German acquaintance of the composer (b. Mathilde Hilb)
The daughter of a merchant from Karlsruhe, she married the cellist Bernhard Cossmann (1822–1910), who from 1866 to 1870 had taught at the Moscow Conservatory (where Tchaikovsky was his colleague) before he decided to return to Germany with his family. They had settled first in Baden-Baden, but, in 1878, they moved to Frankfurt-am-Main where Cossmann became one of the co-founders of the Hoch Conservatory. Mathilde and her husband had at least two children: a son, Paul (1869–1942), and a daughter, Lulu, both of whom were close friends of the composer Hans Pfitzner (1869–1949) in his early years.
In 1889, while in Frankfurt, Tchaikovsky met the elder Cossmann at rehearsals for his concert, and the composer was invited to dine with his former colleague later that evening. The two men had evidently not met since Cossmann's departure from Russia in 1870. An entry in Tchaikovsky's diary for 2/14 February 1889 reads: "Dinner at [Bernhard] Cossmann's. He has aged awfully. Pleasing wife and daughters. […] Home. Unpleasant realization of failure. At Cossmann's. Supper" . The cellist and his wife had also seen Tchaikovsky off on the day of his departure from Frankfurt on 4/16 February, as he duly recorded in his diary: "With Mme Cossmann to the railroad station. Lunch. Knorr, he and his wife, and old Cossmann" . The composer is known to have written to Mathilde Cossmann on at least one occasion.
Tchaikovsky's correspondence with Mathilde Cossmann:
This page was last updated on 18 April 2013