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Tchaikovsky Photograph

Does anybody have any more details on the following 1893 photograph

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I think it is the more revealing of Tchaikovsky in his last years or last year. Does anybody know the whereabouts of the original and/or if there were any more taken of Tchaikovsky during this particular 'shoot'.

Thank you,

Rob Grace

I understand that this photograph was at one time claimed to have been of Tchaikovsky), but a team of forensic specialists who conducted an investigation during the 1990s concluded that it was certainly not the composer. In fact, if you compare it with other photographs taken during Tchaikovsky's last months, there are clear differences in the facial features (nose, ears, etc.). My colleague Mr Poznansky may be able to add more on this subject, as he compiled the Catalogue of Photographs for our The Tchaikovsky Handbook.

Brett Langston

This photograph was reproduced in some recent biographies of Tchaikovsky (especially in books by Alexandra Orlova and David Brown) with the claim that it represents the composer in 1893, implying that he was in a critical psychological condition and on the verge of suicide. In 1989 an examination was conducted by the Tchaikovsky House Museum in Klin and the Department of Forensic Medicine in Moscow (Russia). The investigation proved that the identification of Tchaikovsky with the man on the photograph is wrong; the identity of the latter is unknown.

Moreover, when I had personally examined this picture in the Archive of Institute of Arts in Saint Petersburg, I found out that this photo was taken in the 20th century, no other shoots exist, and it came from unknown source.

Alexander Poznansky

Brett & Alexander,

Thank you for your response with regard to this picture. I have to say that I am disappointed it is not Tchaikovsky—the black rings beneath the eyes have always appeared to me 'burning the candles at both ends' composer—authentic.

I am about to purchase both volumes of The Tchaikovsky Handbook, do these contain all known photographs of Tchaikovsky?

Also, I am thinking of purchasing the facsimile score of Symphony no 6 from OMI at $450, not sure if I can get it cheaper somewhere else? Would you know if any other symphonies are available in facsimile format, in particular No 4 ?

Is it possible to view Tchaikovsky's original MS of No 6 which I believe, correct me if I'm wrong is in the Central Glinka Museum of Music Culture, Moscow?



The Handbook does contain all the photographs of Tchaikovsky that we were able to trace—totalling 129 in all (including his death mask), each reproduced photographically at around 2 to 3 inches in size.

It sounds as though you're ordering the facsimile edition of the Pathétique produced as part of the New Edition of the Complete Works (NCE) but you may be able to track down "P. Tchaikovsky: Sixth Symphony, “Pathétique”. Preface, research and commentary by Galina Pribegina; tr. from the Russian by Xenia Danko (Moscow: State Music Publishers, 1970)". While the images may not be of the same quality as the new edition, it may be serve your requirements just as well. It is now out of print though, so either a second-hand or library copy would have to suffice.>

As far as I'm aware, ths Sixth is the only one of Tchaikovsky's symphonies to have been published in autograph facsimile. Access to the original manuscript in the Glinka Museum is normally restricted in order to protect it from handling damage, but you'd really need to contact the museum directly to see what viewing arrangements (if any) can be made.

Brett Langston

I dont know where you live but at the Library of Performing Arts in New York they have a copy of the facsimile of the Sixth Symphony. You can have a copy xeroxed at 25 cents per page, as per 1999 when i was there last.

Albert Gasparo

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