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Tchaikovsky's Nieces

I really appreciate your perfect site about tchaikovsky. When I am reading the life information of Aleksandra (sister) and her daughters Tatyana and Vera, I wanted to know the reason for dying of those people, particularly about daughters’ death as they were very young. Could you please help me about this question. Thanks and best regards.

Levent Özübek

Thank you for your interesting question. The death of his niece Tatiana in 1887 came as a particular shock to Tchaikovsky, because she was only 25 years old and had been in good health. All that is known is that she suddenly collapsed and died during a masked ball in Saint Petersburg, and the exact cause of death, it seems, was never established.

On the other hand Tatiana's sister Vera died in 1889 after months of illness suffering from tuberculosis, a wasting disease which affected her lungs and intestines. Her widower, Nikolai Aleksandrovich Rimskii-Korsakov (no relation to the composer of that name), later marred Vera's younger sister Natalia, who died in 1956, in her 88th year.

The girls' mother Aleksandra, or "Sasha" as she was known to the composer, died in 1891, after enduring long period of poor health throughout the 1880s, as a result of which it is said she had become addicted to morphine and alcohol. She was just 49 years old.

Brett Langston

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This page was last updated on 05 November 2013