London is the capital city of England and of the United Kingdom. During
Tchaikovsky's lifetime it was the most populated city in the world, and the
centre of the British Empire.
Tchaikovsky visited London on five occasions:
- by 27 July/8 August–2/14 August 1861 — as part of his first journey outside
Russia, visiting sites such as the Crystal Palace ("a truly magnificent building,
but somehow too variegated inside"), Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of
Parliament. "London is an interesting city, but it makes a rather gloomy impression" .
- 8/20 March–12/24 March 1888 — to rehearse and conduct a concert of his
own works at the Saint James's Hall (10/22 March), including the Serenade for String Orchestra,
and Theme and Variations from the Suite No. 3. "I conducted well.
The Serenade was a huge success; the suite less so" . He again found that "London is
a miserable and depressing city" .
- 29 March/10 April–31 March/12 April 1889 — to rehearse and conduct another
concert of his own works at the Saint James's Hall (30 March/11 April), this
time including the Piano Concerto
No. 1 (soloist Vasily Sapelnikov) and Suite No. 1.
- 17/29 May–31 May/12 June 1893 — to rehearse and conduct his Symphony No. 4 at a Philharmonic
Society concert (20 May/1 June). "The unanimous opinion was that the concert
went down brilliantly and was a real triumph, such that Saint-Saëns, who appeared
after me, suffered as a result of my extraordinary success" .
- 1/13 June–2/14 June 1893 — after receiving his honorary doctorate from Cambridge University, Tchaikovsky spent one more
night in London before heading for Paris.
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- Letter 58 to Ilya Tchaikovsky, 29 July/10 August
- Diary entry for 10/22 March 1888 [back]
- Letter 3523 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 12/24 March 1888 [back]
- Letter 4940 to Modest Tchaikovsky, 22 May/3 June
This page was last updated on
11 April 2013