Saturday, November 3, 2007

I wonder, sometimes, about Tchaikowsky -

I have yet to come across, in any book or paper about the composer Tchaikowsky, the issue I am about to write.
During the height of a cholera epidemic in Mother Russia, it is known that Tchaikowsky drank a tumbler of water directly from a faucet. It was obvious, even in those days, that water should be boiled before drinking during such an event. The composer died shortly thereafter, in his early fifties - why did he drink unboiled water? Could he have been a suicide? We know that at least once before, he walked, fully clothed, into a river during a winter, but was pulled out.
Was he so be-deviled by what he called "that thing"; namely his homosexuality, which at that time was punishable by execution, that he finally gave in? He most certainly was in a depressed state, having had a marriage to one of his own students annulled. His final (6th) Symphony, which he titled "Pathetique," at least to me, divulges a kind of finality about his existence and consciousness.
I wonder, from time to time, about this incident.



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