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Hello, I have two Tchaikovsky questions!

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.

Lydia Veenendaal
The Hague, Netherlands
09/10/2013 20:17

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 that with his interactions with Mozart, Beethoven,Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wagner,Liszt, Berlioz and so 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 1893 the year of Tchaikovsky's death Mahler had only completed his first symphony.

Best Wishes,

Albert Gasparo
11/10/2013 04:17


Pyotr Ilyich had already composed his First Symphony in 1868 ( 2nd version, in 1874 ) . It starts with violins' tremolo. It was published in 1875.

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 1885,

Eighth Symphony was premiered and published in 1892,

Ninth was premiered and published in 1903.

Pyotr lyich was not affected by Bruckner's tremolo.

Best regards,

Kamomeno Iwao
15/10/2013 04:22

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 Wagner's death.

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 ".

Kamomeno Iwao
15/10/2013 14:27

Dear all,

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 future"

[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 be denied.")

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,

Guido Mühlemann
15/10/2013 12:41

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