German text (original)
Copyright © 2010 by Luis Sundkvist
21 März 89
21 March 1889
|Ihre Kritik über meine Simphonie, die beiden Artikel
über Berlioz und Ihre freundliche[n]
Zeilen habe ich erhalten. Danke Ihnen herzlich für die Kritik und
nicht nur für das, was gedruckt ist, aber auch für das, was ich zwischen
[den] Zeilen lese und fühle, d. h. Freundligkeit [= Freundlichkeit] und
Sympathie für meine musicalische Thätigkeit. Ich möchte noch vieles darüber
sagen, aber wirklich kann [ich] es deutsch nicht. Kann ich Ihnen in solch
einer Gelegenheit [= Angelegenheit] französisch schreiben? In dieser Sprache
bin ich nicht so dumm wie in Ihriger.
||I have received your review of my symphony [No. 5] , the two
articles on Berlioz and
your friendly lines .
I thank you cordially for the review, and not just for what is
printed in it, but also for what I can read and feel between the lines,
that is, friendliness and sympathy for my musical activity. I would like
to say a lot more about this, but, truly, I cannot do so in German. May
I write to you in French regarding this matter? In that language I am
not as stupid as in yours.
|Ich bin diese ganze Zeit unwohl und verbleibe schon einige
Tage in meinem Zimmer.
||I have been feeling unwell all this time, and for several
days now I have been keeping to my room .
|Noch einmal danke Ihnen herzlich!
||Once again I thank you sincerely!
- In his review of the concert in Hamburg on 3/15 March 1889 at which
Tchaikovsky conducted the first performance in Germany of his Symphony No. 5, Sittard had spoken very positively
of that work: "Even if the invention is not always original, even if the
composer sometimes (as, for example, in the development section of the Andante cantabile) comes close to the style of lyrical opera, all
four movements nonetheless contain so much that is beautiful, interesting,
and distinctive, that we may certainly call the E minor symphony one of
the most significant symphonic works of modern times. This applies also
to the thematic development, as well as to the brilliant, albeit often too
dense, instrumentation. Some of the motifs as such may perhaps not be able
to lay claim to outstanding musical interest, yet Tchaikovsky knows how
to shape them meaningfully and to lead them to a culmination which is as
powerful as it is effective. No less deserving of praise is his sense for
formal beauty, for the harmonic symmetry in which the individual sections
of the movements are related to one another". Sittard's review, which appeared
in the 16 March 1889 [N.S.] issue of the Hamburgischer
Correspondent, is quoted in full in: Peter Feddersen,
Tschaikowsky in Hamburg. Eine Dokumentation (2006), p. 91–94 [back]
- Tchaikovsky had left Hamburg on the day after his concert,
travelling first to Hannover, where
he stayed for a few days before heading for Paris. He arrived in the French capital
on 8/20 March 1889, and it seems that Sittard had sent him a copy
of his review to Paris [back]
- Tchaikovsky was suffering from a dental abscess.
See the diary entries for 7/19 and 8/20 March 1889 translated by Wladimir
The Diaries of Tchaikovsky (1973), p. 265–266 [back]
This page was last updated
on 07 December 2012