I happened upon this particular piece of bogus history from Dr. Boli’s Encyclopedia of Misinformation, and was going to turn it to my own advantage, but the good Doctor was way ahead of me. The paragraph in question:
All other Russian names that begin with the letter Ч are transliterated with a Ch in English, but Tchaikovsky’s name is transliterated with a Tch. The anomaly is due to the acrimony of Tchaikovsky’s enemies in the English-speaking music press, who wished to make sure that Tchaikovsky’s name would always appear last in alphabetical lists of Russian composers.
Which to a shtick-ridden hack like me, of course, suggested the following riposte: “[fill in name of suitable Russian composer] was not available for comment.”
It then became simply a matter of finding a “suitable Russian composer.” But after an extended period of cogitation, contemplation, and URL-juggling, I came up with only one name Alexander Tcherepnin and his name is so close to Tchaikovsky’s that the entire joke comes undone.
For a moment, I even considered the possibility that Dr. Boli was right; that’s how frustrated I was.