The reconstruction of the memorial of Nikolai Ilyich Tchaikovsky at the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow - RWM Capital
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The reconstruction of the memorial of Nikolai Ilyich Tchaikovsky at the Novodevichy cemetery in Moscow

15.10.2012

October 2012

Nikolai Ilyich Tchaikovsky

May 9th 1838 – November 21st  1911

For most people, the name Tchaikovsky is primarily connected with the great Russian composer. However, Nikolai is known not only as the elder brother of the outstanding composer. Nikolai Tchaikovsky made a significant contribution to the development of Russian railways.

About his life

Nikolai Tchaikovsky was born in 1838 in the Urals, in the village of Votkinsk ironworks Sarapul, Vyatka province of the county, where his father, Ilya Petrovich, was appointed chief mining Kamsko-Votkinsky district. Under the direction of Ilya Petrovitch Votkinsk plant and shifts his focus from purely transformed into metallurgical engineering. In 1848 there began the manufacture of steamships, and in 1868 locomotives.

Nicholas, according to the memoirs of his younger brother Modest, was the most handsome of the children in the family, nimble and fond of physical exercise till the old age. Everybody admired and were proud of him.

In 1860 Nikolai entered the Mining Institute in St. Petersburg as his father insisted. However after graduation Nicholas worked in the specialty for a short time and chose to use their technical knowledge and intelligence in the rapidly developing railroad industry.

In the 60s the engineer lieutenant Nikolai Tchaikovsky worked as the assistant of chief of Kovensk locomotive depot of St. Petersburg-Warsaw railroad.

At the expense of private capital for railway transport of Russia has developed rapidly, but spontaneously. By the mid of 70s many of the problems became evident. It was connected with the the lack of proper state regulation of the development and operation of the railways.

In 1876, under pressure of public criticism, Emperor Alexander II creates a special Commission for a thorough examination of railway business in Russia. In the composition of this Commission works Nikolai Tchaikovsky. By the end of 1880, the Commission concludes that there was a need to streamline the activities of private railway societies and return to the practice of construction and maintenance of railways for state funds.

The Commission also presented to the Emperor a proposal to introduce General rules of Russian Railways. Nikolai Tchaikovsky took a direct and active participation in its creation. In 1885 the first country rules was approved and opened the way for the formation of uniform legal space of the railway network.

Nikolai was the author of several scientific and technological research in the field of railway transport.

In 1887 Tchaikovsky in the rank of state Councilor resigned. Starting from 1890 Nikolai Tchaikovsky lived in Moscow near Prechistenka street. The front  of his own small wooden house looked at Durnowski (Barikovski) lane. At this time Nikolay worked as manager of Yakovlevs’ print house and at the same time was in charge of almshouses Neronovski almshouse house, and since 1904 the Society for the promotion of diligence. Nikolai Lenin died in Moscow on November 21st, 1911.

Throughout his life Nikolai watched with interest to the successes of his younger brother-composer, who received, by the way, legal education. Nikolai reacted with skepticism to a sharp turn in Peter's career towards music. He said that there are no hopes for the talent of Glinka in Peter that is why he is condemned to a pitiful existence of the average musician. However, according to Modest Tchaikovsky recollections, Pyotr assured older brother: " May be I’ll never be as good as Glinka but you will be proud of kinship with me."

Sometimes Nikolai in correspondence with a brother-composer gave him a comic «advice». For example, when the composer worked on the opera «Vakula the Blacksmith » Nicholas wrote to his brother: «It is a pity that did not warn that the final of the Vakula’s aria should be composed in more mature dissonance realistic mood but not in flat-band counterpoint way. Peter answered him in the same humorous terms: «The other day I walking and made a discovery about the mechanism in the locomotive. I hasten to tell you my opinion. To my mind the boiler is still incorrectly installed and in my opinion, the pipe can in no way be confused with the rod of the third upper rivet in its curve spike horizontal position...»

Pyotr recalled with delight his visit to Ukolovo - the estate of his elder brother Nicholai in Kursk province. There in August of 1891 the composer personally met with one of his most favorite poets Afanasy Fet who was thr neighbor of Nikolai in Ukolovo. « I loved the life in Ukolovo with Kolya, - he wrote later. – I had four very pleasant days with them. I went Korennaya Pustin and one day was the guest of Fet. I saw him for the first time and found a very interesting. I was xcited by their garden». In the summer of 1893 in Ukolovo Pyotr created rough sketches of the Concerto No. 3 for piano and orchestra.

After the premature death of Peter in November of 1893 Nikolai became a faithful assistant to his younger brother Modest to keep the memory about their great brother - composer. In particular, in headed by Nikolay printing house was printed for the first time the musical-critical article of their brother (1898), and a brief biographical sketch of the composer, written by I. A. Klimenko (1909).

The grave before restoration

Thanks to folk artists of Russia Avangard Leont’yev and Eugeny Mironov and Leontiev became known that the grave of the famous railway man of the past years is in a deplorable state. The actors are search for restoration the abandoned graves of Russian actors. They were the first who in 2011 draw the attention to the neglected grave of N. Tchaikovsky. They learned his biography and turned to friends in RZD with a proposal to participate in the restoration of the memorial of the Russian railway worker and brother of the great composer.

Miraculously survived to our days crypt-chapel at the grave of N. Tchaikovsky was the only surviving building of this kind in the Novodevichy cemetery.

Restoration work

In November 2011, marked one hundred years since the death of N. Tchaikovsky. Exactly this time RWM capital Asset Management received an offer from famous artists and from colleagues in RZD to fund restoration works and to take under patronage the grave of N. Tchaikovsky. In 2012, the year of the 175th anniversary of Russian Railways this charitable project was carried out.
However, it was not fulfilled immediately. took It took more than six months to approve the documentation and to receive all necessary permits for works.

Thanks to the help of the Ministry of culture, Moscow city hall and personally, Mr Sobyanin, to whom were sent letters asking for support, made possible the implementation of dismantling and restoration works, as well as the conclusion of the contract about patronage over the grave.

After restoration

RWM capital Asset Management expresses its appreciation to Mr Mironov and Mr Leontiev, as well as the management of RZD, who drew the  attention to the condition of the memorial of a  remarkable person of Russian Railways. We are grateful to the Ministry of culture of Russia, personally to Mr Avdeev for support of our charity project. Many thanks to the mayor of Moscow and personally to Mr Sobyanin for the trust and support of our endeavors. We sincerely grateful to  Mr Tsakulov and specialists of "Megastroy" LLC, that they managed to perform works on restoration of burial in short time.

We cannot allow time to erase the facts of our history and carried the memory of prominent people. With this small project, we sought at least partially to eliminate the injustice and hope that our initiative will be picked up, and the traditions and names of known Russian railwaymen will not be forgotten. 

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