Tchaikovsky State House-Museum
The country home 85 kilometers northwest of Moscow in Klin is where Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky lived from May 1892 until his death in 1893, and is the location where the classical music master crafted his last major work, the 6th Symphony. During his time at the house in Klin, in addition to working on the 6th symphony, Tchaikovsky finished proofreading the scores of Iolanta and The Nutcracker, wrote eighteen piano pieces, Opus 72, the vocal quartet The Night, and the six romances to the words of Rathaus.
The interior of the Tchaikovsky House
The house was built in the 1870s on land given to the family by Emperor Nicholas I, and eventually Tchaikovsky lived on the second floor, while the family of his servant, Alexei Sofronov, lived on the ground floor. The reception room and study on the second floor, where his piano is located, is the largest room of the house. The piano is a Becker, which was given to him by the St. Petersburg firm in 1885. Tchaikovsky never played the piano in a concert hall for an audience, but he did play at home for his guests, and enjoyed playing duets on the piano with visiting musicians. His writing desk, where he wrote letters every morning after breakfast, is at the end of the room. Over the desk, in the place of honor, is a picture of Anton Rubenstein, the founder of the St. Petersburg Conservatory of Music and his first teacher of instrumentation and composing. Just below the picture of Rubenstein is a picture of Beethoven. On the other walls are many photographs of his family, in particular of his father, Ilya Petrovich Tchaikovsky, and his mother, Alexandra Andreyevna. The other cabinets in the room are filled with gifts to Tchaikovsky, including an ink-pot in the form of the Statue of Liberty, given to him during his visit to the United States. The bedroom of the composer adjoins the reception room through a doorway covered with a curtain. He composed music in this room on a plain unpainted table overlooking the garden.
In his final years, Tchaikovsky was strongly attracted to nature, country life, and his garden. The garden has many of the varieties of flowers it had in Tchaikovsky's time including roses, begonias, gillyflowers, phloxes, and sweet tobacco.
The house and the museum after Tchaikovsky's death
To follow in the master's footsteps, you have to tread softly. Upon entry you'll be handed a pair of slippers (known as bakhily), as requirement for touring the museum. After all, the floorboards are well over a century old and, without bakhily, in the winter months you would drag a trail of snow through the house. It's also believed that the noise-deadening footwear helps preserve the atmosphere that enticed Tchaikovsky here in the first place and is the best way for visitors to come as close as possible to experience a bit of the master's home life.