The effect of Tchaikovsky’s music on his patroness

Nadyezhda Filaretovna von Meck was Tchaikovsky’s patroness.  In March 1877 she wrote of the effect of Tchaikovsky’s music on her.  The work being described is a Marche Funèbre on a theme from Oprichnik (this work is now lost).   

It is so superb that, as I had hoped, it elevates and transports me into a state of such frenzied happiness that I forget everything bitter and offensive in the world.  I couldn’t describe the disorder reigning in my head and heart every time I hear it.  My nerves are shaken by a thrill, I long to sob, to die, I have visions of another life, not the one all men believe in and wait for but quite another life, inaccessible, indescribable.  Life, death, pain, joy all disappear as I wing my way above the earth, my temples beating, my heart palpitating madly, my eyes misted so that I can see nothing and hear only the magnificent, enchanting music.  I forget the exterior world, I feel only the beauty it has to offer, I dread to waken from the spell.  My God! what a great man he is who can give me such moments to a fellow spirit. 

Cited in: Hanson, Lawrence and Elisabeth (1965) Tchaikovsky: A New Study of the Man and His Music.  London: Cassell & Company, p.153.