Tchaikovsky through Others' Eyes

Tchaikovsky through Others’ Eyes

Edited by Alexander Poznansky
Translations from the Russian by Ralph C. Burr, Jr. and Robert Bird
Distribution: World
Publication date: 5/1/1999
Format: cloth 336 pages, 32 b&w photos
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-33545-6
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" . . . intriguing collection . . . a recommended study for anyone interested in the habits and personalities of great minds." —ForeWord

This compilation of reminiscences about Tchaikovsky the man is unprecedented in English. The memoirs, diary entries, and interviews written and conducted by his contemporaries show us both the public and the private figure: the law student, the professor, the philanthropist, the loving brother and uncle, the intrepid traveler, and of course the composer and conductor. In more than 50 documents—some laudatory, others not—Tchaikovsky’s contemporaries speak of little-known facets of the composer’s life: foibles and mannerisms, politics and tastes, prejudices and preferences (sexual and otherwise). The result is a dynamic portrayal of the composer, with all the complexities and paradoxes of a real life.

Author Bio

Alexander Poznansky’s many publications on Tchaikovsky include Tchaikovsky’s Last Days: A Documentary Study and Tchaikovsky: The Quest for the Inner Man.


"This is Poznansky's third book on Tchaikovsky in one decade and—like its two well-received predecessors, Tchaikovsky: The Quest for the Inner Man (CH, Jun'92) and Tchaikovsky's Last Days (CH, Apr'97)—it deals not at all with the music but with the man and his milieu. Poznansky (Yale) divides the book into ten essentially chronological chapters, ranging from descriptions of the composer as a schoolboy to reactions to his untimely death. At the heart of each chapter are contemporaneous comments and journalistic writings; each chapter begins with an essay by Poznansky, in which he sets the scene for the era and describes the reliability—sometimes nonreliability—of those making the comments. Given the chronological order of presentation, the essays constitute a selective biography of the composer. This book serves as a companion to Alexandra Orlova's somewhat flawed compilation of writings by the composer himself (Tchaikovsky: A Self-Portrait, comp. by Alexandra Orlova, CH, Jun'91). Poznansky's project also benefits from the assistance of two experienced translators. Materials concerning Tchaikovsky have been subject to longstanding suppression, and documentation remains to published, especially in translation. Copious endnotes and a reliable index complete the volume, which this reviewer recommends to anyone interested in this composer." —R. Stahura, Ripon College , Choice , November 1999

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Note on transliteration, names spellings, and dates
I. The Schoolboy (1840-1863)
Fanny Dürbach, Fyodor Maslov, Ivan Turchaninov, Alexander Mikhailov, Vladimir Gerard, Rudolph Kündinger, Ippolit Tchaikovsky, Arkady Raich, Modest Tchaikovsky
II. The Music Student (1863-1865)
Modest Tchaikovsky, Vasily Bessel, Herman Laroche, Ivan Klimenko, Adelaida Spasskaya, Alexander Rubets
III. The Conservatory Professor (1866-1876)
Rostislav Genika, Mariya Gurye, Alexandra Amfiteatrova-Levitskaya, Samuil Litvinov, V. A., Ivan Klimenko
IV. The Socialite (1866-1876)
Modest Tchaikovsky, Konstantin de Lazari, Alexandra Sokolova
V. Marriage (1877)
Antonina Tchaikovsky, Nikolay Kashkin
VI. The Composer (1878-1892)
Alexander Glazunov, Eduard Nápravník, Vladimir Pogozhev, Romain Rolland, Herman Klein, Julius Block, Varvara Tsekhovskaya
VII. The Man (1878-1892)
Konstantin de Lazari, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, Boris Vietinghoff-Schell, Vasily Korganov, Vasily Bertenson, Konstantin Varlamov, Nazar Litrov
VIII. The Celebrity (1891-1892)
Musical Courier, New York Herald, News of the Day, Petersburg Life, Petersburg Gazette
IX. The National Treasure (1893)
Leonid Sabaneyev, Mikhail Bukinik, Anton Door, Abram Kaufman, Konstantin Dumchev, Isaak Bukinik, Yulian Poplavsky, Ivan Klimenko, Vasily Sapelnikov
X. Death (1893)
Modest Tchaikovsky, Vladimir Nápravník, Yury Davydov, Vasily Bertenson, Lev Bertenson, Nikolay Mamonov, Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich, Yulian Poplavsky
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