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Tchaikovsky famous quotes

I am doing a middle school project on Tchaikovsky and I am wondering if he had any famous quotes.

Beth Cheyney

Hello Beth,

Two quotes by Tchaikovsky sprang to mind when I saw your question. One is from a letter to his younger brother Anatolii on 3/15 August 1878:

"To regret the past, to hope in the future, and never to be satisfied with the present: that is what I spend my whole life doing"

Significantly, Rosa Newmarch used this as an epigraph for her edited translation of the biography of Tchaikovsky written by Anatolii's twin brother Modest. (Although Tchaikovsky wrote these words not long after the crisis year of 1877, it is possible to see in them a kind of motto which stayed with him all his life, because he was almost never satisfied with his latest work.) Her book The Life and Letters of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky first came out in 1905, but it has been reprinted several times, most recently in 2004, and if you can find a copy in a local library, I think it could certainly help you further with your project.

The other quote is from a letter to Nadezhda von Meck on 23 November/5 December 1877:

"…You see, my dear friend, I am made up of contradictions, and I have reached a very mature age without resting upon anything positive, without having calmed my restless spirit either by religion or philosophy. Undoubtedly I should have gone mad but for music. Music is indeed the most beautiful of all Heaven's gifts to humanity wandering in the darkness. Alone it calms, enlightens, and stills our souls. It is not the straw to which the drowning man clings; but a true friend, refuge, and comforter, for whose sake life is worth living"

In Rosa Newmarch's book (from which the above is quoted) you can see the full context of this letter.

Luis Sundkvist

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