Tchaikovski made three stays in Nice. He came for the first time in December, 1871 and January, 1872, together with his young friend, count Vladimir Chilovski. He settled down in 4 place Masséna. At the end of 1877, after the failure of his marriage and his attempt of suicide, he decided to return in the South of Europe because he had a wonderful recollection of it . With his brother Modeste, a pupil and a servant he went along the coast from San Remo to Nice, in January - February, 1878. He stopped in Cap-Ferrat, in Villefranche, in Cimiez. He wrote to Mrs Von Meck: " Did you have the occasion to visit Nice, to take the road which leads from Genoa to Nice and which one calls the Corniche ? It is one of the miracles of nature (...). In Nice, we found ourselves in a magic and crazy atmosphere of Carnival. Streets were black with masked people, who advanced in procession, with groups of musicians on floats dragged by horses, exotic dancers and all sorts of strange persons ". After a visit in the caves of Saint André, he confided to the same correspondent: " The weather was beautiful, the sun warmed, birds sang throughout the wooded road. I was crazily happy ". It was during this stay that Tchaikovski finished the composition of his opera Eugène Onéguine. He returned in Nice in March, 1881 and, learning the death of his childhood friend Nicolas Rubinstein, he began to write his trio of violin, cello and piano.

Ralph SCHOR

 

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