A concert at large hall of Moscow State Conservatory on Feb/08 2022
direct descendant of the von Meck and Tchaikovsky families, philanthropist, founder of the von Meck International Charitable Foundation, collector, publisher, family historian and genealogist (amateur), educator, researcher of the life and work of Tchaikovsky, member of several cultural and historical societies in Russia and other countries
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Today's concert in Moscow Conservatory is dedicated to the Day of the diplomats.

Today, only the music of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky himself (portrait) will be performed in the Great Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

The organizers instructed me to host this event, although I am not a professional entertainer, so they decided to create some kind of unofficial, but friendlier, club atmosphere since today mostly colleagues from the diplomatic service of different countries and continents are here today.

Why did they choose me - the fact is that I am not a musicologist, but in some way

I am engaged in cultural diplomacy - I popularize the knowledge about life and work of Tchaikovsky in different countries of the world, and I started doing it since I am a descendant of both of Tchaikovsky and von Meck families. Nadezhda von Meck was the closest friend and patron and their families got intermarried in the next generation.

Among my ancestors I have diplomats who served in the USA, Sweden, Yugoslavia, and Great Britain.

What did Tchaikovsky have to do with Diplomacy?

I can name several things:

1) His mother was half French. In his veins Tchaikovsky had not only Russian, but also a significant part of Ukrainian blood, French and Austrian, and possibly German. He was brought up by a French governess.

2) Tchaikovsky was a great traveler, he traveled all over Europe, lived in it for many years, was invited to America for the opening of the most prestigious music hall - Carnegie Hall. He had the experience of communicating with a huge number of countries and cultures. In total, he visited 163 cities in 19 countries of the world (according to the current state of the borders). It's a lot! There were no planes back then. I will remind the era, he lived in the 2nd half of the 19th century - he was born in 1840 and died in 1893.

3) He spoke several languages, read a huge amount of literature in the original, corresponded with 400 people in different languages.

4) By the end of his life, he had the following titles: honorary doctor at the University of Cambridge (Great Britain), corresponding member of the Paris Academy of Fine Arts (France), honorary member of the Florence Academy of Arts (Italy), and member of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Society (Netherlands).

5) He wrote: "Music is a treasure into which every nationality contributes its own, for the common good."

6) Tchaikovsky, as a conductor, traveled and performed at all important music halls in Europe and America and conducted the works of more than 10 different composers from around the world.

7) As an indirect confirmation in my world's largest collection of coins and medals with a portrait of Tchaikovsky there are rare specimens from 20 countries of the world: Turkey, France, Laos, Ukraine, North Korea, Italy, Yugoslavia, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, San Marino, Czechoslovakia, China, Japan!

Tchaikovsky is very international!

Please, listen to a literary portrait of Tchaikovsky from a famous French writer Romain Rolland:

"The head of a diplomat or a Russian officer. Sideburns and square beard. Open forehead, bony prominent brow ridges; the gaze is fixed, fixedly directed straight ahead and at the same time, as it were, inward. Tall, skinny. Impeccably correct, in white gloves and a tie.

Very few people, even musicians, know about Tchaikovsky as an outstanding conductor.

What the Polish newspaper "Warsaw Diary" wrote about this: "As a conductor, Tchaikovsky justified the fame that came before his appearance here in Warsaw. Inspiring the orchestra, this out-of-line conductor has an irresistible effect on the listeners as well. He makes an indelible impression with the ingenious artistry of his nature, not only on those initiated into the mysteries of musical art but also on the whole mass of listeners.

And here is the opinion of another world-famous person, but not from the musical environment - a writer Anton Chekhov: "I am ready to stand guard of honor day and night at the porch of the house where Pyotr Ilyich lives - to such an extent I respect him."

They had a warm friendship relation and they even planned to write an opera "Bela" together, based on Lermontov's poems. But they didn't have enough time.

In several countries nowadays there are societies of followers of Tchaikovsky's music and one more will be officially registered in Japan this week on February 10, on the birthday of his friend Nadezhda von Meck.

I organize dozens of literary and musical events and exhibitions every year and will be happy to participate in the cultural programs at your embassies and communities, be free to invite me.

And now the main thing - music!

The organizers have given us a wonderful gift - today you will listen to the first performance of two of Tchaikovsky's greatest works in the original author's version in one concert.

Even those who often listen to Tchaikovsky's music will get new emotions!

At the stage - Moscow State Academic Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pavel Kogan, conductor -Felix Korobov, piano - Nikita Galaktionov.

In the first part, the infrequently performed Second Piano Concerto in G major, opus 44, written in 1878-1880, will be performed.

The second part of it is perhaps the most beautiful thing that came out of the musical genius Tchaikovsky.

And you can envy those who will listen to it for the first time!

The second piano concerto by Tchaikovsky, you listened to today before the intermission, was first performed outside of Russia - in New York, in the autumn of 1882. It was performed in Russia only in 1883 by Sergei Ivanovich Taneyev, the first student of Tchaikovsky. It is also worth mentioning that it was Taneev who received the first large gold medal of the Moscow Conservatory. The Concert was conducted by the founder of the first Russian conservatory, Anton Grigorievich Rubinstein.

The second part will give us the author's reading of the Piano Concert, which is being played these days at the Olympic Games in China. Last year it was performed at many international sports' competitions. This music was listened to by hundreds of millions of sports' fans, to many of them, it was the first touch of classical music in their lives. I wish our athletes to gain more victories at the Olympic Games!

The FIRST concert, but what was Tchaikovsky the FIRST in?

He was the first who entered the 1st Russian Conservatory in St. Petersburg;

The 1st professional composer with Russian high musical education;

The 1st professor at Moscow Conservatory;

The 1st who wrote a textbook on harmony in Russia;

The 1st and only correspondent at the opening of the famous Wagner opera house in Bayreuth;

His famous 1st Piano Concert was first performed in 1875 as a world premiere in Boston, USA;

The 1st to write Liturgy on his own themes, not canonical;

Pyotr Ilyich was the first who made ballet music symphonic!

The 1st and only in the Russian Empire, whose funeral was paid from the sovereign's treasury, and the Grand Duke, Konstantin Konstantinovich was the master of ceremony;

The1st memorial music museum in Russia was organized in Klin.

Tchaikovsky is one of a small list of equals who knew international fame during his lifetime. Like Mozart, Liszt, Wagner.

But was it so easy to be the first?

Why was the First Piano Concert performed abroad for the first time?

Because his friend and mentor, the founder of Moscow Conservatory, the great and formidable composer Nikolai Rubinstein, whom Tchaikovsky wanted to dedicate a concert to, criticized him and refused to play that music. Although later he became

Tchaikovsky's main promoter.

In the brochures prepared for you by the organizers of tonight's event, you will find quotes from Tchaikovsky's contemporaries criticizing his work. You will not be surprised - you will be amazed, you will not believe what you will read!

Perhaps this is an indicator of how much his music was ahead of its time. It becomes clearer nowadays, after a century and a half. Every year Tchaikovsky's opuses sound more and more often. According to the world's largest supplier of streaming service "Spotify" last year the most requested Russian composer outside of Russia was Tchaikovsky his traffic reached 36%.

At the request of the organizers of tonight's event, very briefly, we tried to attract your attention to the Great Russian man.

We are ready to talk in more detail in your organizations – you are welcome to invite us!

I publish books, including the unique ones, as our family has its own archives, photographs, and, most importantly, we have our own oral tradition, which we

share with scientists and authors. Today I have several

copies in Russian and Chinese, I will gladly present them to those interested.

Thank you!

Please, meet - Moscow State Academic Symphony Orchestra conducted by Pavel Kogan,

conductor - Felix Korobov, piano - Nikita Galaktionov.

Concerto No. 1 as it was written by Tchaikovsky in 1874.


Translated by Olga Zatsepina - President of The Russian American Cultural Heritage Center, NewYork
Please contact me directly.

Denis von Meck
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