Could you let me know if there is somewhere a place where one can read
the Tchaikovsky/Von Meck letters translated into English?
I know there are many , but perhaps there is a place where one can see
the most interesting ones? Has anyone ever done this in some sort of
performance? It would be interesting to know.
To My Best Friend:
Correspondence between Tchaikovsky and Nadezhda von Meck, 1876-1878
To my knowledge this is the best offering on the subject in
English...it features over 260 letters between the two in this the peak of
their relationship...indeed it is an excellent intro into Tchaikovsky's
life....it brings you very close to both participants...Madame Von Meck
perhaps the more open of the two and the composer more reserved...
According to the Forum there is a new publication of the complete
correspondence in progress but it is in Russian...
For a modest $19.95 monthly fee you can read this book in
Questia.....that's a lot cheaper than the offering in Amazon and Barnes
and Noble where the charges are over $150.00. Other than that I would
suggest you may be able to borrow it from your local Music Library if you
are near any such...
And so I would strongly recommend this edition...
In all modesty I can say that I used the subject for a play that went
on very successfully in Copenhagen spring 2009.
Being fascinated by the correspondence for years - wondering why on
earth Tchaikovsky and von Meck never ever met for just one cup of tea over
the old samovar - I have attempted to unveil the very complex story and
driver behind the whole matter by carefully reading as many letters as
possible over and over again, and not the least so to speak between the
lines (and of course comparing them with other letters; f.e. to Modest
I warmly recommend the correspondence, which has been one of the most
beneficial and satisfying readings I have experienced, to anybody with
great interest in psychology, culture and a good love/best-friend-story.
Letters, exchanged between Tchaikovsky and N. von Meck, were originally
intended for the respective recipients only. These letters should
therefore be treated as private and confidential property of both authors.
I am unaware of any Wills left by either Tchaikovsky or von Meck that
contain clauses, authorizing the executors of their estates to publish the
letters. I even suspect that Tchaikovsky did not leave a legally
enforceable Will, as his departure was so sudden.
Perhaps I am missing some essential information, but right now I have
failed to come across credible evidence that publication of the letters is
in line with the wishes of either Tchaikovsky or von Meck.
If, to my utter regret, I am right in this respect, the publication
appears to be an unwarranted invasion of privacy of two personalities who
rightfully deserve to be held in high regard. I sincerely hope however
that this view of mine does not reflect the real situation as far as the
legality of the publication is concerned.
I would be looking forward for opposing views from someone who has a
credible knowledge on this issue, important to anyone, who treasures the
memory of the great composer.
Actually Tchaikovsky did leave a will, in which his brother Modest was named as an
executor. Modest had no
reservations about publishing hundreds of the composer's letters in his
own biography (1900–02), since at the time it was common practice for
letters from any famous people to be published after their deaths — not
just in Russia, but worldwide.
Modest sought to obtain the originals (or at least copies) of all his
brother's letters, for preservation and study at the museum he founded at Klin.
Tchaikovsky's letters to
Nadezhda von Meck eventually ended up in the custody of his niece Anna, who was the wife of his
benefactress's son Nikolai von Meck.
When the latter was arrested and executed by the Soviet authorities in
1929, many of the original letters were smuggled out of Russia by Anna; however, handwritten copies
had already been deposited in the museum at
Klin (now run by the Soviet authorities) and these formed the basis
for the first complete published edition of Tchaikovsky's correspondence
with Nadezhda von Meck, edited
by Vladimir Zhdanov and Nikolai Zhegin, and published in 3 volumes between
1934 and 1936. These were reprinted in the 1970s and 1980s in the
"complete" collected edition of Tchaikovsky's correspondence (running to
over 5,000 letters to hundreds of persons).
Anna's daughter Galina von Meck translated many
(but not all) of the letters between her grandmother and Tchaikovsky into
English, in the collection To My Best Friend
mentioned in one of the postings above.
I understand that the 2008 edition
of the Tchaikovsky/von Meck
correspondence is based on the original letters, rather than the
manuscript copies only available in the 1930s, and corrects some mistakes
in the previous publication, as well as incorporating new material that
had been discovered during the seven intervening decades.
So whether or not their publication might be considered 'authorized',
the letters in question have been in print for a very long time, and we
have learned an enormous amount from them.
Hello everyone. The published set of letters, translated by Galina von
Meck, are most delightful to read. I am currently reading Galina von Mecks
autobiography titled, As I remember them (London 1973). In her book she
discusses her brief encounter with her grandmother, Nadezhda von Meck and
although she was too young to remember her Tchaikovsky, she documents how
she met several of Tchaikovsky's friends (people who knew him well) such
as Taneev, members of his family, etc. Galina von Meck was Tchaikovsky's
grand niece has she was the daughter of Nadezhda von Meck's son Nikolai
and Tchaikovsky's sister's daughter, Anna.
The book is available on several websites, but I recommend Barnes and
Noble booksellers in the United States because amazon.com has sellers
charging an unpleasant price. I found the book for $8 USD on Barnes and
Noble compared to over $200 USD on amazon.com
I am so glad to read all this as I have just written a short poem (4
THE LAST LOVE-LETTER OF TCHAIKOVSKY.
How much did this great compose suffer! One of the most poignant
love-stories of all time.
I live in Melbourne--melodies-writer, tenor, violinist- writer of
poetry and prose.
I shall keep track of all contributions pertaining to this subject.
With my deep appreciation and best wishes
Dr Peter Lim
There is a Russian website where all(?) the Tchaikovsky/Von Meck
letters are published: http://www.tchaikov.ru/letter.html
With the help of Google Translate you can read them (in bad English of
course, but in general it’s quite clear where it’s all about).