Writing in French to an English recipient, the composer apologises for writing in French, stating that he cannot write in English, though he understands the language, describing his methods of composing, giving his views on his greatest work (The Queen of Spades), denying that England is a "Land without Music" and suggesting that there might one day be an English musical Shakespeare, praising the work of Stanford and giving details of his daily routine:
" ... Je compose toutes les esquisses de mes compositions en faisant ma promenade quotidienne de deux heures ... La faculté créatrice est un don precieux de la nature. Elle ne peut etre obtenue par le travail et l'étude, mais seulement perfectionnée et eclairée par la science musicale dailleur purement empérique ... "
Tchaikovsky was awarded an honorary degree from Cambridge University in 1893, where Stanford was a professor of music. On Tchaikovsky's return from Klin on 15 February, he conceived the idea for his Sixth Symphony, his last major work. This letter contains important information on how he sketched material, assembled his scores and his attitude to commissions and inspiration.
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