Posted a few more photos to the photo album.
I've been listening to Professor Bob Greenberg's audio lectures on my iPod during the times when I'm not doing touring or hanging out with family; the ones about Tchaikovsky and Brahms have been especially good. How did Tchaikovsky die seems to be a central theme of the one about that composer - and the answer is surprising.
The usual story is that he drank a glass of unboiled water during a cholera epidemic and developed that disease and died of it. But... there has always been considerable doubt. For one thing, the illness didn't follow the usual course of cholera victims. For another, cholera was an illness that the poor and ignorant developed - not a wealthy, worldly sophisticate like Peter Tchaikovsky.
Greenberg's take on it, which he claims is supported by evidence made available to researchers as a result of the fall of the Soviet Union, was that Tchaikovsky, a self-loathing and closeted homosexual, was pursuing the nephew of a nobleman. This nobleman was a good friend of the Tsar. Angry beyond words, the nobleman convened a "Court of Justice" with fellow classmates of the law school Tchaikovsky had attended - with Tchaikovsky in attendance. The upshot of this was that Tchaikovsky was convinced to commit suicide via the ingestion of arsenic... the nobleman probably threatened Tchaikovsky with public exposure and exposure to the Tsar.
Or perhaps it was murder!
The symptoms that Tchaikovsky died of are more symptomatic of arsenic poisoning than cholera, and there is still debate about exactly how it happened, but it appears Tchaikovsky's brother Modeste - also a homosexual - covered up the whole thing with the cholera story.
It was a fascinating lecture series... like a murder mystery...
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