I have just read Rosa Newmarch's "Tchaikovsky" published by The Bodley
Head in 1900, a mere 9 years after Tchaikovsky;s death.
In this book she mentions Nikolay Kashkin's reminiscences of
Tchaikovsky. I quote from her book:
M. Kashkin concludes his book with the following somewhat enigmatical
passage, which probably refers to the unhappy circumstances of
Tchaikovsky's marriage :—
"I have now finished my reminiscences. Of course they might be
supplemented by a few more events, but I shall add nothing at present, and
perhaps I shall never do so. One document I shall leave in a sealed
packet, and if thirty years hence it still has any interest for the world,
the seal may be broken ; this packet I shall leave to the care of the
Moscow Conservatoire. It will contain the history of one episode in
Tchaikovsky's life upon which I have only touched in my book."
Upon this episode I am not able to throw any further light. When the
authorised life and correspondence of the composer appears, his relatives
may possibly clear up the mystery which surrounds it. On the other hand,
it is more than probable that they will not take the public into their
confidence upon a subject about which Tchaikovsky himself preserved an
almost unbroken reticence.
Does anybody know what this sealed packet contained and has it in fact
been opened and the contents revealed? I can only conjecture that the
contents must have in been connection with Tchaikovsky's homosexuality.
Philip de Vos
Before I am accused of ignorance - Rosa Newmarch's book was published 7
years after Tchaikovsky's death and not 9!
Philip de Vos
Hello Philip. There is nothing mysterious about Nikolay Kashkin's
remark.. He himself later published the omitted section of his
recollections in the book "Proshloe russkoi muzyki", a collection of
articles concerning Tchaikovsky. In this addition he describes his own,
half-fictional version of the composer's marriage. These records have been
translated almost entirely into English, and included with my commentary
in Tchaikovsky through Others' Eyes, pp. 111-113, 121-133.
I have read Poznansky's book among others...one thing I do recall
tho...regarding Kashkin's memoirs..its that Tchaikovsky's attempted
suicide by wading in the Moscow River was made up...that it did not
happen...whose version you want to accept is up to you....so what ever it
is I'm pretty sure it centers upon the composers sexual preferences or his
aborted marriage which are both intertwined....in 1908 Rosa Newmarch who
was a noted English writer on music came out with her one volume version
of Modest's three volume biography of the composer under the title..."The
Life and Letters of Tchaikovsky"...Modest I am sure tried to hide this
part of the composer's life...in 2010 she was the subject of a 30 minute
BBC Radio Programme...having long since been deceased...
And we have a lengthy article on
Rosa Newmarch in our People section.