None but the Lonely Heart – Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Russian composer Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky is best known for his vivid and colorful orchestral works, ballets and operas. However, in Russia he is equally respected and known for the 100 or so songs that he published during his career. These songs for voice and piano, some of which have been transcribed for orchestral accompaniment, are settings to works by Russian poets or to poems in their Russian translations. In style they are the equal match of the German Romantic lieder.
None but the Lonely Heart is a poem by the German literary figure Johann Wolfgang von Goethe which appeared in his novel “Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship“. It is one of the songs of Mignon, a character in the novel. The poem has been set to music by many composers, among them Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (via its translation into Russian) and has been set in many vocal, choral, and instrumental arrangements.
Tchaikovsky dedicated this work to Anna (Alina Aleksandrovna) Khvostova, a Russian soprano and singing teacher who graduated in 1866 from the singing classes of Henriette Nissen-Saloman at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and went on to give concerts in Saint Petersburg, Riga and Warsaw. Her repertoire included many of Tchaikovsky’s romances, of which she was one of the earliest exponents. Her sister Anastasiya Khvostova was a close friend of the composer from his days at the Imperial School of Jurisprudence in Saint Petersburg.