Tchaikovsky's Last Days: A Documentary Study


Tchaikovsky's death in October 1893 in St. Petersburg, shortly after the first performance of his masterpiece, the Pathetique symphony, is one of the most thoroughly documented deaths of a prominent cultural figure in modern times. He was treated by no fewer than four physicians and surrounded by a group of relatives and friends. The official account of his death was that he died from cholera. But almost since the day of his passing there have been rumors that it was not accidental. It is alleged that Tchaikovsky was forced to commit suicide in order to avoid the scandal and disgrace of being unmasked as a homosexual. Alexander Poznansky is the first Western scholar to have access to the Tchaikovsky archives in Klin, Russia. In this fascinating new book, the product of five years' research, he provides a definitive account of the circumstances preceding the composer's death. On the basis of much previously unknown material, including diaries, letters, memoirs, and newspaper reports, he traces in minute detail the composer's activities during the last weeks of his life and finds no evidence to support the notion that Tchaikovsky's death was brought about by nything other than cholera.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Oxford
Publication year:
  • 1996


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