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Nikolay Kashkin's mysterious entry about Tchaikovsky's marriage

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
06/07/2013 21:39

Before I am accused of ignorance - Rosa Newmarch's book was published 7 years after Tchaikovsky's death and not 9!

Philip de Vos
07/07/2013 15:13

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.

Alexander Poznansky
07/07/2013 14:49

I have read Poznansky's book among 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 what ever it is I'm pretty sure it centers upon the composers sexual preferences or his aborted marriage which are both 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 2010 she was the subject of a 30 minute BBC Radio Programme...having long since been deceased...

Albert Gasparo
07/07/2013 22:43

And we have a lengthy article on Rosa Newmarch in our People section.

Brett Langston
09/07/2013 22:13

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