My Genius, My Angel, My Friend

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My Genius, My Angel, My Friend (Мой гений, мой ангел, мой друг), is Tchaikovsky's earliest surviving song, written in the late 1850s while he was still a teenager.

Contents

Instrumentation

Scored for low or medium voice with piano accompaniment.

Movements and Duration

There is one movement: Larghetto (C minor, 47 bars), lasting around two minutes in performance.

Texts

The text is by Afanasy Fet (1820–1892), from the first untitled poem in his cycle To Ophelia (К Офелии) (1842, revised 1856).

Composition

The song seems to have been forgotten until the manuscript was discovered among Tchaikovsky's papers after his death. Its exact date of composition is unknown, but it must have been after 1856, when the revised version of Fet's poem was published. Modest Tchaikovsky dated the song to 1857 or 1858 (and wrote this on the manuscript score).

Publication

A facsimile of the first page of the autograph score was published in volume 1 of Modest Tchaikovsky's biography of his brother [1]. The complete score was published for the first time in 1940, in volume 44 of Tchaikovsky's Complete Collected Works, edited by Ivan Shishov and Nikolay Shemanin [2].

Autographs

Tchaikovsky's manuscript score is now preserved in the Klin House-Museum Archive (a1, No. 103).

Dedication

The autograph of My Genius, My Angel, My Friend carries a dedication "To . . . . . . . . . . . . ." (i.e. thirteen dots) [3].

Recordings

See: My Genius, My Angel, My Friend: Recordings

Notes and References

  1. Modest Tchaikovsky, Жизнь Петра Ильича Чайковского, том 1 (1900), between pages 128 and 129 [back]
  2. Also printed in «Два неопубликованных романса П. И. Чайковского», Советская музыка (1940), Nos. 5–6 [back]
  3. Alexander Poznansky has suggested that this may have been a coded inscription to Tchaikovsky's schoolfriend Sergey Kireyev (1845-1888). "The date of composition coincides with the peak of their relationship, and the thirteen dots indicating the letters of the unspelled dedication match the number of letters in the Russian dative case of Kireyev's first and last names. See Alexander Poznansky, Tchaikovsky. The quest for the inner man (1993), p. 48 [back]