Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

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Allen
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Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

Post by Allen » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:51 pm

It's a well-documented fact that Tchaikovsky was a homosexual, but it is rarely mentioned who his partner(s) was/were.
Does anyone know?
Sorry, I'm just curious ...

jbuck919
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Re: Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

Post by jbuck919 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:45 pm

Allen wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:51 pm
It's a well-documented fact that Tchaikovsky was a homosexual, but it is rarely mentioned who his partner(s) was/were.
Does anyone know?
Sorry, I'm just curious ...
The details are well known. I suggest you consult a good biography. Someone here will be able to point you to one.

In the highly problematic movie The Music Lovers, it is posited that the revelation of Tchaikovsky's homosexuality by one of his vindictive lovers was the cause of his falling out with Madame von Meck. I have no idea whether there is any truth in that, but it makes for an interesting scene.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Lance
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Re: Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

Post by Lance » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:20 pm

I have a number of books on Tchaikovsky, I can't recall much about the details of his personal life, though I have always been interested in the relationship between him and Nadezhda von Meck, a woman with whom he had a close association. Some of these may help:

1] Tchaikovsky Through Others' Eyes - Alexander Poznansky (editor)
2] Beloved Friend - Bowen/von Meck
3] Tchaikovsky - Edwin Evans
4] Tchaikovsky - John Warrack
5] Triumph of Tchaikovsky - Gee/Selly

There are others but No. 1 above may contain some of the details you seek.
Lance G. Hill
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John F
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Re: Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

Post by John F » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:55 am

Up to a point, the biographies of Tchaikovsky shied away from admitting his homosexuality, let alone providing any details. I don't have any of them myself - Tchaikovsky is not one of the composers I feel the need to know much more about - but from checking some reviews, the biography I'd read is the most recent in English, Roland John Wiley's "Tchaikovsky" in Oxford University Press's excellent Master Musicians series.
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Re: Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

Post by Belle » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:16 am

I love the theatre music of Tchaikovsky - particularly the ballets "Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake" and "Onegin", the opera. Some of his chamber music is absolutely charming too, as is the 2nd Piano concerto - I'm afraid my interest in the first has long waned due to over exposure. Two things about his life I find fascinating; his long correspondence with Madam von Meck and the fact that he was astonishingly well travelled.

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Re: Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 6:37 am

I feel obliged to point out that Tchaikovsky was hardly alone in the matter of his sexuality. I agree with John F that he is not at the top of my list of composers I would care to know more about, but if you run down the list of great composers, they are all over the place. Bach was uxorious with two successive wives. Beethoven may well have never had any sexual relationship or experience at all, the so-called immortal beloved being a figment of his imagination. Brahms famously used prostitutes Clara Schumann actually wrote in her diary every time she and Robert made love. One could go on and on.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

John F
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Re: Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

Post by John F » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:47 am

I've now had a look at Wiley's biography and as far as I can tell, it looks balanced and sensible. Not much space is given to Allen's topic but it should answer his question. I'll leave it at that.
John Francis

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Re: Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

Post by diegobueno » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:44 am

Here is a page that lists some names of his partners. I'm not going to vouch for its accuracy, except that his obsession with "Bob" is for real, and is mentioned in his letters and in biography I have read (and you'll have to wait until tonight for me to check my bookshelf and tell you what that biography is).

The court of honor incident, which emerged in the 1970s (and was reported as fact in the original edition of New Grove) has been discredited, at least the last time I read of it.

http://rictornorton.co.uk/tchaikov.htm

Allen
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Re: Tchaikovsky's homosexuality

Post by Allen » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:46 am

Thanks to all for the information provided.

Much appreciated.

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