Hello, further to the question of the relationship between Tchaikovsky
and Bruckner, I have one simple question. Listening to the new
Metropolitan Opera performance of Eugene Onegin, it struck me that the
"Letter Scene" begins with an orchestral introduction of a couple of bars
just before the theme of Tatiana, which reminds me of a Bruckner symphony.
Is this really a quote from Bruckner? If so, could anyone tell me which
symphony it is? Thank for your help. Lydia.
The Hague, Netherlands
In so far as we know Tchaikovsky had no knowledge of Bruckner....nor if
you turn to the Home page of our Forum under People will you find any
mention of Bruckner whatsoever...compare that with his interactions with
Mozart, Beethoven,Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wagner,Liszt, Berlioz and so
on....it is true that late in his life he did acquire several scores of
Bruckner's Symphonies...but we don't know how far he got in his study of
these works...nor is there any mention of them by Tchaikovsky..if he had
attended any performances of his work I'm sure we would be apprized of
it..I believe that is all we have to say about Bruckner and
Tchaikovsky..of Mahler, he only knew as a conductor...by 1893 the year of
Tchaikovsky's death Mahler had only completed his first symphony.
Pyotr Ilyich had already composed his First Symphony in 1868 ( 2nd
version, in 1874 ) . It starts with violins' tremolo. It was published in
Meanwhile Bruckner's Second Symphony, his first tremolo-opening piece,
was completed in 1872 and was not published until 1892.
Bruckner's Fourth Symphony ( 2nd version ) was premiered in 1881, and
3rd version was published in 1889 for the first time.
Also Bruckner's Seventh Symphony was premiered in 1884 and published in
Eighth Symphony was premiered and published in 1892,
Ninth was premiered and published in 1903.
Pyotr lyich was not affected by Bruckner's tremolo.
I guess that the opening of "Letter Scene" ( virtually E dur :
h^e_h^gis_fis_eis^fis ) published in 1880 reminds you of the starting of
Bruckner' Seventh Symphony (Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachatmusik-like ; E dur
: e_h^e^h^e^gis^h) published in 1885.
Incidentally Mozart composed Serenade " Eine Kleine Nachatmusik " right
after his father's death.
Bruckner composed his " Seventh Symphony " assuming his respected
Pyotr lyich composed " Serenade for strings " eight months later from
his father's death.
Pyotr lyich quoted main theme of " Manfred Symphony " (
mi_ti^do^re_la^ti^do_la_fa♯ ) from viola and violoncello part of Minuet in
" Eine Kleine Nachatmusik ".
In the book: Tschaikowsky aus der Nähe. Kritische Würdigungen und
Erinnerungen von Zeitgenossen, ed. and translated by Ernst Kuhn,
Berlin: Verlag Ernst Kuhn, 1994, p. 223, I have found the following
statement by Tchaikovsky, which was published in one of three interviews
of him in 1892:
Question: "Was denken Sie über die gegenwärtige Situation der Musik im
Westen und wie schätzen Sie deren Zukunft ein?" ("What do you think about
the current situation of the music in the West and how do you consider its
[after having elaborated on Wagner and Brahms, Tchaikovsky continues as
following:] "[...] Es lassen sich natürlich noch zwei, drei weitere Namen
herausragender deutscher Komponisten nennen, etwa Goldmark, BRUCKNER und
der junge Richard Strauss, und man auch möglicherweise auf Moritz
Moszkowski verweisen, der trotz seines slawischen Namens in Deutschland
wirkt. Im grossen und ganzen zeigen sich heute in diesem klassischen
Musikland ein gewisser Mangel an musikalischen Begabungen, fehlende
Lebendigkeit und Stagnation feststellen. Leben gibt es nur noch in
Bayreuth, diesem Mittelpunkt des Wagner-Kultes, und unabhängig davon,
welche Einstellung wir zur Musik Wagners auch immer haben mögen, kann die
von ihr ausgehende Kraft, ihre grundlegende Bedeutung und der
Einfluss auf die gesamte Musik der Gegenwart nicht geleugnet werden."
([...] There are, of course, two or three other names of outstanding
German composers that we can name, for example Goldmark, BRUCKNER and the
young Richard Strauss, and perhaps one can also point on Moritz
Moszkowski, who - despite his Slavic name - has some influence in Germany.
As a whole, however, we find in this classical country of music a certain
lack of musical talent, a lack of vivacity and also stagnation. We only
find vivacity in Bayreuth, this classical center of the cult of Wagner,
and however one's own stance to Wagner's music, its force and fundamental
importance as well as its influence on the whole contemporary music cannot
Although in this statement we don't get any detailed information abouth
how Tchaikovsky viewed Bruckner's music, it is, on the other hand, clear,
that Tchaikovsky considered Bruckner as being an important composer.
With best regards,