The Grand Dukes Romanovs’ Personal Diaries as a Musical and Historical Source (the 2nd Half of the 19th Century)


The Grand Dukes Romanovs’ personal diaries play a key role in the study of court music culture. All the august persons had musical education, many of them played on different instruments. The occurrence of musical subjects in their diaries depends on how much a person was fascinated by music and whether he had contacts with representatives of the music world. Sometimes some significant details are reported in a stream of various notes on politics, administrative bureaucratic issues, private, intimate sphere. The diaries of two Grand Dukes, Konstantin Nikolaevich and his son Konstantin Konstantinovich, the Heads of the Imperial Russian Musical Society and the patrons of the first Russian conservatories, contain almost continuous musical layer. Together they cover the period from 1836 to 1915, during which many events took place in Russian and European cultural life. In the present paper the main attention is focused on Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich’s diaries. In everyday records a reader can identify several content layers. Among them there are his own musical initiatives related to chamber-instrumental and vocal-symphonic meetings in his residences, family music making, regular visits to theaters and concerts. In the process of research, the author has minutely examined 62 diaries and 8 notebooks of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich. The purpose of this article is to introduce these sources to readers by the example of a limited selection of records on musical subjects, as well as with Eduard Napravnik’s memoires about Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolae-
vich; they are supplemented with extracts of Leopold Auer’s memoirs.