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Were the songs Tchaikovsky composed on German and French texts written in the original languages or composed with the Russian translation?

Hope somebody knows. It is my understanding that he set them in the original languages first and later they were all translated in to Russian.


Michael Angell
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tchaikovsky normally set his songs to Russian versions of the source texts, leaving his publishers to commission translations of the texts into other languages—particularly German, French, English or Polish. One of the few exceptions to this rule was the Six French Songs (Op. 65), which were written to the French texts, with Russian translations following later.

Richard D. Sylvester's recent book Tchaikovsky's Complete Songs (ISBN 0–253–34041–1) examines in detail how Tchaikovsky modified his texts to suit their musical settings, and even came up with his own verses when the occasion called for it.

Hope this helps

Brett Langston

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This page was last updated on 05 November 2013