PressPort logo

New Anton Chekhov audio release sparks debate over Romanisation of Tchaikovskiy’s name

Press release April 6, 2010 Music

Music of Pyotr Chaikovskiy tastefully incorporated in the new audio release of Anton Chekhov Stories brings much joy to the listeners and opens debate over English spelling of composer’s Russian name.

Chaikovskiy wrote some of the most popular concert and theatrical music in the current classical repertoire, including the ballets Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, the 1812 Overture, his Piano Concertos, his Symphonies, and the opera Eugene Onegin.

Chaikovsky’s music in the latest audio adaptation of Chekhov Stories released by Interactive Media under Sovereign imprint did not go unnoticed with listeners.

“The content of these stories was lively, humorous, sad and sweet and the background music by Pyotr Chaikovskiy -- adore the piano! -- was a lovely addition.”, wrote Amy Thomas.

“The narrator's treatment of speech and the light piano music every so often were very good and the story choice came together to give an understanding of Chekhov's view of people and society…”, continued Katy Nicholls.

Admirers of Chaikovskiy were also quick to comment on the missing “T” at the beginning of Chaikovsky’s name featured on the cover of new CD.

“Chaikovskiy and Chekhov begin with the same letter in their original Russian version”, explains Max Bollinger, the author of Easy Russian for English Speakers audio training.

“In Russian, both these names appear under the same letter in lists and indexes. It is surprising for me to see that Chaikovskiy’s name is at times listed under letter T in English. The new release of Chekhov Stories aims to deliver authentic Russian experience to English speaking audiences. I felt that both these names should appear rightly under the same letter in English as they do in Russian. Although there is no definitive spelling for Chaikovskiy’s name in the Roman alphabet, I believe Russian pronunciation of both Chekhov’s and Chaikovskiy’s names is most closely represented by “ch” combination at the beginning.”, continued Max Bollinger, the narrator and producer of Short Stories by Anton Chekhov series.

Pyotr Ilich Chaikovsky is remembered today as the greatest Russian composer ever. He wrote music which stands very clearly in the European tradition, but has a distinctly Russian flavour. He was a master of melody, setting glorious melodies against distinctively Russian rhythms in a way that probably nobody else has ever done. The second volume in the series of Short Stories by Anton Chekhov, Bk. 2: Talent and Other Stories with music of Pyotr Chaikovskiy ISBN: 9780956116550 is out now in the UK and USA. The cover of CD version includes names of the two great Russians in both English and its original Russian spelling.


Reviews more reviews> download PDF>

“This is an audio book, and the narrator has a light Russian accent that lends creditability to the stories. Each of the stories -there are 5 on this second disc of "Short Stories by Anton Chekhov" is a picture for me. In fact, I liken each of them to a Monet painting in which you can see the individual strokes of the brush if you stand too close, but stepping back you see the whole picture at once and not the bits that created the whole. Masterpieces!”

Frayda Glass (MA, USA)

The tracks are superbly interspersed with snatches of music by Tchaikovsky, which set the mood perfectly. It would be exceedingly simple to overdo the 'Russian-ness' of this disc but, the editor has judged the mood perfectly. I have now listened to it a few times and will certainly do so again (hopefully, many times).

Enough about the style of the disc, what about the content? My youth coincided with the cold war and so, Russia has always seemed to be a mysterious place where the people are somehow different. These tales of nineteenth century Russia should therefore be totally alien. They are not, of course: Chekhov describes the human condition, it is inherently the same in Russia as in England, or where, and when, ever one happens to live. I suspect that if we do, eventually, find sentient life upon another planet, then they too would read, or listen to, these fables and nod their understanding.

Ken Petersen (UK)

I listened to these short stories in the car while driving to and from errands and to work. The stories were short, but poignant, and I was worried at first that the narrator's accent might distract me, but after a few sentences, it was not an issue.

At the conclusion of each short story, I was anxious to start the next, but also felt compelled to think about the one I had just completed- and then to contemplate my own past, my own choices, my own story. 

I love when literature sticks with me like this audio recording did. I am looking forward to listening to it again very soon.

Meg Downing (MA, USA)

This was my first experience with an audio book, at least for many years. I found the stories themselves captivating and now wish to read them in "regular" form. And only 5 stories is just a sample of Anton Chekhov's works. But I would listen to another collection of his stories again. His stories are about people, with real problems. There are no trite solutions for their problems, sometimes just an understanding of the characters' flaws. Each story offers a portrait of a person, a situation, and through simple dialogue we learn more about them than they know themselves. It is a wonderful experience to hear these stories.

Joseph Belliveau (Canada)

This was an enjoyable experience for me. Its not often that I listen to audiobooks. The readers lightly accented voice wasn't too fast, too slow or too annoying (which can happen with audiobooks and ruins them.) The little vignettes themselves were great. My favorite was the one about the 'little foot.' Hilarious.

Renee (MI, USA)

This very solid instalment in Max Bollinger's series includes Chekhov's 'Talent', 'Anyunta', 'The Helpmate', 'Ivan Matveyitch', and 'Polinka'. The stories are each in the range of ten minutes in length (some a bit longer as in the postlude of Tchaikovky's piano music at the end of 'The Talent'), but the variety of tales and the variations in the voices Bollinger uses makes the just over an hour of a CD pass like a breeze. It would be difficult to imagine a more verismo atmosphere to these great stories than that Max Bollinger offers the listener. This is echt Russian and a brilliant homage to Chekhov's artistry. Highly Recommended.

Where to Order CD

| Amazon  | Alibris | MoreVsego | Biblio |  Waterstone’s | Foyles |Blackwell’s |  WHSmith | Audiobook Store Word Power | SiS Bok |Akademisk Kvarter | Penelope Bokhandel |