Letter 924

Tchaikovsky Research
Date 28 September/10 October 1878
Addressed to Sergey Taneyev
Where written Moscow
Language Russian
Autograph Location Moscow: Russian State Archive of Literature and Art (ф. 880)
Publication Письма П. И. Чайковского и С. И. Танеева (1874-1893) [1916], p. 34
П. И. Чайковский. С. И. Танеев. Письма (1951), p. 39
П. И. Чайковский. Полное собрание сочинений, том VII (1962), p. 410–411
Notes Dated according to a note by Sergey Taneyev: "Received 28 September 1878"

Text and Translation

Russian text
English translation
By Luis Sundkvist
Милый Серёжа!

Н[иколай] Г[ригорьевич] сказал мне вчера, что фортепианный класс, который он Вам предлагает, есть не что иное, как предлог Вам проникнуть в консерваторию так, чтобы никто не догадался, что Вы предназначаетесь для замены меня. Он желает, чтобы никто покамест не знал о предстоящем моём выходе. Как только я уйду, ф[орте]п[ианные] Ваши уроки прекратятся. Вы будете покамест давать их в количестве лишь двух часов в неделю. Поэтому я весьма прошу Вас согласиться и на ф[ортеpианные] уроки. Недолго Вам придётся возиться с ними. Мысль Н[иколая] Г[ригорьевича] совершенно согласна с моей. Я уйду отсюда совершенно незаметно, т. е. уеду как бы по семейным делам в деревню и оттуда уже напишу, что по болезни приехать не могу. Таким образом, дабы никто не догадался о цели Вашего появления в сонмище консерваторских преподавателей, весьма хорошо, если Вы на время поскучаете за ф[орте]п[ианными] уроками. В разговоре с Руб[инштейном] не обнаруживайте, что Вам известно моё предположение улетучиться. Боже мой! какую бесконечную felicit'у я запою, когда настанет день моего исчезновения. И какую громадную услугу Вы оказываете мне!

Ваш, П. Чайковский

Dear Serezha!

Nikolay Grigoryevich told me yesterday that the piano class which he is proposing you to take charge of is nothing but a pretext for you to get into the Conservatory in such a way that no one can guess that you have been selected to replace me [1]. He wishes that for the time being no one should know about my imminent retirement. As soon as I leave, your piano lessons will come to an end. For the time being, you will be giving these at the rate of just two hours a week. I therefore urge you very much to consent to the piano lessons as well. You won't have to busy yourself with them for long. Nikolay Grigoryevich's idea is entirely in agreement with mine. I shall leave here quite imperceptibly, that is, I shall depart for the country ostensibly so as to attend to family matters, and from there I shall then write that I cannot come back due to illness. Consequently, so that no one can guess at the purpose of your appearing amidst the swarm of Conservatory lecturers, it would be extremely good if you could take on these boring piano lessons for a while. In conversation with Rubinstein, please do not reveal that you know about my intention of vanishing. My God! Into what an endless [hymn of] felicity shall I break when the day of my disappearance arrives! And what a tremendous service you are rendering me!

Yours, P. Tchaikovsky

Notes and References

  1. In order to devote himself entirely to creative work and certain of the financial support of Nadezhda von Meck, Tchaikovsky had decided to give up his teaching post at the Moscow Conservatory and to go abroad again. He had agreed in advance with the director, Nikolay Rubinstein, how his departure from the Conservatory was to be presented to the outside world. None of the professors was to know about his plans for the time being. In connection with this, he wrote to his benefactress: "I shall leave for Petersburg on the pretext of family matters, without any seeings-off, farewells, etc. Then, two weeks later, I shall write a letter from there explaining that my poor health prevents me from going back. Meanwhile, Rubinstein has already taken measures for the appointment of my successor, and I can leave in the highly comforting knowledge that I am being replaced by someone who is no less adept than I am in detecting [parallel] fifths and octaves. That someone is Taneyev. For the time being, in order to avert rumours, Rubinstein has taken him on in the capacity of a piano teacher, but, as soon as I leave, he will take over my classes, except for the instrumentation class, which will be taught by Nikolay Grigoryevich himself " (Letter 927 to Nadezhda von Meck, 30 September/12 October 1878) — note based on Vladimir Zhdanov's note in П. И. Чайковский. С. И. Танеев. Письма (1951), p. 39.