Letter 4842

Date 4/16 January 1893
Addressed to Vladimir Nápravník
Where written Paris
Language Russian
Autograph Location unknown
Publication Е. Ф. Направник. Автобиографические, творческие материалы, документы, письма (1959), p. 200–201
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том XVII (1981), p. 16
Notes Typed copy in Klin (Russia): Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve

Text and Translation

Based on a typed copy in the Klin House-Museum Archive (omitting the signature), which may contain differences in formatting and content from Tchaikovsky's original letter.

Russian text
(original)
English translation
By Brett Langston
Париж
4/16 яив[аря 18]93

Милый мой Володя!

Прости, голубчик, что на два милейших твоих письма я отвечаю лишь сегодня. Я вчера вечером вернулся из Брюсселя, где суета, сопряженная с репетициями, концертом, знакомствами и т. д., не давала мне ни минуты досуга. Концерт имел блестящий успех. Оркестр был большой и очень хороший, но вследствие привычки играть с рутинным плохим капельмейстером—не привыкший соблюдать нюансы, так что добиться от них р и рр было невероятно трудно. Перед Брюсселем я прожил целую неделю в Париже, избегая знакомых и стараясь всяческими средствами заглушить снедающую меня тоску. Впрочем, часто видался с Зилоти и его женой. Теперь придётся сделать несколько визитов более или менее официального характера, а затем направиться в Одессу ближайшим путём. Я дал себе клятву отныне никогда не ездить одному, да и вообще как можно больше сидеть дома: года уж не те, чтобы как мячик перескакивать из одного угла Европы в другой. Здесь в «Фигаро» появилась статья по поводу Lamoureux, в которой была масса таких глупостей, возмутительной лжи и пакости, что я загорелся [жела]нием отвечать и написал письма и очень мягко опровержение, которое редакция «Фигаро», несмотря на хлопоты моего знакомого русско-французского журналиста, не приняла. Она появилась в газете гораздо менее читаемой. Скажи Папаше, что колоколов, о которых я обещал узнать, в Брюсселе нет; они были там на выставке 3 года тому назад. Но мне обещали разузнать подробности. Впрочем, капельмейстер оперы не одобряет их. Запонки и пуговки привезу. Засим целую тебя крепко.

Тысяча нежностей родителям, сестрам и Коте.

Твой [П. Чайковский]

Напиши, дружок, в Одессу; гост[иница] «Лондон».

Paris
4/16 January 1893

My dear Volodya

Forgive me, golubchik, for answering your two most kind letters only today [1]. I returned last night from Brussels, where I had all the commotion that comes with rehearsals, concerts, acquaintances, etc., which didn't allow me a spare moment. The concert was a brilliant success [2]. The orchestra was large and very good, but because they had become used to playing for a mediocre conductor, they were unaccustomed to observing nuances, such that to obtain both р and рр from them was remarkably difficult. Before Brussels I spent a whole week in Paris, avoiding acquaintances and attempting all manner of means to stifle the melancholy that was consuming me. However, I often saw Ziloti and his wife. Now I have to make several visits of a more or less official character, and then make my way to Odessa by the shortest route [3]. I swore an oath to myself that I would never travel alone again, and that I would generally stay at home as much as possible: yet already this year here I am bouncing like a ball between one corner of Europe and another. An article concerning Lamoureux has appeared in "Figaro" here, which has contained a plethora of stupid, outrageous lies [4], that I was inflamed with a desire to respond: I wrote a letter and very measured refutation, which the editor of "Figaro", despite the efforts of my Russian-French journalist friend, did not accept. It appeared in a newspaper with a much smaller circulation [5]. Tell your Papasha that the bells I promised to find out about were not in Brussels; they had been there at the exhibition 3 years ago. The conductor of the opera doesn't approve of them, however, he promised to find out more details for me. I'll bring the cuff-links and buttons [6]. And with that, I kiss you warmly.

A thousand tender greetings to your parents, sisters and Kotya.

Yours [P. Tchaikovsky]

Write to me, young friend, in Odessa at the hotel "London".

Notes and References

  1. Letters from Vladimir Nápravník to Tchaikovsky dated 21 December 1892/2 January 1893, and 28 December 1892/9 January 1893.
  2. At a concert of his own works on 2/14 January 1893 Tchaikovsky conducted his Suite No. 3, the Piano Concerto No. 1 (soloist Franz Rummel), the suite from The Nutcracker, the Serenade for String Orchestra, and the overture The Year 1812.
  3. Tchaikovsky arrived in Odessa on 12/24 January 1893 to rehearse and conduct five concerts, as well as attending rehearsals and a production of The Queen of Spades by Ivan Grekov's opera company.
  4. On 8 January 1893 [N.S.] the French newspaper Le Figaro published an article by the journalist André Maurel (1863–1943) entitled "Un voyage musical en Russie", concerning the French conductor Charles Lamoureux (1834–1899), who had been on a concert tour of Saint Petersburg and Moscow in December 1892. The article contained several slurs against Russian musicians (including Anton Rubinstein and Vasily Safonov), as well as the pianist Hans von Bülow, who had been a great champion of Tchaikovsky's music. Modest Tchaikovsky later translated Maurel's article into Russian and included it in his biography of his brother — see Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 3 (1997), p. 523–524.
  5. See Letter 4837, 29 December 1892/10 January 1893, to Michel Delines (the "journalist friend" to whom Tchaikovsky referred), which was published in Lettre à M. Deligne, 13 January 1893 [N.S.].
  6. Tchaikovsky had promised to buy these items for Vladimir Nápravník while he was in Paris.