Tchaikovsky museum in Moscow
PI Tchaikovsky Museum in Moscow.

Modern look
Today, we know no less than fifteen addresses where Tchaikovsky lived in Moscow. These include both the places where he stayed for a long time and those where the composer stayed for a little while. The Russian capital transformed significantly with the rapid development of the city and the storms of historical events in the years and decades separating us from Tchaikovsky's time. Of the many buildings in which the composer lived during his Moscow years, only one house on Kudrinskaya Square has survived to this day. Today, this building houses the Tchaikovsky Museum in Moscow, which is part of the Russian National Museum of Music.

On the second floor of the house on Kudrinskaya Square, Tchaikovsky rented several rooms from early September 1872 to November 1873. His previous Moscow address was the Lebedev house on Spiridonovka, not far from here. Having moved to Kudrinskaya Square, the composer wrote to his brother Modest Ilyich that he had 'a very lavish place'. Later on, Tchaikovsky hardly ever expressed his attitude towards the new flat, noting only that it was quite warm. In a letter to his father Ilya Petrovich in February 1873, the composer highlighted this advantage of his home: 'We are finally having a rather severe winter, and today it is so cold that Muscovites get frostbite in their noses, but it is pretty warm and cosy in my little flat'. However, in November of the same year, living in the Vishnevskaya house on Malaya Nikitskaya Street, Tchaikovsky noted that, compared to the flat in the house on Kudrinskaya Square, his new home is 'smaller, but cosier than the previous one'. Tchaikovsky wrote his address in 1872–1873 as follows: 'Kudrinskaya Square, against the fountain, in the Kazakov house (by the flour shop).
Kazakov House on Kudrinskaya Square Moscow, [c. 1900]

Russian National Museum of Music
The flat he rented occupied half of the first floor in the outbuilding of the city manor surrounded by Kudrinskaya Square and two streets, Bolshaya Nikitskaya and Povarskaya. In the 18th century, these lands belonged to the family of Dolgorukov princes. Heavily damaged in a fire in Moscow in 1812, the estate was soon sold to the active state councillor K. Koptev, and in the mid-1830s, Prince P. B. Golitsyn became its owner. New buildings were built all the time on the estate, and old buildings were rebuilt. At the time of Tchaikovsky's residence, the ensemble of the estate included a main house, two outbuildings, a small riding hall and a stable. The Golitsyns remained the owners of the estate until 1917, but the names of the actual owners changed. For example, Golitsyn's granddaughter, daughter of his son-in-law A.B. Kazakov, became Verigina in marriage, and as a widow, she remarried Baron M.F. Meyendorf. In 1887, already as Baroness Meyendorf, she changed the estate to her own name.

The time when Tchaikovsky lived in the house on Kudrinskaya Square became part of music history, thanks to the creation of several significant works. It was here that Tchaikovsky created the Second Symphony, the symphonic fantasy The Tempest, music for A.N. Ostrovsky's spring fairy tale The Snow Maiden, Six Romances Op. 16 (the most famous of which is Lullaby for the lyrics by A.N. Mikov), two collections of six pieces for piano Op. 19, 21. Tchaikovsky remembered March–April 1873, the time when he composed for Ostrovsky's Snow Maiden, as a very bright period in his life: 'This is one of my favourite pieces. The spring was wonderful; I felt good at heart'.

Although the composer lived only a little over a year in a house on Kudrinskaya Square, the memory of this place as Tchaikovsky's address has always been carefully preserved and has survived to this day. In 1940, in honour of the composer's 100th anniversary, Novinsky Boulevard was renamed Tchaikovsky Street (the historical name was returned to it in 1994).

The museum in the house on Kudrinskaya Square was opened on 18 May 2007. This event marked the successful completion of many years of work by many different people. Behind the scenes were the troubles of handing over the building to cultural needs, the reconstruction of this house, creative battles about what to display in the new space, the preparation and creation of the museum's first exhibition. It made sense that in the house where the composer lived for several months in Moscow, visitors learned about the role Moscow played in the life and work of Tchaikovsky and the part he played and continues to play in the cultural life of our capital. However, despite the importance of the topic Tchaikovsky and Moscow, it was still quite local, and therefore, almost immediately there was a need for a significant expansion of the museum.

In November 2014, on the eve of the national celebration of the 175th anniversary of the great composer, the Museum opened a new exhibition called Tchaikovsky and the World. The authors of the scientific concept of this ambitious idea were Valery Solomonovich Sokolov, a well-known researcher of Tchaikovsky's biography and documentary heritage, and Oksana Leonidovna Murga, a musicologist and candidate of art history. According to the authors, the theme Tchaikovsky and the World is comprehensively presented in two aspects: in an active dialogue between the character and the outside world, and through a focused inner life. Accordingly, one part of the exhibition Tchaikovsky and the World is devoted to various contacts of the composer (musical, artistic, social), the other part is focused on the personality of Tchaikovsky, his character, psychology, expressions in everyday life, communication with relatives.

The new exhibition is based on authentic materials from the collections of the Museum of Music and partner museums of the project: historical documents, personal belongings of Tchaikovsky, photographs, engravings, lithographs, graphics, drawings, letters, musical and literary manuscripts of the composer, lifetime editions of his compositions. In developing the general idea of the exhibition and its individual subjects, the experience of the latest research conducted by both domestic and foreign specialists was taken into account. It includes both genuine discoveries of previously unknown facts and a synthesis of all known information. In particular, a great deal of attention in the exhibition is paid to the topics of Tchaikovsky's genealogy, his active contacts with the international music community and his personal creative practice, which have been actively researched recently.

A feature of the Tchaikovsky and the World exhibition, which characterises it as a truly modern museum project, is the widespread use of multimedia. The exposition is full of music! Visitors can also listen to recordings of letters and poems by the composer. One of the halls employs the technique of 'animating' photography.

Along with the permanent exhibition, the Moscow Tchaikovsky Museum regularly holds temporary exhibitions dedicated to significant dates in the life and creative biography of the great composer. Active educational work covering the widest age range is being carried out. For example, along with tours and lectures, the museum has been successfully conducting fascinating activities for many years as part of the music and art project Symphony of Colours, immersing children aged 5–7 in the wonderful world of music and fine arts.

The Tchaikovsky Museum in Moscow is the youngest of all eight existing Tchaikovsky Museums. However, due to its specificity, it has already managed to occupy its special place among them and add its inherent touches to the overall picture.
Senior Researcher
Russian National Museum of Music
PhD (Candidate of Art History)
Alexander Komarov
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