I was not only astounded but outraged by the whole scene. I am no longer a boy trying his hand at composition, and I no longer need lessons from anyone, especially when they are delivered so harshly and unfriendlily.
I need and shall always need friendly criticism, but there was nothing resembling friendly criticism. It was indiscriminate, determined censure, delivered in such a way as to wound me to the quick.
I left the room without a word and went upstairs. In my agitation and rage I could not say a thing. Presently R. [Nikolai Rubinstein] enjoined me, and seeing how upset I was he asked me into one of the distant rooms. There he repeated that my concerto was impossible, pointed out many places where it would have to be completely revised, and said that if within a limited time I reworked the concerto according to his demands, then he would do me the honor of playing my thing at his concert.
“I shall not alter a single note,” I answered, “I shall publish the work exactly as it is!” This I did.
Warrack, John, Tchaikovsky. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973. 78–79. Print.