In order to check the correct pronunciation of Russian names for my
Tchaikovsky radio series which I have just started recording, I tonight
watched the BBC documentary Who killed Tchaikovsky (1993) and was in for a
few surprises which had nothing to do with the so called Court of Honor
theory about Tchaikovsky's death.
What I did find, however, were three unforgivable mistakes:
While dicussing Tchaikovsky's First piano concerto it is said that
Anton Rubinstein slated the concerto, while in fact it was his brother
Nikolay who did so.
At another point it was said that Tchaikovsky as a child asked his
mother to stop the music in his head while it was actually their Votkinsk
governess Fanny Dürbach. I quote from her reminiscences:
"When I went into the nursery some time later, he was not yet asleep,
but he was crying agitatedly with glistening eyes. When I asked what the
matter was, he answered: "Oh, this music, this music!" But there was no
music to be heard at that moment. "Save me from it! It's here, here!" said
the boy sobbing and pointing to his head. "It never leaves me in peace!"
from: Tchaikovsky through others' eyes - compiled and edited by
Alexander Poznansky (page 10)
And the worst mistake of all. At the very end of the documentary they
have a photo of what is supposed to be Tchaikovsky with the dates 1840 -
1893. And the picture is actually one of the young Bob Davydov!
With such mistakes, can one really take this documentary seriously?
Philip de Vos
(Cape Town, South Africa)
Dear Mr. de Vos!
is very commendable your tenacity and passion for the work that you do
on our composer. Everyone We wish you a high audience rating! I regret not
to be able listen to the program (also because it's in the Afrikaans
language). I too have noticed in his time "errors" in the curious
documentary made by Holden, a documentary who some friends of the Forum
(Mr. George Boyd, Mr. Albert Gasparo) have commented in a discussion about
the cinematography regarding Tchaikovsky (especially very attentive Mr .
Gasparo and then I myself ...):
Other discussions in this forum:
Anthony Holden on Wikipedia:
The documentary Holden:
I believe should be accepted with all its limitations. As I wrote in
the discussion 334 (02.01.2013) each contribution (even probable) is
useful to search for the full truth.