Tchaikovsky The Man And His Music Essay — страница 2

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on with his life.7 Tchaikovsky=s ability to put Desiree Artot out of his mind so easily stems from his homosexual tendencies which left him with Aa profound sense of guilt . . . natural shyness, melancholia, and emotional disturbance.@8 People were starting to ask questions and talk about him so Tchaikovsky decided he must do something to silence the critics. At the suggestion of his brother, Modest, with whom he was very close, Tchaikovsky decided to marry and settle down. An opportunity to accomplish this, which Tchaikovsky has referred to in letters as his Arash act,@ came in 1877. A women by the name of Antonina came to him one day and threw herself at him. She told him that if he did not marry her she would kill herself. Forced with this, in addition to the fact that he

needed to marry, he approached her with an unorthodox marriage proposal.9 He told her that he Acould not love her but would be her faithful and grateful friend.@10 Then he asked her to marry him and she, of course, accepted. His marriage succeeded in stifling the rumors that were circulating about his homosexuality. The marriage, which lasted all of two weeks, proved to be too much for Tchaikovsky. On the brink of a nervous breakdown he tried to commit suicide. One evening he ran to the Moscow river and plunged in up to his waist in hopes of contracting pneumonia. He managed to stumble home and was found delirious 24 hours later. The doctor said that he had gone through a period of great strain and that he should get away for a while. His family took him to a secluded home on a

lake and left him in peace. He remained there for some time. He never wanted to, nor did, see his wife again. In 1877 he was contacted by a widow, Nadezda von Meck, who expressed her interest in his genius and who genuinely loved his music. She offered to provide him with an annual Aallowance@ so that he could devote the majority of his time composing without having to worry about his finances. Thus a very strange and intimate relationship began in which they never met nor spoke but nonetheless knew each others most intimate secrets. Thus began the happiest period in Tchaikovsky=s life in which he produced his most successful opera, AEugene Onegin.@ Tchaikovsky really benefitted from this situation for he had found financial security in addition to the friendship of a woman who

would make no demands upon him. Since he had been relieved of his financial duties he was able to embark upon a period in which he composed some of his greatest works. These works would help place him among the foremost composers of the period.11 During this period of compositional brilliance, Tchaikovsky also enjoyed increased popularity. This was due to the fact that the Slavic message portrayed in his music had finally caught fire throughout Europe and the United States.12 Whenever he conducted concerts of his own works he was greeted with wide acclaim. Among the works he composed during this period were his Fourth Symphony in F minor, which he dedicated to Mme. Von Meck, Capriccio Italien, and Overture Solennelle, better known as the 1812 Overture. His high place in Russian

musical society was confirmed in 1884 when the Czar of Russia presented him with the Order of St. Vladimir. Four years later the government gave him a lifetime pension.13 Tchaikovsky=s unusual relationship with Mme. Von Meck continued for fourteen years. Shortly after receiving the news that he had been invited to the United States to conduct a tour, he received a letter from Mme. Von Meck indicating that she could no longer support him financially and that their intimate relationship had come to an end. The one aspect which was most disturbing to Tchaikovsky was the manner in which she ended the letter. It concluded with words that were totally devoid of warmth. She wrote, A… do not forget and think of me sometimes.@14 This would be the last he heard from Mme. Von Meck.

Tchaikovsky was in poor mental health upon his return to Russia from the United States. He had not heard from Mme. Von Meck in eight months when he received a letter from a mutual friend. She wrote that Mme. Von Meck was very ill and terribly upset and that she could no longer communicate as they had before.15 This event broke Tchaikovsky=s spirit and was a strain on his already deteriorating health.16 The remainder of his life was filled with sadness and depression. Tchaikovsky was never the same after that. His greatest distinctions came during this time of sadness and despair. He was elected a member of the Academie Francaise and he received an honorary degree from the University of Cambridge. He composed his final work during this time of his greatest grief. It was his Sixth