elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky & Vladimir Davydov

Peter Tchaikovsky’s music has always created a particular resonance among gay men, perhaps because many of them identify with the longing and angst expressed in his melodies. Tchaikovsky (May 7, 1840 – November 6, 1893) was inspired by his same-sex relationships, and he dedicated symphonies to his lovers. His brother and biographer Modest wrote that the emotional inspiration for Romeo and Juliet was the composer’s unrequited love for a school chum, Vladimir Gerard.

When he was a professor at the Moscow Conservatory, Tchaikovsky seduced fourteen-year-old Alexei Sofronov. They lived together from then on, with Sofronov acting as the composer’s valet. Some of Tchaikovsky’s other lovers included violinist Joseph Kotek and pianist Vasily Sapelnikov. Tchaikovsky’s diaries cryptically chronicle his struggles with his sexuality—and several successes. The entry for March 22, 1889 details an encounter with a black man in Paris.

The love of Tchaikovsky’s later life was his nephew Vladimir Davidov. After Tchaikovsky lost the support of Nadezhda von Meck in 1890, he made Davydov his confidant. Tchaikovsky considered relocating from Klin to Saint Petersburg in the last couple of years of his life so as to live closer to Davydov (a potential move that caused fellow composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov some distress) writing to his brother Modest, "Seeing the importance of Bob in my life is increasing all the time.... To see him, hear him and feel him close to me will soon become for me, it seems, the paramount condition for my happiness."


The love of Peter Tchaikovsky's life was his nephew Vladimir Davidov. After Tchaikovsky lost the support of Nadezhda von Meck in 1890, he made Davydov his confidant. Tchaikovsky considered relocating from Klin to Saint Petersburg in the last couple of years of his life so as to live closer to Davydov (a potential move that caused fellow composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov some distress) writing to his brother Modest, "Seeing the importance of Bob in my life is increasing all the time"

In August 1893 Tchaikovsky wrote a letter home to Davidov about his sixth and final symphony, Pathetique: “I have put my entire soul into this work. . . . I love it as I have never before loved any of my musical offerings.” Nine days after its premiere, the Russian composer was dead. Modest claimed the cause was cholera, which he contracted from drinking unboiled river water. Others thought Tchaikovsky might have been poisoned. Davydov was one of the party that remained with Tchaikovsky through his final illness. Tchaikovsky named Davydov in his will as the inheritor of the royalties and copyrights to his musical works.

Tchaikovsky’s death remained a mystery for decades. Then, in 1966, historian Alexander Voitov reported a conversation he had had fifty years earlier with a woman on her deathbed. She told him that her husband, chief prosecutor for the Russian Senate, had been the foreman of a “court of honor” that ordered Tchaikovsky to kill himself in order to avoid a scandal caused by his relationship with the young nephew of Count Stenbok-Fermor. The “court of honor” that demanded Tchaikovsky’s suicide included his former schoolmate Gerard.

With only Voitov’s secondhand account to go by, we may never know the real cause of Tchaikovsky’s premature demise.

Stern, Keith (2009-09-01). Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals (Kindle Locations 11609-11626). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

Vladimir Davydov (December 14, 1871 – December 27, 1906) was the second son of Lev and Alexandra Davidov and nephew, as well as lover, of the composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who called him "Bob".

From his earliest years, Davydov showed an aptitude for music and drawing, which was encouraged by his uncle. After he studied at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in Saint Petersburg, however, Bob decided on a military career and joined the Preobrazhensky Lifeguard regiment. He resigned his commission as a lieutenant in 1897 and moved to Klin, where he helped the composer's brother Modest create a museum to commemorate Tchaikovsky's life. Prone to depression, Davydov turned to morphine and other drugs before he committed suicide in 1906 at the age of 34. He is buried at the town's Dem'ianovo Cemetery.

After Tchaikovsky lost the support of Nadezhda von Meck in 1890, he made Davydov his confidant. Tchaikovsky considered relocating from Klin to Saint Petersburg in the last few years of his life so as to live closer to Davydov (a potential move that caused fellow composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov some distress) writing to his brother Modest, "Seeing the importance of Bob in my life is increasing all the time.... To see him, hear him and feel him close to me will soon become for me, it seems, the paramount condition for my happiness." Davydov was one of the party that remained with Tchaikovsky through his final illness. Tchaikovsky named Davydov in his will as the inheritor of the royalties and copyrights to his musical works.

Tchaikovsky dedicated his Sixth Symphony, the Pathétique, to Davydov, as well as his Children's Album of piano works, Op. 34.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Davydov

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher


This journal is friends only. This entry was originally posted at http://reviews-and-ramblings.dreamwidth.org/3333200.html. If you are not friends on this journal, Please comment there using OpenID.
Tags: days of love, eccentric: vladimir davydov, musician: peter ilyich tchaikovsky
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 0 comments