Many visitors and contributors to this website have expressed a desire
to expand their knowledge on the life and legacy of P. I. Tchaikovsky.
For that purpose I can recommend amongst many publications a two volume
edition, not listed on the “Bibliography” page, entitled “Tchaikovsky 1840
– 1893”, published in 1990 by the “Muzyka” publishing house in Moscow
This illustrated biography of the composer was compiled by Galina
Belonivich, the Director of the State House-Museum of Tchaikovsky (Klin),
in collaboration with Svetlana Kotomina.
The first volume contains a thousand reproductions of paintings,
miniatures, sketches, and in particular photographs, skillfully arranged
to present a reader with that special environment in the second half of
the 19th century, where Tchaikovsky lived and worked.
Amongst those illustrations one can find pictures of his maternal
grandparents, the birthplace in Votkinsk, his family at various stages of
their lives, his fellow musicians and friends, including his fiancée D.
Artot and, teachers Anton and Nikolai Rubinstein, pianists H. von Bulov,
N. von Mekk A. Aus der Ohe, and many others, including singers, ballet
dancers, conductors engaged in the first performances of his stage works.
Throughout the volume there are quotations from Tchaikovsky diaries,
letters. There are also quotations about the composer from such eminent
figures as L. Tolstoy, A. Chekhov, E. Grieg, S. Rachmaninov, H. von Bulow,
I. Stravinsky, D. Shostakovich and many others.
The second volume contains photographs of the House-Museum in Klin, its
interior, numerous exhibits. One of them has particularly caught my eye.
It is a miniature pair of silver shoes, presented to the composer in
earlier 1887 to commemorate the premiere of his opera “Cherevichki” (The
Shoes). On the sides of the soles there are engravings showing four
bars from “Cherevichki”.
The volume also provides an illustrated chronology on the staging of
Tchaikovsky’s operas and ballets in musical theatres all over the world.