Knowing how deeply his friend bowed before Mozart's genius, music publisher Pyotr Ivanovich Jurgenson gave Tchaikovsky a very special New Year's gift in early January 1889: the complete works of Mozarts, published by Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig. Tchaikovsky's joy knew no bounds: '...this was the best, the most precious, the most magical gift that I had ever hoped to receive! Alexei (Sofronov, Tchaikovsky's servant—A.K.) <…> surprised me with a festive fir tree, and under that tree, lay my god, my idol, my ideal, embodied in a complete set of his divine creations. I was giddy as a boy!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!'
There is one very important detail about Tchaikovsky's adoration of Mozart: his complete refusal to separate the art from the artist. For him, the great Austrian composer and his creative heritage were one and the same. Just as he perceived Mozart's music as sheer perfection, so did he perceive Mozart himself as 'the perfect creator, subconsciously compelled to make art by the sheer innate power of his genius'. 'His soul was pure beyond reproach. He knew neither envy nor vengefulness nor malice, and it seems to me that one can hear this in his music, which is meant to soothe, to enlighten, to caress', Tchaikovsky wrote of Mozart.
Tchaikovsky had his first encounter with Mozart's music as a child. His household's orchestrion could play Zerlina's aria from Don Giovanni (Vedrai Carino), which touched the very heart and soul of young Tchaikovsky. And it was Mozart's work that Tchaikovsky used as an opening piece in his last concert, which took place on 16 October 1893, and featured the premiere performance of Symphony No. 6. Apart from that, Tchaikovsky also conducted two dance segments from his personal rendition of the Idomeneo opera. Tchaikovsky's immersion into Mozart's music coincided with composing some of his own work. For instance, he diligently practised the Complete Works while simultaneously composing The Sleeping Beauty ballet. And in the autumn of 1892, in the middle of preparing for creating Symphony No. 6, which would offer a final summary of his entire life and creative career, Tchaikovsky travelled to Mozart's home town, Salzburg, in order to visit the Mozart museum.