Aleksey Sofronov.
  8. Tabachok was a farmer from the nearby village of Maydanovo.