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von Meck Letter Regarding Form

I have seen a reference to a letter from Tchaikovsky to von Meck that in part discusses his perceived deficiencies in compositional form, as well as efforts to correct those weaknesses. I cannot find the letter, and wondered if someone could post the relevant passages (if the letter exists)

Kind regards

Frank Almond

I know the passage you mean, and can find several translations of it, but none of them cite the actual source. This version appears in Tchaikovsky: A Symposium (1945), p. 26:

"All my life I have been much troubled by my inability to grasp and manipulate form in music. I fought hard against this defect and can say with pride that I achieved some progress, but I shall end my days without having written anything that is perfect in form. What I write has always a mountain of padding: an experienced eye can detect the thread in my seams and I can do nothing about it"

The author of this article (Martin Cooper) quotes the above in the context of other letters to Nadezhda von Meck, but without giving any more details. I have a feeling that it is also quoted somewhere in David Brown's 4-volume Tchaikovsky: A Biographical and Critical Study (1978–91), but I haven't yet managed to track it down...

Brett Langston

Many thanks. I believe that was the translation and context I had seen, but I'm happy to have the actual text.

Frank Almond

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This page was last updated on 05 November 2013