Truly there would be reason to go mad, were it not for music.
He returned to his new house to work on the symphony.
Together with two previous concerts Tchaikovsky had now established his reputation as a conductor as well as a composer. In 1888 he set off for his first international tour as a celebrated conductor of his own work. He met other famous composers, including Dvorak, Massenet, Fauré, Gounod, Grieg, Richard Strauss and Brahms. He liked Brahms as a man, but detested his music. The eccentric English composer and dog lover, Dame Ethel Smyth, whom he took a liking to in Leipzig, wrote of him:
Back in Russia that summer he rented a new house at Frolovskoye, not far from Maidanovo, where he stocked his garden with almost every kind of flower and where he worked on his new Fifth Symphony.
(BRING UP THE FIFTH SYMPHONY AGAIN AND PLAY OUT)
I’m charmed, delighted beyond all description. It suits me perfectly, and I ask for nothing more than to set it to music.
I have chosen Pushkin’s novella The Queen of Spades. Three years ago my brother, Modest, set about writing a libretto.
(BRING THE STORM TO A CLIMAX. THEN CROSSFADE INTO THE HAMLET FANTASY OVERTURE AND TAKE UNDER THE FOLLOWING.)
He wrote to his brother, Nikolay.
Perhaps he was particularly receptive to intimations of childhood from his recent composition of the Nutcracker. Incidentally the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy was one of the first pieces of music ever to incorporate the celeste.
His brother, Modest wrote of his composition of the Sixth Symphony:
He conducted the performance of the Pathetique on 29th October 1893. It was to be performed later at Moscow, but he never lived till then. He died on 6th November, after successfully completing his greatest work.
(BRING UP THE PATHETIQUE AND PLAY OUT)