Brailiv (Браїлів) is
a town in the Zhmerinka district (Жмеринський район)
and Vinnytsia oblast (Вінницька область) of Ukraine.
During Tchaikovsky's lifetime it was known as Brailov (Браилов), and formed part of the Vinnitsa
district (Винницкий уезд) in the Podolsk province (Подольская губерния) of the Russian Empire.
In 1868 the railway engineer Karl von
Meck purchased an estate at Brailov. After his death in 1876 this was occupied
by his widow, Nadezhda von Meck,
who invited Tchaikovsky to reside at Brailov while she was absent. The composer
stayed there on several occasions:
- 17/29 May–30 May/11 June 1878 — on this first productive visit he composed
the Souvenir d'un lieu cher
(three pieces for violin with piano, dedicated to Brailov), and worked on
the Six Romances (Op. 38) and
the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom.
"I am living in a palace in the literal sense of the word...", he wrote during
his first visit to Brailov; "the furnishings are luxurious, apart from polite
and affectionately obliging servants I see no human figures and no-one comes
to make my acquaintance, the strolls are charming, and at my disposal I have
carriages, horses, a library, several pianos, a harmonium, a mass of sheet
music—in a word, what could be better?" 
- 11/23 August–around 17/29 August 1878 — working on the Scherzo
from the Suite No. 1.
- 3/15 May–13/25 May 1879 — he studied the full score of Wagner's Lohengrin, while working on the orchestration of his own opera The Maid of Orleans.
- 2/14 July–8/20 July 1880 — his last visit to Brailov was a relaxing one,
without the need to compose. "I'm simply wallowing in an ocean of happy sensations",
he wrote to his brother .
- Letter 1531 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 8/20–9/21 July
- Letter 831 to Aleksandra Davydova, 18/30 May 1878 [back]