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MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES .

.

Craft CONVERSATIONS WITH IGOR STRAVINSKY expositions and developments ( in preparation . Stravinsky and Mr.Also by Mr.

.

7n H| '"-a i i gp ™ ii r a * i mmdlfcii— ti m'i hitTi* y / wwj ajjg i960 DOUBLEDAY & COMPANY. INC. GARDEN CITY..Memories and Commentaries IGOR STRAVINSKY and ROBERT CRAFT * ] m n . NEW YORK ..

/. f MUSIC LIBRARY ML. Ml O Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 60-10684 Copyright 1959. 2960 by Igor Stravinsky © All Rights Reserved Printed in the United States of America First Edition .

" Socrates. I shall only beg of you to say whether you like and are accustomed to make a long oration on a subject which you want to explain to another.. I remember hearing a very noble discussion in which Parmenides employed the latter of the two methods. and he was far advanced in years. to the Eleatic Stranger: —Sophist. or to proceed by the method of question and answer. 217 ..". when I was a young man.

is used by permission of Universal Edition. Winfried Zillig and the British Broadcasting Corporation for a letter from Winfried Zillig. the Bollingen Foundation for a letter from Paul Valery. Marie Romain Rolland for the letter from Igor Stravinsky to Romain Rolland. Romola Nijinsky from Nijinsky. by Stockhausen. on page 121. "Executor of the late Lord Berners" for letters from Lord Berners. . The musical example from Gruppen. for the letter from Reynaldo Hahn.ACKNOWLEDGMENTS authors and the publisher are indebted to and wish to acknowledge the following for permission to reprint the materials mentioned: Wystan Auden for his letters. Librairie Gallimard for the letters of The Andre Gide for a letter ("all rights reserved"). Executeur Testamentaire of the estate of Reynaldo Hahn. the copyright owners. Alexander Benois for his letters. Ren6 Schrameck. Vienna. which appeared originally in The Journal of Romain Rolland.

TO NADIA BOULANGER .

.

Falla. Some Russian Composers ( Rimsky-Korsakov. Prokofiev) Portraits M6moires 69 Hahn. Royaut6) Some Musical Questions 85 Three Operas I. Liadov. III.CONTENTS Autobiographical I. Arensky. 15 A Russian Education Diaghilev and His Dancers II. Rolland. Letters from ( Andre Gide III. Scriabin. Auden Appendix First Scenario for 155 The Rake's Progress . 123 (Letters form Alexander Benois) The Nightingale Persephone ( II. Gorodetsky and Balmont. The Rake's Progress Letters from W. Taney ev. H. Cui. (Valery. Berners.

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MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES .

.

R. What do you know about your grandparents and great-grandparents? The only great-grandparent about whom I had heard anything at all was Roman Furman.C. In the reign of Catherine the Great they Russia. Would you draw your family tree? LS. EDUCATION name? name Poland. tributary to the Vistula. the Soulima was for some reason dropped. See chart on page 16. Do you know the origin of your LS." the river. and that he was also an ancestor of Diaghilev's— which made Diaghilev my distant cousin. "Stravinsky" comes from "Strava. for his escapades stories of his with women than for and Don Juan-like behavior reached me in my childhood.Autoliogra^hical A RUSSIAN I." that he came from the Baltic provinces. Ignace Stravinsky LS. too. moved from Poland to R. was more famous anything else.C. and about him I know only that he was a high "Excellency. as far back as they can be traced. His amorous propensities continued until his very old age and were an embarrass- .C. Of my grandfathers. I know very little. The Soulima-Stravinskys were landowners in eastern Poland. FAMILY R. in eastern of a small We were originally called Soulima-Stravinsky— Soulima being the name of another Vistula branch—but when Russia annexed this part of Poland.

i6

MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES

\C

till

if §
8.a.

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
ment
to

\J

my very staid father. He was

a Pole, and therefore

a Catholic, but Alexandra Skorohodova was Orthodox; according to Russian law, the children of a mixed marriage

had

to

be Orthodox, so

my

father

was baptized

in the

Russian Church. Rimsky used to tease me, saying, "So your
grandfather's
Kiril

name was Ignace?

I

smell a Catholic there."
'little

Kholodovsky was born in Kiev—a

Russian," as

the Kievlani are called.

He was

a minister of agriculture

and served on the
ever since:

Tsar's

famous "Council of Thirty."

He

died of tuberculosis, a disease that has attacked our family

my first

wife, Catherine Nossenko, her

mother

(who was my aunt), and our elder daughter died of it; my younger daughter and granddaughter have spent years
in sanatoriums with at various times,
five
it,

and

I

myself have suffered from
I

it

but most severely in 1939, when months in the sanatorium at Sancellemoz.

was

R.C.
I.S.

And about your parents? I only know that they met in my mother's

city of Kiev,

where

my father was

the

first

basso of the opera, and that
father

they were married there.
student in the Niejinsky

My

had been a law
discovered his
the

Lyceum when he
ear.

good bass voice and good musical

He went from

lyceum

to the St. Petersburg

Conservatory and became

a pupil of Professor Everardi, whose school for the voice

was

as celebrated

as

Auer's school for the violin. At

graduation he accepted a position in the Kiev Opera, which he held for a few years, until he was ready for the Opera in St. Petersburg.
R.C. Did anyone in your family besides your father possess
I.S.

musical ability?

I think not. At least, I never heard my father or mother claim any musical talent for their parents or grandparents, and I know that my father considered his own

l8

MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES
memory
as a kind of

musical ear and

supra-Mendelian

phenomenon.

I

should add, however, that

my
her

mother was
life.

a competent pianist and a good sight reader, and that she

was
R.C.

at least mildly interested in

music

all

How

did
is,

it

happen

that

you were born

in OranienSt.

baum— that
Petersburg?
I.S.

why

did your family

move

there from

Oranienbaum was

a pleasant seaside village built
It

around an eighteenth-century palace.

faced Kronstadt,
I

and

my parents had gone
after
I

there a
air.

month before

was born

to enjoy the early

summer

We

never returned to
I

Oranienbaum
seen
it

my

birth,
it

however, and

have never

since— if

saw

then.

My

friend Charles-Albert

Cingria, a critic of "the Stravinsky of the international
style,"

used to

call

me

"le

maitre d' Oranienbaum."

R.C.
I.S.

Can you

describe your father's character?
fact, I

Oh, oh, he was not very "commode." In

was

constantly frightened of him, which, I suppose, has deeply

harmed

my own
life

character.

He had

an uncontrollable
difficult.

He would and unexpectedly, and lose himself in his anger, suddenly without regard to where he might happen to be. I rememtemper, and

with him was very

Bad Homburg when he suddenly ordered me to return to our hotel room —I was in my eleventh or twelfth year— and when I sulked,
ber being terribly humiliated in a street in
instead of immediately obeying him, he caused a major

scandal in the street.
I

He was affectionate to me only when was ill— which seems to me an excellent excuse for any
I

hypochondriac tendencies

might have. Whether or not

to gain his affection, I caught pleurisy

when

I

was
to

thirteen

and was
I

left

with tuberculosis for a time afterward. Dur-

ing this period of illness he was a different

man

forgave him everything that had happened

before.

me and He

which weakened his heart and killed him ten years later. what it was.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL was a dren but also.S. it is remind myself how Roman was a law stuAt eleven he caught diphtheria. to his surroundings. or later. His wife did write to me once in Paris. for he never wrote to me when I left Russia. . saying. but I ceedingly they used to annoy me. some time later. I. for he was absolutely untouched by music. Perhaps I should blame Bertha for corrupting me (somewhat as Byron must have been Aberdeen by May Gray). could not confide in him. in his death more than he had ever done once fallen on the stage of the opera and. he suddenly complained of great pain in his back in the place that had been struck by the fall. my mother. however—distant not only to his chil- in his He impressed me life. and was forty years I I in our family when she died. in 1917. Bertha My were fixed upon Bertha. so very good. I And was all the character of your mother and brothers? close to Goury. She on to nurse my own children. her more than I did.C. "I feel so good. had developed beyond hope of cure. R. later. German was language of corrupted in lived my nursery. When to mourned remember ex- my older brothers at all. and he continued to work as one in Leningrad until his death there in 1941. For my no one mother I in my family except my brother feelings felt only "duties. my was an East the Prussian who knew almost no Russian. He went to Berlin which is for Rontgen treatment. He was not close to me as a child. He died a year and a half later on the couch in his study." His death brought us close together. but the can- cer. dent. and I last saw him in 1908." nurse. in Morges. but I do not. Youry—George—was an architectural engineer. or so ig distant parent. I thought him a very handsome brother and I was proud of him. He had he seemed to me.

Goury began his career. all . and in 1925 their elder daughter Tatiana visited me there. Leskov. from a Mr. his death made me very lonely. like deep in range. but not as me that him there. Dostoievsky. however. I think. which the Bolsheviks later turned into a national artists' cemetery. Rather than enter the conservatory. Goury and my father were both respected by the Bolsheviks—a glorification that seems very remote now. and sang proSt. Gogol. He was conscripted early in the 1914 war and sent to the southern front in a Red Cross unit. and reported to quality. My father had been songs for him. Petersburg's Alexandro-Nevsky Cemetery.20 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES however. Goury had a baritone voice. Petersburg singer. a friend of Rimsky's eldest son Michael. a famous fessionally in St. Borodin. and live to sing buried in the Novodevitchy ( the new Maiden Cemetery. Youry died shortly before the German invasion. and he was determined to be a singer. as a law student. who used to send me letters from somewhere as I learned on Long Island with news of friends of mine in Russia: I heard of Andrei Rimsky-Korsakov's death from him (but news from Rachmaninov ) of Maximilian Steinberg's. To my great regret. Rimsky. I also had this . I composed my father's in my Verlaine I was always grieved that he did not them professionally. he studied with Tartakov. He had inherited my father's voice and musical ear. He died of scarlet fever in Rumania. ) but was reburied in the Alexandro-Nevsky Cemetery in 1917. and was buried next to my father in St. I did not hear but Diaghilev did. We had been together constantly as children. with Tchaikovsky. and finally of Youry 's. in April. and we felt that as long as we were together. like Roman and myself. and. Though I had not seen Goury since 1910. a private Petersburg theater from 1912-14. 1917. Goury was very good.

east of the Volga. however.C. where he invited us to spend our summers with him. No. it was already clear that I would not become a virtuoso on that instrument. Did your parents recognize your musical talent? LS. and my companion this time was Vladimir Rimsky-Korsakov. Alexander Ielachitch had married my mother's sister So- phie five years before my father's marriage. His five chil- enough older than the four of us to ensure that we suffered an ample amount of taunting and misery. my father judged my me. We found in each other the love and understanding denied us by our parents. We heralded his father with postcards from each of the boat's stopping dren were therefore just . though Goury was in some respects the Benjamin of the family. incidentally. possibilities as a musician from his life own experience and decided that the musical difficult for would be too I could hardly blame him. The only member of the family who I believed I think that had any was my uncle Alexander Ielachitch. for his cap and uniform were like those of a railroad conductor). I first made the trip in 1885 (sic). but of that I remember only a portrait of the Tsar on the wall of our stateroom (which was supposed to have made me cry "conductor'. I composed my first large-scale work there.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 21 was well with the world. I still resent the way they despised us because of their superior age. The four-day trips on the Volga to Pavlovka— as the Ielachitch Samara estate was called— were among the happiest days of my life. and I am even now a little triumphant that I have outlived them all. He owned vast farms and forests in the Samara Government. But Uncle Ielachitch himself was nice to me. R. for before his death I had written nothing. The second excursion came eighteen years later. and though I was progressing in my piano technique. the lost—fortunately lost—piano sonata. who specially favored neither of us.

however. such poor rhythmic — — invention (how dull is ^ TTJ I J J J J J ») and such patently false pathos. 1 1 have little enough Beethoven portrait. I think I know how Beethoven composed. I think. the talents and works of more "perfect" composers like Bach and Mozart. adored Beethoa good guide in ven and was. nor have I ever done so. . for about Bach I can only say that he is so elegant. and Nizhny-Novgorod. say. which led me to ask my uncle who the woman on the wall was. a white city for Tsar Saltan as you came upon its it around a sudden turn in the river. as a small child I did not know it was Beethoven until one day while playing in the sand dunes of the Alexander Park I saw an old woman whose face was exactly the face on my uncle's wall. so wise. ( In fact. Italian-style office buildings I drink kumiss (mare's milk). wall of his study: He had two portraits on the Renan— Uncle Ielachitch was a liberal —and Beethoven. A late and terrible example is the first movement of the ninth symphony.22 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES and gold with monastaries and glittering churches— like a set places: Rybinsk (literally. The latter was a copy of the Waldmuller seemed to contradict the whole hero-worshiping notion of Beethoven then prevalent. my early under- standing of that composer. It 1 Though I do not understand how a man of such powers could lapse so frequently into such banality. where. How could Beethoven have been satisfied if he was satisfied with such quadrilateral phrasebuilding and pedantic development ( of Bars 387-400). with blue and gold churches ( saw colored slides of Yaroslav recently in Manila at Ambassador Bohlen's). ) In any case. "fish town"). Yaroslav. who. so indispensable. Uncle Ielachitch. we would walk to little booths and and its yellow. as introduced I have said in our first book. the octave passage for violins in the Malin- conia is an early and tiny example of what I mean. I did not hero-worship Beethoven. surrounded by mendicant monks. The mere fact that I can talk about Beethoven in this fashion proves my point. and the nature of Beethoven's talent and work are more 'Tinman" and more comprehensible to me than are. me to the music of Brahms.

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
in

23

me, alas, but some people have found I have some. (Someone has even compared the first movement of the

Eroica, Bars 272-75, with the three chords following
Fig. 173 in

Le

Sacre, with Fig. 22 Renard,
of

and with the

in

same musical figure in the first movement Three Movements, Bars 69-71.)
R.C.

my Symphony

Would you

describe your

home

in St. Petersburg?

I.S.

We occupied a flat in a large old house on the Krukov
The house no longer
give

Canal: Apartment 66, Krukov Canal.
exists,

thanks to a
it

German bomb, but Ansermet could

more recent than my own, for he visited my brother there in 1938. It was a four-story house. We lived on the third floor, and, at one time, Karsavina rented
a description of
the floor above us.

On

the other side of the canal stood a

very handsome Empire-style building, yellow in color, like
the Villa Medici in

Rome, but a

prison, unfortunately.

The

building next to us was an apartment house also, and the

conductor Napravnik lived there.

Our
etc.,

flat

was furnished

in the usual Victorian

manner,

with the usual bad paintings, the usual mauve upholstery,
but with an unusual library and two grand pianos. To
it

recall

gives

me no

pleasure, however. I

do not

like to

and remember my childhood, and Goury's room represent my most abiding impression of home. Our room was like Petroushka's cell, and most of my time was spent there. I was allowed out-of-doors only after my parents had put me through a medical examination, and I was considered too frail to participate in any sports or games when I was out. I suspect even now that
the four walls of

my

my hatred of sports is my jealousy at having been
of them.

deprived

A new life began for me after the death of my father, when I began to live more in accordance with my own wishes. I even left home altogether on one occasion, leav-

24
ing

MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES

my

at 66

mother the traditional note, Krukov Canal was impossible.

to the effect that life
I

sought refuge with

a recently married Ielachitch cousin, a

man

devoted to

any form of revolution or protestation, but

after a

few days
to

my mother managed

to fall

ill

enough

to force

me

come

back. She did behave slightly less egotistically after that,

however, and her delight in torturing
less intense. I

me seemed

slightly

continued to live at

home during
to another
St.

the

first

year of

my

marriage, then

moved
last

apartment
Peters-

on the English Prospekt,
burg.

my

residence in

TEACHERS
R.C.

Would you

describe your piano lessons with Mile.

Kashperova?
Z.S.

She was an excellent pianist and a blockhead, a not

unusual combination.

By which

I

mean

that her aesthetics

and her bad

tastes

were impregnable, but her pianism of

a high order. She was well

known

in St. Petersburg,

and

though her name would not appear
I

in

Grove or Riemann,

think she might have been listed in a Russian dictionary

of the time. She talked endlessly about her teacher,

Anton

Rubinstein, and I was attentive to this because I had seen

Rubinstein in his
I

coffin.

(

It

was a
it,

sight I shall never forget.

was somewhat prepared
I

for

because at an even earlier

had seen the dead Emperor Alexander III— a yellow, waxen, uniformed doll— lying in state in the Sts. Peter and
age
Paul Cathedral. Rubinstein was white, but with a thick
black mane; he was in
full dress, as

though

for a concert,

and

his

hands were folded over a

cross; I

did not see

Tchaikovsky in

his coffin, incidentally,

because

thought the weather too dangerously
going out.)
I

my parents bad for me to risk

learned to play the Mendelssohn G-Minor

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
Concerto with Mile. Kashperova, and

25

sonatas by and other pieces by Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, and Schumann. Chopin was forbidden, and she tried to discourage my interest in

many

Clementi and Mozart, as well

as sonatas

Wagner. Nevertheless,
piano scores, and
at last scores.

I

knew
I

all

Wagner's works from the

when

had the money

to

was sixteen or seventeen, and buy them, from the orchestral

We

played Rimsky's operas together, four-hands,

and

I

remember deriving much pleasure from Christmas
way. Mile. Kashperova's only idiosyncrasy as a

Eve

this

teacher was in forbidding

me

all

use of pedals;

I

had

to

sustain with my fingers, like an organist— an
as I

omen, perhaps,
I

have never been a pedal composer.

am most

in

Kashperova's debt, however, for something she would not

have appreciated. Her narrowness and her formulae greatly
encouraged the supply of bitterness that accumulated
in

my

soul, until, in

my

mid-twenties,

I

broke loose and

revolted from her and from every stultification in
studies,

my
to

my

schools,

and

my

family.
is

The
that

real
it

answer

your questions about
of waiting for the

my

childhood
I

was

a period

moment when

could send everyone

and everything connected with
R.C.
I.S.
I

it to hell.

What

schools did

you attend

in St. Petersburg?
St.

attended a government school, the Second
until I

Peters-

burg Gymnasium,
there
I

was fourteen

or fifteen.

From

Gymnasium, a private school where Youry had been before me. The Gourevitch Gymnasium was about eight miles from our house, in
to the Gourevitch

went

a neighbourhood called "peski"— "the sands"— and these
eight miles kept

me

in constant debt.
I

Always too

late in

the mornings for the tram,

and pay forty or

fifty

would have to take a fiacre kopecks. But the fiacre rides were

the only thing about school I liked. Especially in winter,

C. and (Another of my us. Woolf— did understand me. a drunkard. I have only a vague and uninterested memory of the university. He knew that I composed—I had already been reproached for it by the school director— and he helped. I lit- was of course a very bad pupil. and I was interested in the theoretical and . protected. coat pocket.S.C. too. professors was a drunkard to the a man in perpetual disgrace his who would walk steal a nip window. and French eratures. sity? I. mathematics. did all and I hated this school as I my schools. what a pleasure it was to drive through the Nevsky Prospekt in a sleigh. and in all my four years there probably did not hear more than fifty.S. turn bottle in his back to and from a little mocked him cruelly. Russian. The Gourevitch Gymnasium was divided into a "classical" and a "realschule" My own curriculum belonged to the former: history. My mathematics professor in called this same Gourevitch I Gymnasium— a man think. ) Professor Woolf was also an amateur musician. profoundly and forever. officer still He was an ex-Hussar with a real talent for was. I read criminal law and legal philosophy. R. the other boys UNIVERSITY R. Greek.26 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES and on the way home. I opted not to I attend. and then. Did you have any sympathetic teachers? I. Petersburg Univer- As attendance at lectures was optional. What are your memories of St. and encouraged me. Latin. but he had been. at home. to warm myself in front of our big white porcelain stove. mathematics. protected by a net from the dirty snow kicked up by the horse.

I was detained seven hours. (pronounced in Russian as a four-syllable paroxytone— it Ivanhoye ) was as popular a children's book as in the English-speaking countries. ever was . when a group of students began to stage a prot- The were police were prepared. in a duel in Tashkent. and Mark Twain (whose daughter I later knew in Hollywood ) and Scott. The Scandinavians then so popular not appeal to — Lagerlof and Hamsun— did me at all. and Dickens. realizing that I would never pass one of my examinations. when. Ibsen. I liked Gorky most and liked most Andreyev. What did you read in your university years? Russian literature mostly. Ibsen's plays were as popular in Russia in those years as Tchaikovsky's Sudermann and Hauptmann were also in great vogue then. I proposed to exchange names with Nicolai Yussupov. but university.C. that he might take my examination and I one of his: we were better in each other's The ruse was never detected. but seventy years will not erase the of memory my fears. so 2J I by the time entered the my time was spent with the RimskyKorsakov family I could hardly do justice to my studies. and the estants arrested.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL abstract questions of both. I was walking through the Kazansky Place one after- noon in the politically tense months following the Russo- Japanese war. . Of the new writers. but poor Nicolai— whose brother later killed Rasputin— died shortly after subjects. because our faces were quite unknown to the professors. Dostoievsky was always dis- my hero. and the literature of other countries in Russian translation. but I admired Strindberg and. protest. spring The other incident occurred during the last cramming season.S. whose Ivanhoe music. of course. I. however. I can now recall only two incidents connected with my life much of there. myself with them. R. passing my exam.

PETERSBURG What music did you You often mention the St. a certain Miss Petrenko. Like the "Monday Evening Concerts" in Los Angeles. who were always aware of the newest art developments in Berlin and Paris. 2 Brahms was played. . and Reger. but French music— the pieces and songs of Debussy and Ravel. First of all. of course. Works by young Russian composers were in the majority." hear there? IS. All the composers. I think. I first music of mine performed in public. an arrangement by dlndy. an inept imitoo. and the artists of St. in my Gorodetsky songs. Petersburg concert series. met at these concerts were also a great part of the interest. suppose. for so are dedicated to many organizations new music. my own. for he said nothing. too. Petersburg in my youth. I heard Monteverdi there for the in time. and Couperin and Bach was performed in quantity. IN ST. and to be was the was. and so few to the centuries first before Bach. and also the intelligent amateurs— like my friends Ivan Pokrovsky and Stepan Mitusov. "Evenings of Contemporary Music. but he probably understood that it had been part of the background that had provoked me into writing Le Sacre. and The people I 2 When I met d'lndy at a rehearsal of Le Sacre in 1921 1 told him I had heard an amount of his music in St. This was important. and various by Dukas and dlndy—was also promoted. the poets. Nicolas Richter played this It my early piano sonata there. and rare. Petersburg were there. tried to match the new with the old. as tation of late Beethoven.C. Monteclair. I myself performed there accompanist to a singer. in quartets spite of their name. these St. Petersburg concerts.28 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES CONCERTS R.

No. 29 St. That was the most wonderful event of every year of 3 I my childhood. and from time to time a piece of sec- composed music.C. backstage after a concert he conParis in all ducted in Konstantinovitch. the programs of the Imperial Symphony were very like the much programs of American orchestras today: standard repertory. and say nothing.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL R. he was so consumed with animosity I saw him for the last time. such things have been seen only in circuses. and I often met him at concerts." 1935. his other would not have recommended it. 3 Once I saw him stand up in his box— he was a tall man.C.S. I. "Greetings to you. R. but they concentrated too much on the Russian "Five. half offer his hand. I knew Belayev.S. Alexander he could do was to look dour. "Until now. am that when not being unfair to Glazunov. His Editions et Belayev in Leipzig had published my Faune Bergere— probably on Rimsky's advice. . The symphonies of Brahms were considered new music still and Bruckner and therefore were rarely and very timidly played. since Glazunov. locally sian Rockefeller who played the violin. Were there any "advanced" orchestral concerts in Petersburg? I. What The did you love most in Russia? violent Russian spring that like the seemed to begin in an hour and was whole earth cracking. Belayev turned to me and said." Incidentally. and said. Belayev's "Russian Symphony Concerts" were more interesting. He was the great music patron of his time— a kind of Rusond-rate. with very artistic hair— and stare with amazement at the stage where Koussevitzky had just come on carrying his double bass to play a solo." adviser.

Moreover. that But I I do know that it was excited by the dance and applauded with all my strength.C.S. in already quite rigidly conven- . that the ballet was petri- fying—that was. for ballet was an important part of our culture and a familiar subject to me from my earliest childhood. my had seen him several times myself. and perhaps those are really my parents' and impressions of my impressions. R. was a friend of father's. repeated to I me afterward. that the latter was At the age of seven or eight I my first attendance at a theatrical-musical performance. Of the performance itself. DIAGHILEV AND HIS DANCERS your first Do you remember attendance at a ballet performance? I. Therefore I was able to identify the dance positions and steps. Petipa. however. I remember only my musical impressions. am I always interested in the question of tempo in other periods. which contradicts what I said in our first series of conversations. If I could transport myself back to that night seventy years ago I would do so only to satisfy for I my curiosity about the musical tempi. was taken to see The Sleeping Beauty. I realize now that I was older than this when I saw A Life for the Tsar. I was enchanted by the ballet. the choreographer.II. As grew up it I became aware fact. but I had been prepared for what I saw. and I knew I the plot and the music long in advance.

Pavlova. Pavlova was an artiste.C. which was in Paris in the 1930s. and quite devoid of constructive In fact. but of an art far removed from the world of the Diaghilev Ballet. What Anna ballet dancer did you most admire in your student years? LS. 1909. modern movement in But would that moveI do not think PAVLOVA R. Petersburg. "Decadent" and "modern" were interchange- able then. and that we drank of much champagne. to the last time. she did not dance in I think. Diaghilev December. I met her in home in St. tique my Scherzo Fantas- and Fireworks. She considered these pieces horribly ( decadent. remember no difference in her dance from the first time I saw it. at her had asked her to invite me to a party. I interest. in St. though Diaghilev had very much wanted her to join.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL tional. Pavlova thought Firebird. it as an exploitable musical medium. She was never a member of Diaghilev's company. me The The reasons for her refusal were. ment have taken place without Diaghilev? so. But whatever personally. whereas "decadent" now very often means "not modern enough. Petersburg in 1905 or 1906. I 31 could not regard of course. . hoping that after she agree to dance the part of the Firebird. lous and I would have been quite increduthat a had anyone suggested the arts was to be born through it. but the dance itself was always the same.") The lines of Pavlova's form and her mobile expression were ever beautiful to behold. however. had met me she might I remember that Benois and Fokine were there that night too.

C. the Prin- were insipidly sweet. Who taught you most about the technique of the dance? LS. and as like her husband as a twin. Everyone in the company. that Diaghilev required. Imagine how delighted I was when Cecchetti agreed to dance the Magician in Petrou- shka. Do you remember I do. Nor did Fokine realize my ideas for Petroushka. We didn't have to paste a false beard on himl FOKINE R. the elder of the Ballet and the authority for every dance step in every ballet final we did. but it was precisely his academicism. conscience through He remained its the company's dance- entire existence. His knowledge was limited to the classical dance. from Nijinsky to the apprentices. but I didn't really like the dance in movement of either ballet. not his aesthetics. and he therefore opposed the trend of our Ballet as a whole. Diaghilev called her "the Cecchetti in petticoats. Maestro Cecchetti. they sat on the floor kicking their legs in an incredi- bly stupid manner. He was a very cozy man. also a dancer. There was a Si- gnora Cecchetti too. venerated him. conceived the Charlatan as a character . while the male dancers were the ne plus ultra of brute masculinity: in the Kastchei scene. though ( I suspect that this time the fault was rather with Diaghilev I than with Fokine. Fokine's choreography for the original Firebird and Petroushka? LS. The female dancers The Firebird.32 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES R. I prefer Balanchine's choreography for the 1945 version of the Firebird suite to the whole Fokine ballet is and the music too: the music of the complete ballet too long and patchy in quality). cesses. and I had become friends with him already in St.C." I once saw her dance in crinolines and with a great papiermache boat on her head. Petersburg. of course.

I had thought of the Moor as the as a kind of Wilhelm Busch caricature and not is merely out mechanical comic-relief character he to be. which redeemed him— from time to time. like. and appearance at the end makes die Petroushka of the predoll. 33 out of E. but a nose-thumbing ad- dressed to the audience.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL blue frac with gold ropolitan. Then. etc. with Glazunov. Weber-like. ghost. and not is at all as a Russian Met- The flute music. the Nurses. a lackey in a tightly modeled stars. not even in our for I was never for first years together. was the rigid arm move- ment ture. One great invention of Fokine's. I never did like the full-stage dance carrousel at this point of the drama. or Hoffmann- not Russian "Five. however. the Another of ideas my audience.) from a hole in his cell and that we. was a partisan his of Cecchetti's. usually made was that Petroushka should watch the dances of the Fourth Tableau ( the Coachmen. A. he would lock his door for two-week binges on Chateau I YquemI Imagine bingeing on Chateau Yquem! a friend of Fokine's." Also. ceding play a mere or protest. however. as is His gesture is not one of triumph so often said. In agreeable fact. and Cecchetti was him the merest academician. Hoffmann. And Fokine's choreography was am- biguous at the most important moment. he was the most man I have ever met. is The significance of this gesture not and never was clear in Fokine's staging. too. that dances for Prince Igor suggested that to deal he was the best qualified of our choreographers with The Firebird. is the real Petroushka. but Glazunov was a time- to-time drunkard. too. after The Firebird and Petrou- . T. should see them. as his I Petroushka's conceived the story. Diaghilev agreed with me. from the perspective of his cell. that Nijinsky was to make such an unforgettable ges- Fokine was easily the most disagreeable man I have ever dis- worked with.

I saw him last with Ida Rubinstein. when I knew him better. When Diaghilev introduced me to Nijinsky— it was Petersburg in 1909—I was aware of him as an extraorI was aware. He was to have choreographed my Baiser de la Fee for her. his most perfect immobile. and he was immediately very open and affectionate with me—but he was always that. a captive in his own mind. I often think of dinary physical being. too. gift of expression in movement stricken. in his personality. Polish speech. After that and until the end of his life ( 1940) I received complaints from him about business or royalty matters connected with The Firebird. The Tsar's mother had at- . I came to understand the absences as a kind of stigmata. St.S. I MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES had little do with him. and I was much relieved. Nijinsky was become even more celebrated shortly afterward because of a scandal. He was spoiled by his and ever after wore the "I-have-madean-American-kilT look. I liked his shy Nijinsky in his final years. and little else. to when I first knew him. Diaghilev had taken charge of his costuming Already a celebrity —they were living together—with the result that Nijinsky appeared at the Imperial Theater in the tightest tights anyone had ever seen ( in fact. Later." NIJINSKY AND NIJINSKA R.34 shka. an athletic support padded with handkerchiefs). I could not imagine that they would so soon and so tragically destroy him. Have you any further recollections to add you have already written about Vaslav Nijinsky? to what in I. I thought him childishly spoiled and impulsive. too. of curious absences manner and his soft. Later. but finally Bronislava Nijinska did it. which he would actually refer to as my "musical accompaniment" to his to success in America "choreographic poem.C.

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
Prince Wolkonsky, the director of the theater and a
similar sensibilities,

35

tended a performance and was shocked. Diaghilev and

man of

were thought

to

have conspired against

The Tsar himself was shocked. He alluded to the matter in conversation with Diaghilev but was so curtly answered that Diaghilev was never thereafter in
public decency.

good

official

odor. I discovered this for myself

when

Diaghilev asked

me

to

approach Ambassador Izvolsky in

an attempt to secure a passport for a dancer of conscription age.

When

Izvolsky understood

my

request to be on

became quite coldly diplomatic, ( But was often Diaghilev's ambassador in later years, especially his "financial" ambassador—or, as he called me, his
Diaghilev's behalf he
I

"tax-collector.")

To

return to the Imperial Theater scandal, the truth

is

was not Nijinsky but Diaghilev. Nijinsky was always very serious and high-minded and, in my judgment, never conscious of his performances from
that the exhibitionist

Diaghilev's point of view. I
later, in Paris,

was even more

certain of this
of a Faun.

when he danced The Afternoon
was

This ballet's famous representation of the act of love, and
its

exhibition of sexual organs,

entirely Diaghilev's

idea.

Even

so,

Nijinsky 's performance was such marvel-

ously concentrated art that only a fool could have been

shocked by it— but then,

I

adored the ballet myself.

Nijinsky was wholly without guile. More than that, he was naively— appallingly—honest. He never understood
that in Society one does not always say
all

that one thinks.

At a party
in

in

London, some time before the Sacre du
decide what sort of animal each

Printemps premiere, Lady Ripon proposed a parlor game

which we were

all to

other most resembled—a dangerous game.
tiated

Lady Ripon

ini-

it herself by saying that "Diaghilev looks like a bulldog and Stravinsky like a reynard. Now, M. Nijinsky, what

36

MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES

do you think I look like?" Nijinsky thought a moment, then spoke the awful, exact truth: "Vous, Madame— chameau"
—just the three words; Nijinsky did not speak

much

Lady Ripon did not expect that, of course, and in spite of her repeating, "A camel? How amusing! I declare. Really? A camel?" she was flustered all evening. My own disappointment with Nijinsky was due to the fact that he did not know the musical alphabet. He never
French.

understood musical meters and he had no very certain
sense of tempo.

chaos that was he Sacre

You may imagine from this the rhythmic du Printemps, and especially the
dance, where poor Mile.
Piltz,

chaos of the
ficial

last

the Sacri-

Maiden, was not even aware of the changing bars.
to

Nor did Nijinsky make any attempt
lescents, for example, I

understand

my own

choreographic ideas for he Sacre. In the Danses des Ado-

had imagined a row

of almost

motionless dancers. Nijinsky

made

of this piece a big jump-

ing match.

do not say that Nijinsky's creative imagination lacked abundance; on the contrary, it was almost too rich. The point is simply that he did not know music, and therefore
I

his notion of the relation of

dance to

it

was

primitive.

To

some extent
for

might have been remedied by education, of course he was musical. But at the time he was made
this

chief choreographer of the Ballet he

was hopelessly incom-

petent in musical technique.

He believed that the choreogeffect, this restricted

raphy should re-emphasize the musical beat and pattern
through constant co-ordination. In
of

the dance to rhythmic duplication of the music and
it

made
must

an imitation. Choreography, as
its

I

conceive

it,

realize

own form, one independent of the

musical form,

though measured

to the musical unit. Its construction will

be based on whatever correspondences the choreographer

may

invent, but

it

must not seek merely

to duplicate the

AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL
line

37

and beat

of the music. I

do not see

how one
is

can be a

choreographer unless, like Balanchine, one
first.

a musician

was the least capable musically of my choreographic collaborators, his talent was elsewhere—and one talent such as he had is enough. To call him a dancer is not enough, however, for he was an even greater dramatic
If Nijinsky

actor.

His beautiful, but certainly not handsome, face
I

could become the most powerful actor's mask
seen,

have ever

and
I

as Petroushka

he was the most exciting human

being

have ever seen on a stage.
discovered a Nijinsky letter— addressed to

I recently

me

in Russia

but forwarded to Switzerland, where
It is

I

was

then staying.

a document of such astounding innoit,

cence—if Nijinsky hadn't written

I

think only a char-

acter in Dostoievsky might have. It seems incredible to

me

even

now

that he

was

so

unaware

of the politics
Ballet. I

and

sexual jealousies

and motives within the

never saw

Nijinsky again after
I

he Sacre du Printemps,
I

so, in fact,

knew him

for only four years.

But those four years were

the great age of the Ballet and

was with him then almost

every day. I do not recall what I answered, but Diaghilev had already returned to Russia, and when I saw him on
his

next trip to Paris, Massine had "replaced" poor Nijin-

sky.

Tuesday, gth December 19 13
1

Hidegkuti ut $1

(

Budapest )

from you what has happened to me that I went to South America and have not been in Europe for four months. These four months cost me dearly in money and health. My room with board cost 150 francs daily. I did not earn this money from Serge, however, but was obliged to take it from my own capital. What did Serge do all this time while we were in South America? I do not know.

Dear

Igor: I cannot hide

these last months.

You know

with Bach's music.. what is the reason for his behavior. All the preparatory work for these ballets was completed and 1 had only to put them in rehearsal. And I needed an answer.38 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES I wrote him many times without receiving any answer. from which we almost died. ositions from eveiy side. But die whole press is against him (including the feuilletons) They also say that I am gathering a company of my own. I am receiving propnot working any . If it is true that Serge Please write to does not want to work with me—then I have lost everydung. as I had worked on two new ballets— Joseph and Potiphar. the rigisseur of the Ballet. here I have been ill for two months. Serge owes me a lot of money. The answer to my telegram was a letter from Grigoriev informing me that I shall not be asked to stage any ballets this season. and I did not write you because I had so much to do. Please ask Serge what is the matter. In all the newspaI pers of Germany. Jeux. Paris. Please excuse me. Now I am all right. too. . etc. who 1 Serge Grigoriev. 1 me whether this is true. But I won't give them a definite answer before I have news from you. But though I was lucky in America. and that I am not needed as an artist. etc. and Le Sacre du Printemps. by Strauss. neither for my dancing nor for my staging Faune. I could not rehearse in America because of the terrible heat. I did not send you an invitation to my wedding as I knew you would not come. I cannot imagine what has happened. and the biggest of these comes from a offers one million francs to organize a new Diaghilev 2 Russian Ballet— they wish me to have sole artistic direction and large sums of money to commission decors. very rich businessman. In truth. and another one. and write to me about it. music. I do not believe that Serge can act that meanly to me. I worked for the Ballet without a contract. and London. 2 Sic. I have received nothing for two years. You understand the situation I am in. I went with my wife to her parents' home in Budapest and there I immediately sent a telegram to Serge asking him when we could see each other. How I managed to stay in good health up to the last evening there I do not know. it is reported that am more with Diaghilev.

and the costumes were brown peasant costumes. and her acrobatic Renard. though the latter was ruined chiefly by some jugglers Diaghilev had borrowed from a circus— to the 1929 revival. V. his that did Be- cause her face was bony and interesting. Renard The The animal saluted very like the Russian Army (Orwell would have liked this). Who. then. She looked like Nijinsky. and there was always an underlying significance to their movements. I my letter immediately. after Nijinsky's marriage. was even shaped like him— with the same big shoulders. Her conception of Noces in blocks and masses. as well as set of with the real— not Noces was a beeswax yellow. Poor Bronislava had no luck with Diaghilev. Regards to your wife and to R.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 39 My swer numerous friends send me letters of revolt and rage against Diaghilev— and propositions to help my new enterprise. instead of the hideously un-Russian reds. later. all I know. Diaghilev wouldn't let her dance the Ballerina in Petroushka. Then. She was a constant reminder to him . in the Diaghilev period? LS. the Nijinskys— brother and sister together—were the best dancing pair imaginable. and blues one usually sees in foreign stagings of Russian plays. Nijinska's Renard was superior in every way was also a real Russian satire. Nijinsky's raphy for the original productions of Her choreogRenard (1922) and Noces (1923) pleased me more than any other works of mine interpreted by the Diaghilev troupe. was your most successful choreographer sister. In- deed. And as a dancer she was second to none. Bronislava Nijinska.C. coincided with realistic— decors. instead of dolllike. hope you will not forget me and join me in me and will an- Your loving Vaslav. my ideas. greens. Diaghilev could not overcome his prejudice. an idea of not succeed at all.

"Demon femelle he was showman enough to know how to emphasize the ." etc. too. because. beauty of the female body Poor Bronislava's I regretted this in the ballet. He a kind of homosexual Swiss it. It pained Diaghilev doubly. that this person woman. know how he could that I me women was morbid (though I have known very much about . Paul— even including the horses— and how unnecessary in any case to Paul's conversion). however." And so on. was an incomplete artist because "morbid. I — is almost impossible to describe the perversity of Diaghilev's entou- — concerning — — answered. except for her and Fokine. "I long to surrender myself to him." he is supposed to have replied. He would describe his own latest mignon in the most gratifying terms. "Je suis surement vicieux. . Michelangelo ( what a chaos of pederasty is Michelangelo's Conversion of St. sex. "Ou vous etes un vicieux ou vous etes fou. ." He would draw cartoons on restaurant tablecloths of steatopygous and gourd-geously mammiferous women— they looked like Dubuffet madonnas— argue about Socrates." etc. At the same time. and then asked what the matter was. 3 3 It rage Guard and the incidents and stories remember a rehearsal for the revival of Renard. how indomitable was Diaghilev's sex- He had argued for years to convince that the exclusive love of don't that). Jesus. and name were against her. .40 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES who dared look like Nijinsky was a of her brother. . the position of They had been elevated to choreographers not by education or experi- ence but through being Diaghilev's eromenoi. and when one of the policemen said. and go on about "all great artists. I followed his gaze to a Monegasque soldier in a tricorne. You can hardly imagine ual prejudice. at which our pianist a handsome fijicus of Diaghilev's began looking very intently beyond the music rack. in Monaco suddenly in 1929. and quote Verlaine: . ." Another of Diaghilev's proteges was discovered nude by the police beneath a bridge near Nice. Leonardo da Vinci. the choreographers of my ballets were not so much dance com- posers as dance performers. looks.

Massine's Strauss's cinella. my orchestra. I Later. first Do you remember Pulcinella? Massine's choreography for the I.C. In 1914— after Nijinsky's marriage— Diaghilev returned from Russia with Leonid Massine.S. the first ballerina in Petroushka. and the first Firebird (though she should have been the Princess and Pavlova the Firebird ) Tchernicheva. a beautiful Firebird . however. first ballet was Legend of Joseph. but only the variation movement was contradictory to the music. Lopokova. Nijinsky. is a solo woodwind quartet. after the greatest Petroushka. THE DIAGHILEV BALLET AND DIAGHILEV R.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 41 MASSINE R. and stage. you know. There was a lack of co-ordination between pit was unworthy of and the result the best standards of the company. Massine did the choreography for the revival of he Sacre du Printemps. Karsavina. I considered it very good. on the whole. besides Ful- Massine did the choreography of The 'Nightingale. Instead of I had scored the as music. Massine had already choreographed the Variations before orchestra with harps.C. of the latter The performances were not good. It was sometimes mechanical. thought this excellent— incompa- rably clearer than Nijinsky's. Woizikovsky. I do and. the great jumper and. the lady of the Ballet.S. and Diaghilev had told him I would use a large this. I should mention Idzikovsky. because of insufficient orchestra rehearsals. Of my music. of the perfect technique. . Are there any other dancers and choreographers you would like to mention? I.

But was all inevitable. since Diaghilev his artists was more strong. Piltz. Sokolova. in the war). who choreographed Apollo and (I Amerfirst the European Apollo just as I had met him in April. Diaghilev was sometimes possessed by very odd and impractical ideas. he suddenly decided to stage His plan was . was finishing Noces. who choreographed close friend in who became my George Balanchine. from my point of view. in Nice. 1923. Lifar. and as he was a stubborn man.42 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES woman too— she had infatuated woman who had attracted Russian with the German name who du Printemps. temporarily dissolved as was early 1920s. I illustrated by his use of jugglers in Renard.willed than and since he controlled every detail of every ballet he produced. in fact. first the revival of he Sacre. it. Diaghilev could not bear name VHistoire du it Soldat because his it company had But in the not produced (as indeed it could not have done in 1918. many in trying to argue I hours of my (and his) life were spent That is him out of eccentric notions. Adolphe Bolm. I see that while attempting to remember the "dancers of the Russian Ballet" I have actually said more about Diaghilev himself and his abnormal psychology (though I have not exaggerated the arts latter ) than about the Terpsithis chorean and artists in his company. Balanchine his wife had come from Russia with Danilova expressly to attend the premiere of Noces). who was so Princess and a beautiful Alfonso XIII and was the only Ravel. beautiful as Apollo. did win in one important case though— L' Histoire du the Soldat. was not always successful. the danced in The Firebird with Fokina and Tchernicheva star of the first Sacre and was the who danced the ica.

also. lay on his bed. Vassili once told to me that when they were en his knees route America in 1916 Diaghilev was so frightened by rough seas that he made him go down on and pray. life. They played. He had been a bibliophile all his and his Russian library was one of the finest in the 4 world. Diaghilev. or hairbrushes. He asked Diaghilev if he played checkers. his domestic—who was always by his side holding Turkish towels. so terrified was he." old family portraits. Dr. he did not want to exclude the Christian possibility altogether. Tolstoy said. while he. though he had never played in his life. ried amulets. he avoided thirteens. and Diaghilev said he did. but you know Cocteau's caricature—Vassili was made to perform what Diaghilev regarded as the more orthodox superstition of prayer. but his only real interest in Diaghilev was as a checkers opponent.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL eccentric. open ladders. At times I thought him pathologically superstitious. Diaghilev was in no sense an intellectual. Vassili. Johnson he counted paving stones. But his that he mind was so preyed upon by superstition was incapable of true intellectual examination. and an authority on Russian painting. The man received him . intellectuals never have any real taste—and has anyone ever had so much taste as Diaghilev? He was a deeply cultured man. Massine would eventually have been blamed for the choreography of this undanceable ballet. worrying for both— 4 Diaghilev once told me old about his visit to Tolstoy to see Tolstoy's cordially and showed him around his gallery with a big lantern. but it was all Diaghilevs idea. however— scholar in certain areas of art history. while he was not a believer. "sandwich men. besides. American sidewalk walking-advertisements. black cats. "Young man. now go upstairs and take tea. for. or pickets. he He like car- pronounced talismanic formulas." as they are called. He was much too sensual for that. and of course Diaghilev did everything wrong. you should have told the truth right away. 43 The dancers were to go about wearing adver- tisements.

Salvo. Diaghilev was a diabetic. and utterly ruthless careerist who was about as fond of Diaghilev as Herod was of children. This was for the digital counterinfluence until the three benefit of one of his last proteges— a modest. me at the time of Diaghilev's is One of the documents a German newspaper I describing Diaghilev as "ein beriihmter Tanzer.44 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES I a real division of labor. I do not know the medical explanation of his death. and which he had very and because I we were not reconciled when he died. He men behind him and said that one of them had the malocchio. but the I do know that event was a terrible shock to me. with his left hand. what are you doing?" asked." Diaghilev feared the iettatore and would make the sign its spell. crossing himself. staged. lish remember a trip across the Engat Channel with him myself. with the first two fingers of his right hand against Once when we were talking together in a theater I was sign surprised to see his right hand occupied with the I while he continued to talk to me. He starved himself for the sake of his figure. "Salvo." quote two of the letters. self-effacing. had broken with him over Le Baiser as I have said. I remember him— the next to last time I saw him—opening his overcoat and proudly showing me how slender he had become. Ida Rubinstein had bitterly criticized). Diaghilev was self-destructively vain. so to speak. I looked and saw that he was mistaken and told him so. more so because de la Fee (which. and saying. letters have recently imcovered a packet of to and other documents addressed death. . but he would not abandon the pointed to three men had gone. and how he kept looking a barometer. "Seriosha. but jections he was not saved by insulin (he feared his in- and preferred to take this I chances with the dis- ease ) .

bereft of a am . and to me person- ally the kindest of friends. for of course no one could ever take his place. Diaghilev and it is I am profoundly moved by Of all the death of my wish to write to you before I speak to anythe admirable first one that else. besides. everyone in Italy always than once. I embrace you with all my old and true affection. they were students together at Petersburg University. a terrible loss for you. says. NouveFs he used sensibilities were similar to Diaghilev's (indeed. they recognize one right to away. Later we understood how useless were such fears. We owe him above And . the Ballet couldn't it is have existed. "I like Italians. fears during the war The second of the Ballet letter is from Walter Nouvel. 'Grazie. Paris. What all. His calm and intelligence saved the Ballet more He was a good musician too."). tante me. the secretary and Diaghilev's most intimate friend since St. We are man to whom I was tied by a friendship of forty years. to say. which I sent registered. . whoever that is now. friend died without surviving his work. However. 30th August iQ2g My dear Igor. that a consolation that our poor I always remember his someone might come and take his place. things he did. the was his revelation of you.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL Granada 45 Antequeruela Alta 11 22nd August 1929 Bien cher Igor. Manuel de Falla P. I was touched to my soul I by your deeply-felt letter. I hope you received my last letter. thinking you might be absent.S. I ask you to do this because I do not know anyone there now who could receive them. Many things sharing the same sorrow. . And now I beg one favor of you: please give my most passionate condolences to the head of the Diaghilev Ballet. But I am happy today that I never failed to be faithful to this friendship. without you.

He lived and died "one of the favored of God. Walter Nouvel These are four letters from Diaghilev to me: 1st November. but refused to do the ballet. And I understand now that no ordinary measure of the conduct of human relations could be applied to so exceptional a man. wire you that I have signed the American contract. and a I Dionysian heathen. was beautiful. earthly passions. I embrace you. not of a Christian. went to Rome for two weeks as I with him and with disapproved of the Mestrovic. but mysticism was that of a pagan. earthly beauty. order. both because idea of presenting the Mass as a ballet spectacle. 1914 Firenze Quattro viale Torricelli I You awful pig. Faith was replaced by a deep superstition. a pagan's death. and served his whole life. This does not his mean that he was without mysticism. With him. His death. and because Diaghilev wanted me to compose it and Les Noces for the same price. Often I united us and suffered from him. He died in love and beauty and under the smiles of those two gods he swore by. but now that he is in the grave all is forgotten and all forgiven. . Such a man must be loved by Christ. often was revolted by him. The sky was for him no more than a beautiful cupola above a beautiful earth.46 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES many things separated us. he had no fear of God but was terrified before the elements and their mysteries. He loved all earthly things: earthly love. almost childlike. he possessed no Christian humility but was instead a man of sensual. emotions and feelings. with such passion. and that Mestrovic 5 answered that he expected 5 me in Rome I in The ballet Diaghilev had planned with Mestrovic was his guest to discuss the project I Liturgie. not an Apollonian." But he was a heathen. No.

Stravinsky is young and as he is not trying to make a regular conductor s career I hope he will be satisfied with a very modest sum which could be between six and seven hundred francs. I have received a telegram from Nijinsky." me how good settled boasted that he could invite Then when I saw him next was to be an absolute Tsar and you without asking anybody." I hastened to San Martino and explained to him that the train ticket costs 240 francs and your sojourn in Rome seven days at 50 francs a day. Roma. Yours. We were in Ravenna and were overwhelmed by this magnificent cemetery.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 47 November. which tableau of Noces have you reached? Write. an old man. Fokine an amiable inquiry about my affairs. Prokofiev is working with Gorodetsky and it seems he will finish his piano concerto. to take to my pen. when suddenly Academy received a letter with the following: in as to the fee. you can imagine finds itself in what an embarrassing this. . I received from your Mr. 6 President of the Santa Cecilia. "But I will proposed it take Stravinsky with four hands. Sebiosha Grand Hotel. Well. The Fokines are at Biarritz. Koussevitzky is going to conduct in Rome and I shall see him. . When originally jumped up on time he told details his San Martino 6 he divan in transports and shouted. Dog. condition the it a season like when On the other hand. has so few resources. Our concert did not I work out it for to some last-minute reason. We stay here until 10th November. All for the third of were and the concert arranged I January ". He has no right to leave Budapest for the moment because of the war. . then go to Rome. And you. not a word. You force me. 25th November 1Q14 Dear Igor. and you. I have received a mad telegram from Misia saying she will not leave Paris because it is now the most beautiful city in the world. too.

He agreed with me and said that to get the money he will shrink his budget (1!) (he has also invited Strauss. and when Nijinsky wrote him from than ever. Debussy. and to my modest telegram paid. as to Stravinsky's concert much to have to cancel it for reasons which to you with my own voice on my return. 7 tailed and. bless us." I regret very I will explain He went I shall see him at Sunhim the following: to take on your traveling expenses myself and ask him to pay you 1000 francs. I even spoke with him and with their conductor about the order of the program and I insisted that they give you twelve rehearsals. and he is inflamed by ideas. and one eats not badly here. to invite 350. I will propose to We absolutely must see each other." he was more offended . id est 600 francs. If you pass the holidays here. but his advice is mediocre. New York.48 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES sum he proposed. He has genius in fulfilling his work. Almost every letter from him for the next few years contained a complaint about Nijinsky. and argue you into accepting 1200 francs. Mestrovic is a timid man with an exaggerated amour-propre and a dis- trust of everything one does. But we must take care ourselves about everything. Cannot come. I want Massine to stage this ballet! Nijinsky behaves so stupidly. I makes this all impossiwork together with him and Massine. you can have a little. fair letter. But you must come: our plan with Mestrovic is progressing." "reply 7 he Diaghilev's vengeance had begun." it. whether he had received answered only: "Letter received. You must come here for two weeks— the best time would be from about the twentieth of December. the is All that I can do have no expenses in Rome. addressing him "tu. Then I received this note from him: you to stay with me so you will "My dear friend. If this also fails to work out. Your being at such a distance bly difficult. in He didn't even answer my demy opinion. then to hell with him. for three days to Turin and day's concert. His intentions are always good. quiet room in our apartment. and Koussevitzky from Moscow and others) so that the concert could take place. requesting.

My first at this piano. My mother and father. .Myself in 1886. ca. knowledge of music was acquired in our house in St. Petersburg. 1900.

Monte from Carlo. The of ladies in dark suits are the sisters Botkin. are P. Then. myself. Diaghilev. nieces of the Tsar's doctor. standing. April 16. Benois. Nijinsky. (a 1911. left to right. Koribut-Koubitovitch Diaghilev). cousin . in front of the Riviera Palace Hotel. Karsavina.

An excellent judge of music. Bronislava Nijinska. his musical taste was the most widely informed in St. I was profoundly influenced by this man in my St. painting. Ravel. co-librettist with me of the Nightingale. We were daily companions throughout my last years in St. but I received a letter from him in Nice in the 1920s. Prokofiev. 1929). Petersburg years. 1913. photographed by Ravel's balcony. photographed by me in Warsaw in 1913. right: Stephen Mitusov. Nijinsky. me on . Petersburg.left: Myself. I did not see him again after the day this photograph was taken. Petersburg. telling me how much he had enjoyed my Pribaoutki and other Russian songs. and in 1952 his sister came backstage to greet me after a concert in Brussels. Pierre Souvtschinsky at Talloires (Loc d'Annecy. and literature.

.s /] ! My Tsarist passport.

inspired. will write him a second. the American Russell was here. though he said he would try to do something if you would send him a manuscript. because Of The . San Martino buij something? His wife would choke to death first. and this is important. him the manuscript. and his address is c/o Metropolitan Opera House. you are a little mad. Please answer me immediately to the I Grand Hotel. but each day he becomes more and more ours. The music should be a series of a cappella sacred choruses. embrace you. he found the price very high. Henry Russell. he is still too young. When you come you will meet a great connoisseur of these matters— Mestrovic. I am not going into any details now but let me tell you that what I have in mind is a performance of the mass in six or seven short tableaux.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL I 49 first am sure that his wife is busy making him into the modest. They'll never do it. less reasonable letter and this miserable person will understand that for joking. that is all. which Mestrovic will arrange in his own way. As for Massine. for several The frescoes in the Roman underground churches of the first century are really astounding. I am 8 afraid to send Firebird. However. He has gone to America. but not discuss the thing with him months yet. The epoch will be Byzantine. As for Noces. thing For the moment. do not worry. I hope you approve. but of that later. now in is not the is moment The invention of I will movement Noces definitely for Nijinsky. Esquire. and less ballet I master of the Budapest Opera. 8 however. perhaps. New York. Serge Grand Hotel ( we are in the Grand Hotel until Sth March ) 3rd March 1925 Dear. The main is that you come. by Gregorian chant.

Before speaking with Dalcroze is. It is as hot as force. Teliatina means veal. P.50 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES someone could print it in America without paying you a penny. As to the material of the Nightingale you are not so much mad as ridiculous. and the sun beats down full Teliakovsky. expect us about the twentieth of March. You left an "indelible mark." all did when the "St. with you." 11 1 don't remember what Dalcroze's project was. . as we was dropped and the "burg" made "grad.S. and not twiddle our thumbs as some people do. Then. but I do remember having been to him and having seen demonstrations of his eurhythmic gymnastics. Why in hell should Prokofiev (who is coming today) drag the material with him so that it can stay two years in Petrogrrrrrad. . And afterdon't know what and where.S. ward? I we are going for about three weeks to Spain. So. We are going to Naples and Palermo on 8th for 10-12 days and afterward coming to you to take Les It must be finished by that time. Now March Noces. Khvotschinsky leaves for the war. director of the Opera in St. however. 10 Tell me if we have to fulfill this foolish order. we must see what his material 11 Everybody say here. and have a big ballet ready—without that I shall be very angry. or with- out you. do it yourself. but we will work. Petersburg. 10 Diaghilev is making fun of the word. If you want to. 9 summer here. although with little hope.P. greets you. P. I on my side will speak to Ricordi. drafted in Russia. when everybody will have forgotten about the war. about us." as they Serge D. If Teliatina 9 stages it at all he will not do so earlier than 1917.

I read your letter in tears. I start to feel better. and to keep in your heart only this feeling of brotherly love which I feel toward you. I do not fast or go to confession or Communion ( I am not a communicant). and if and forget. it seems to me. I ask you to forgive me my sins. This can evoke the you have this thirst. To forgive. is within the power of God alone. I remember also the wrote you not long ago telling you that when in moments of deep disturbance I remember that you are living almost next door in the world. today because in your thoughts you I remember the letter you wrote your brother Goury.26 Mon cher Igor. Seriosha . Therefore. only He can judge. voluntary and involuntary. we ought in our moments of quarreling or repentance to have enough strength to after the death of I me letter embrace each other like brothers thirst for forgiveness. I feel joyful and have embraced full of light me as one. turn it toward me. But we other little lecherous people. Not for a single minute have I ever stopped thinking of you except as a brother. However.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 51 Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo jth April 10.

deeply Rimsky was deeply sympathetic. when.III. in his you remember memory? After fifty years it is quite impossible to discriminate all between memories personal and impersonal. the Autobiography was sometimes shockingly shallow artistic aims. are personal. for obviously there The shallow I cannot counter. . I hope A great difference in character existed between the of the Autobiography. moreover. and am not unjust to Rimsky.C. for me. often unjustly. Readers ple knew. nonetheless. yet so far are memories mine removed from the person that they cannot be told otherwise than impersonally. What and otherthe wise. toward Riinsky-Korsakov. in his ever. and unkind only My to admirers of Tchaikovsky. he was an adopted parent. Few people can have been as close to Rimsky as cially after the like I was. We try not to judge our parents.S. howand unshowingly generous. espe- death of my father. SOME RUSSIAN COMPOSERS RIMSKY-KORSAKOV are your present feelings. Rimsky which is the one most peoteacher. and do Chant Funebre you composed 7. but I we judge them. personal R. either in was nothing profound Rim- sky's nature or in his music. and the Rimsky who was my of that well-written but matter-of-fact book think of as him the someone not very easy with his sympathy and not artist in abundantly generous or kind.

then started the dinner. years at least in provincial St. My music was too "advanced" for them." I was accustomed to dine with the Rimsky-Korsakov family after my lessons." by which mean his almost bourgeois atheism (he would . . a university friend. and he often came to dinner with one Mironov. though father this kindness lasted only while his alive. was especially kind to me. Glazunov was their darling.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL I 53 adored Rimsky but did not I like his "mentality. in the light of "revealed religion. but was time thereafter that I I made to feel for some should have held in my peace. had studied philosophy at Heidelberg. thought I had found friends Rimsky's younger sons. dismissing I I as "Russian vodka with French think this was musical rather than personal. Andrei. after the success of The Firebird in 1910 he. call it his "rationalism" ) His mind was closed to any religious or metaphysical idea. two young gentlemen who. it Rimsky would permit no discussion of in his presence. Andrei. a man three my senior and a was cellist of some ability. 1 He even reviewed Petroushka for a Russian it newspaper. If conversation to happened touch on some point of religion or philosophy he would simply refuse to allow that point to be considered. death is the end. were beacons of enlightenment. and in fact the entire Rimsky-Korsakov family. I would sit next to Rimsky and often continue to discuss some problem from my previous lesson. His second son. We drank vodka and ate zakousky together. table as he I "There is nothing after death. But in spite of these young people's interest in philosophy. I remember someone introducing "resurrection" as a topic and Rimsky drawing a zero on the tablecloth said. Rimsky's sons and daughters occupied the rest of the table. turned against me." then had the temerity to suggest that perhaps his was also merely one point of view. Peters- burg.

though my last contact with the Rimsky-Korsakov family was through Nadejda's husband. that all. a habit of his I have caught. He sometimes keeping an extra pair on his forehead.54 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES perfumes. In the last year of his to fail very he began suddenly from the effects of this disease. was so and he was so absorbed in listening. ponimyete" "you understand/' again and again through2 My Pastorale was written with Nadejda's voice in to her. who had come to Paris in 1924 and heard me play my piano concerto there." Vladimir. He had I attacks in January. . he suffered from poor eyesight. But you may imagine his response to that work when I tell you that the best he could do even for my Fireworks was to shrug his shoulders. Telephone calls came every morning from ing. I later arranged this piece for violin mind. 2 I was not close to Sophie and Nadejda. Rimsky 's daughters. Maximilian Steinberg. hardly ever looking up. wave the baton in the direc- tion of his knees. When conducting an orchestra he would bend over the score. though at the same time very patient. or Aldous Huxley. After hearing the concerto he wanted to lecture me about the whole of my mistaken career. he life suffered from asthma. he gave almost no directions to the orchestra at Like Berg. and waited every morn- knowing whether he was strict still alive. teacher (he would say. and though he was only sixty-four years old that he we were aware a series of severe would not his last very long. and dedicated and four woodwinds. not house to ours. his brother. and. and I owe to him my first knowledge of violin fingerings. too. 1908. was a competent violinist. like Berg. spectacles. Rimsky was a man and a strict. like Huxley. for the simple reason that songs as such were no longer performed. tall Rimsky was a wore blue-tinted man. and. He returned to Russia thoroughly annoyed when I refused to see him. His difficulty in seeing the score great. "ponimyete.

the most important tools of my art I had to discover for myself. on the whole. since outside the arts he was have been. and Rimsky was jealous ( it seems to me that Tchaikovsky had . I am grateful to Rimsky for many things. His knowledge was precise. and I do not wish to blame him for what he did not know. to an I once drew his attention anachronism in one of them: "But. dear master.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL out 55 my lessons ) . a radical. His teaching was all "technical. whereas he knew valua- ble details about harmony and practical orchestral writing. that by the time I had become his pupil he was a reactionary who would oppose on principle anything new that came from France or Germany. his literary style of his in the own. too. I never ceased to be surprised by this attitude. anti-Tsarist progressive. except that of worst sense. and librettos of his operas. and he was able to impart whatever he knew with great clarity. do such an expression was in you really think use in the is in use now and that is all we need concern ourselves with. nevertheless. The The Snow Maiden (Ostrovsky) and Mozart and Salieri (Pushkin). The revival of polyphony and the renewal of form that had begun in Vienna in the very year of Rimsky 's death were developments entirely unknown to the Rimsky school. what he knew about composition itself was not all it should He was for me. when I first came to him." Rimsky could not conceive of Tchaikovsky otherwise than as a "rival. sans reproche musically." Tchaikovsky fifteenth century?" "It had been more influential in Germany than Rimsky. I should mention. are." But. but before very long I began to wish for someone even less "reproachable" and for music that would satisfy the ideals of my growing mind as Rimsky 's was failing to do. embarrassingly bad. was parochial. Though Rimsky had wit and a though he had developed a literary taste lively sense of humor.

1907. Tchaikovsky had attended the brilliance of and had so admired the the music that he presented Rimsky with this dress rehearsal token of homage the next day. 21 in the phony). After this event Rimsky wrote my mother a charming letter in appreciation of our talents. The in of these pieces. is . dedicated to him the manuscript with his family ) I formed in St. listen to Figs. kovsky's music in abominable taste. but whispered to me in English. though his much of it is. 16 to 21 in the fourth from Fig. Thus. Rimsky groaned disappointment in Russian. He had learned English during his term as a naval officer. It was perremember the date because my Uncle Ielachitch presented me with a . and never tire of saying. fifth movement of the Symphony. Rimsky was an Anglophile. the ( Symphony is still E Flat. and though I cannot say how lips. but in his nervous excitement lost it in a droshky.56 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES movement of Mahler's First a distinct influence on Mahler. "The heavens are merciful. he had many pupils and was always careful to avoid favoritism. My brother Goury is mentioned. workroom a large silver Rimsky was proud to exhibit in his crown Tchaikovsky had given him for the premiere of the Capriccio Espagnol. Nevertheless. Rimsky attended first my first two premieres with me." and indeed. I first heard the language from little his He often expressed himself in English asides." Rimsky did not mention me in his autobiography for the reason that he did not wish to show me any mark of deference. well he spoke it. Rimsky might have realized that own this music could share honors with Tchaikovsky's on count. and Second Sym"Tchai- He would is say. because he had sung in a cantata which I composed for Rimsky and which was performed in his house. Petersburg on April 27. one day a young composer had come to show him a score.

very nice. it. Petersburg orchestra libraries." me afterward." and suspiciously my whole-tone progressions "Debussy-ist. but if I were to hear again in a half hour I would have At to this time. the only homage I have paid Rimsky since then was my conducting of his tone poem Sadko 3 (not the opera. He found the of song "strange." must have irritated Rim- sky's conservatism. preserved in one of the I I St. ." Rimsky's own "modernism" was based on a wind instruments that I commemory was performed in a concert for in St. As the concert took place I at noon. however. The only bad to omen was Glazunov.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL medal commemorating time to time. The Chant Fundbre posed in Rimsky *s I conducted by Blumenfeld remember the piece as the best of my works before The Firebird. who came nice. for would be curious myself to see what I was composing The Firebird. wish someone in Leningrad would look for the parts. be more careful when you use trombones in their middle register/' etc. conducted by Felix Blumenfeld "Russian later the same year in one of Belayev's Symphony Concerts. Petersburg shortly after few flimsy enharmonic devices. incredible though that first may use seem now. saying. and as the audience was not a paying one. My second premiere. The orchestral parts must have been Rimsky 's death. and the most advanced in chromatic harmony. in 1935. 57 to Rimsky sat next me and. from made critical remarks: "This is too heavy. the Faune et Bergdre. "Very Kapellmeister. make the same effort of adjustment all over. conducted the performance." "There. Alas." he said to me after the performance. applause I cannot say whether the heard signified a success. you see. the tone poem is a more just before 8 In New York. Varlich. a The Imperial general in uniform. "I it have heard it.

I regret this very much. too. though interesting work than the opera ) . Did you years? know Cesar Cui in your Rimsky-Korsakov must have known him very early in my life. continued to lecture at the Military Institute in Peters- burg until the end of his life. suspect he knew more as strong about them than about counterpoint. Indeed. though he gave me the first score. Cui St.C.S. My father had sung in some of Cufs operas. and a tunic which on special occasions had a little balcony of medals. for he was a great admirer of my father's and probably a guest at our home. and I remember being sent to Cui in 1901 with a special Z. and the impression in my mind of Cui as a kind of Clausewitz is as the impression of the musician. He could be seen at con- . In fact. I is have no pages fifty Snow Maiden have no autograph of his at all— which information for the benefit of the person who regularly sends me registered letters from somewhere in Brazil begging for an autograph of Rimsky's. But though I saw Cui frequently at concerts I member him dressed otherwise than in a military uniform —trousers with a stripe on the side. He was I said to be an authority on fortifications. I invitation to an opera performance celebrating my father's do not re- jubilee—my father's wish to pay Cui a mark of attention.58 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES work of his which me. more in Oustiloug. the one I thought worth resurrecting. CESAR CUI R. I no longer possess any fifty or of Rimsky's letters to I must have had di Garda. and one felt half inclined stand at attention when talking to him. He was stiff and military to personally. where he spent his summers. as he had sent me many delightf ul cards from I Lago of his manuscript either.

The cized Arensky 's music captiously comment about it." or any other of the national nineteenth-century kind color. unjustifiably harsh and unkind. Rimsky was. His writings drew and though I my attention to the remarkable quality of the recitatives in the latter. I. as thin as local and as boring. however. it has had an influence on my subsequent operatic thinking. in all that concerned Arensky. is. and I think he was present at the first performances of the Scherzo Fantastique and Fireworks. do not know what I would think of this music now. Cui did help I mizhsky." or "Hungarian" or "Spanish. in spite of his age. but Cui considered The Stone Guest the better work.S. enmities than in our love." I attended a performance of Arensky's opera Dream on the Volga with Rimsky. and that little will be forgotten soon.C. I— as a pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov. I thought.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL certs 59 and other musical functions in St. though do not know whether Cui had heard my Firebird. And Anton Arensky? Arensky was a composer of the Moscow school— in other words. Russalka was the popular Dargomizhsky opera at the time. was cruel: "Arensky did very little. . a follower of Tchaikovsky. And. and for that very reason— could not know him well. ANTON ARENSKY R. He criti- a and unnecessarily. but he had little to advance in Wagner's stead— a case of "more substance in our regularly." Nor could I take his orientalism seriously. I recall no hint I of his reactions to these pieces' reaching my ears. Cui was rabidly anti-Wagner. all of it. "Russian music. Petersburg almost and the musicians of my generation came to stare at him as at a great curiosity. and for that me to discover Dargoam grateful. and which he allowed to be printed after Arensky's death.

Petersburg. But the same hostility prevailed on the Rimsky-Korsakov side.S. and Arensky's attempt to evoke sinister But Rimsky's exclamation to me that "the noble bass be put to such ignominious use" must have been overheard several rows in front of us. however. I always liked him and at least one of his works—the famous piano trio. and poor Taneyev was very unjustly treated in St. Taneyev was a good teacher. and helpful to me. I And Serge Taneyev? saw Taneyev from time to time— as often. Arensky had been friendly. He was a Tchaikovsky disciple also. and I admired him greatly as a pianist. He meant something to me also by the mere fact of his being a direct personal link with Tchaikovsky. Peters- burg.C. throughout the theater. farce. SERGE TANEYEV R.C. ANATOL LIADOV R. What were your he had relations with Anatol Liadov— especially after you had accepted the Firebird commis- sion failed to fulfill? . and later. for he too was a Muscovite. and he sometimes took Tchaikovsky's classes for him at the Moscow Conservatory. I might add that Taneyev was held in some awe by us for an extra-musical reason: he was widely acknowledged to be the best friend of the Countess Tolstoy. as he came to St.60 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES atmosphere with the bass clarinet was horse-opera music was dull indeed. especially for certain passages in his opera The Oresteia. I. interested. and his treatise on counterpoint— one of the best books of its kind—was highly valued by me in my youth. clarinet should not of course. that is. I could respect Taneyev as a composer. and in spite of Rimsky.

as sweet and charming as called it his him "the blackwas because he was so soft and gentle and so very unlike a blacksmith. Joseph Wihtol. I when accepted the commission. but I am sure he would have defended it if he had.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL I. He was the most progressive of the musicians of his generation and he had championed my first pieces. He was a small man with a sympathetic. smith. I suspect. someone referred as a fool. but if we were not together and he happened to see me in the hall he would always invite me to come and follow a score with him. I do not know if he had heard The Firebird in later years. sense. Hoffmann. when still the large public's resist- ance to that composer was to Scriabin in Liadov's ( general. unless own We Maeterlinck.S. T. he liked He was a short-winded. pieces Kikimora and the Baba Yaga. especially the piano liked Liadov's music. He had a good harmonic and he always presented his music well instruwas even somehow aware of the Musical Snuff Box when I composed a similar piece of my own. Perhaps I Early in Scriabin's career. I think of Liadov it since will not occur to remember another composer. Petersburg Conserva- . I often accompanied Liadov to concerts. composer and teacher—he had collaborated with Rimsky-Korsakov in one or two works and was a colleague of Liadov's in that horrible musical prison. fantastical things. pianis- simo composer and he never could have written a long and noisy ballet like The Firebird. squinting face and few hairs on his head. A. and my) presence such I where- upon Liadov said. the St. you to question me about I will mention him myself." When and him. Andersen: tender. He always carried books under his armMusical Snuff Box. "I like fools." but I can't think why. the "ice-cream" wagon Valse in my second suite for small orchestra. E. 6l Liadov was a darling man. I He was more relieved than offended. mentally.

What were your associations with Scriabin. His own ground was derived in part from Liszt. St.S. He later lived in Riga. Scriabin was better grounded and harmony than most of the Russiansvery much better equipped in these respects than. company.62 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES a jovial like Liadov. for we often encountered each other there in the years of with Rimsky. SCRIABIN R. which was Prokofiev. and very helpful to me. He man. and when I visited that city on a concert in 1934 his affection and hospitality tory— was kindly. in fact. Rimsky disliked him to whenever he mentioned Scriabin as "the narcissus. in counterpoint whose gifts were perhaps more brilliant. natural for the age. As a pupil of Taneyev. but my tutelage his must have been in Rimsky-Korsakov's house. c'est du Rubin- stein" ("Anton Rubinstein" being at time a term of abuse about the equivalent of "merde"). both in Petersburg and later. that cultivate his never wished to too. and way of treating me and Rimsky 's other pupils von oben I nach unten was so detestable. with round face and round hands like a was cat's paws. I have elsewhere shock when I expressed my admiration for for les The marvelous Schubert F.Minor Fantasia piano four hands was for Scriabin "la musique pour . I it him? Did he have any influence on you? do not remember my first meeting with Scriabin. but I did not like Scriabin's Liszt line as against a described his Schubert. to me were princely. way of continually arguing a ChopinGerman tradition. But he was personally so maladroit. I had nothing against Liszt.C." as a me he referred to him Rimsky did not value this Scriabin's gifts composer very highly either: "Mais. when Diaghilev had become interested in I. say.

and about my own music. Alex- He talked to me about Debussy and Ravel. did not succeed." Diaghilev had mistakenly assumed the contrary. Villiers de Lisle. and had decided to take him to Paris. and he was hailed. whatever it was. Scriabin was literary-minded.Adam. "I will show Scriabin's music to Paris. perhaps I have been influenced by Scriabin in one very insignificant respect. He had no insight at all: "I can show you how to make ander Nicolaevitch had just arrived there. Take a figure of open fifths. the whole company of the "decadents" were . but as he had not been able to follow either Petroushka or The Fireit was my fault to have been surprised. Petersburg began about 1905. then repeat the whole thing in another Tcey': you will be able to compose thirds until as much 'Debussy' and 'Ravel' as you wish/' all tell me that he told others about He did not my own music— namely. op." The show. As for Scriabin's short career with know why it was short: Scriabin was "morbid. there was a sudden and very considerable interest in him. I loves. at least in bird. that he too was horrified by he Sacre. 7. avant-garde circles." To answer your questions. but no matter the reasons.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL no better than I 63 jeunes demoiselles. their kind of relieve it French grimace. Scriabin's vogue in St. But one is influenced by what one Diaghilev. I attributed it more to his phenomenal abilities as a pianist than to whatever new qualities there were in his music. with augmented 6—4—3 chords." But most of his musical opinions were that. and only I never could love a bar of his bombastic music. in the piano writing of my Etudes. Huysmans. telling me. add a tower of you have dissonance enough. I last saw him have in Ouchy shortly before his death: his father was Russian Consul to in Lausanne. and had gone to Lausanne my passport signed. as an "original.

Scriabin was an arrogant- looking man with thick blond hair and a blonde barbiche. But it was Liadov. but I respected his beliefs. and what did you think of each other's music? I. but he had been given part of a concert in Walter Nouvel's R.C. and in Russia he and Konstantin Balmont were its gods. Petersburg in the winter of 1906-7. He was only seventeen or eighteen at the time. I Although his death was tragic and premature. to exchange ideas with other artists. as it always did thereafter. but the attempt failed. Diaghilev wanted him to mix. in Milan. SERGE PROKOFIEV What are your personal memories of Prokofiev. too. and a serious and well-considered theosophist himself. Blavatsky was already very demode." as he says about music in a letter to me. On . I did not understand this. though I do remember from a conversation with him about Prokofiev that he regarded him very skeptically. Blavatsky. Diaghilev was busy introducing him to the Futurists to 'leftist" circles in general. His performance was remarka- ble—but I have always liked his music. "Evenings of Contemporary Music" series in which to play a group of his piano pieces. do not know Rimsky was there. It was the age of Symbolism. because Prokofiev was his "full of splinters. with people who were more a cultivated than he was— and good many were that. I met Prokofiev in St. He was a follower of Mme. I did not know Prokofiev well until and several years later.S. during the war.64 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES his rages. for in my generation Mme. times wondered at the kind of music such a have some- man would have written had he survived into the 1920s. who had been Prokofiev's protector. hearing I him play if it —and the music had personality. not Rimsky-Korsakov.

When I saw him for the last time. He had had no success in the United States or Europe for several seasons. He was. while his visit to Russia umph. Noces. us call it. and had learned nothing from the example of his good friend Miakovsky. and when finally he understood his situation there. it was too late.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL this 65 Milanese visit subject of conversation. and touched me very much. of the latter comes to mind He was seated beside me at a performance of that work when. he this before his death a friend of mine in Paris received a letter from him inquiring about me. and often wrong. His musical judgments were usually commononce place. in had been a triNew York in fate in France. I do not know what he liked of my music beyond the Russian pieces. The latter was a sacrifice to the bitch goddess. "You should have ended here. he had personality. He returned to Russia. pages in Petroushka are the primitively anticlerical. and nothing else. one saw that in let every gesture—biological personality. however. at the climax of the Russian Dances. in fact." But it is obvious to any perceptive musician that the best last. Renard. was despondent about his material and artistic He was politically naive. A few weeks 1937. and especially Le Sacre. but. many years quite unable to recover from the effect of Prokofiev was the contrary of a musical thinker. An example in relation to Petroushka. in the Fourth Tableau. But tions Prokofiev was always very Russian-minded in and always my opinion these disposi- had little to do with his return to Russia. He had some his technique and he could do certain things very well. however. more than that. he turned to me and said. . startlingly naive in matters of musical construction. Le Sacre du Printemps was his only He adored Le Sacre and was for it.

but what do you expect when the most cultivated person he sees Tcherepnine. . I am counting on your help. does not look for Russianism. Yesterday he played in the Augusteum. he brought me about one third of the music of his new ballet. Precisely. The subject is a St. and with some success. Rome 8th March iqi$ Dear Igor. and rarely discussed we music when we were together. there was never any incident between I and believe he liked me as much as he did any musical friend. es- But one could see Prokofiev a thousand times without tabhshing any profound connection with him. I will bring him to you. it if and am quite sure he would not have he did. Petersburg fabrication. He must be changed entirely. The music. We were always on very us. but that is not the point. . and for this we have to be kindly with him and keep him with us for two or three months. just music. and he played with the celebrities. Diaghilev had believed at first that Prokofiev would that he develop into a great composer. it is just music. as well as with my wife Vera. . he confided to me was beginning to think him "stupid. Many new questions. otherwise we will lose him forever. good terms. Grand Hotel. all He was a master player. Now we have to start all over again. and he held to for several years. He is talented.66 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES I but doubt if he knew very much of what I I had written liked in the 1930s. and very bad. The fact that we were not really in accord musically did not seem to matter. but first of all Prokofiev. finally. this belief Then. I used to think that Prokofiev's depths were engaged only when he played chess. 1 is ( who impresses him with his avant-gardisme ) . but is not for us. as he says." I have a letter from Diaghilev about Prokofiev. it would have been good for the Mariinsky Theater ten years ago. . The point is. He is easily influenced and it seems to me he is a much nicer person than we suspected he would be after his arrogant appearance in the past.

though the L'Enfant Prodigue by Balanchine was the most beautiful choreographically. Vera Janacopoulos sang. Personally I like most: 1. . but I think this example gives some idea of the character of his correspondence: c/o Haensel and Jones. entirely. But I do not wish to criticize Prokofiev: I should be silent if I could say nothing merits.. The whole Natashka. Nor was he cheap—facility is not the same thing as cheapness. You express drunkenness through your clarinet with the skill of a real drunkard. Lots of people in the audience laughed. Uncle Armand. 2. 4 Her approach to them was most loving. a very talented singer. no difficulties could frighten him. not indignantly. to reproduce their tone in English. The success was very great and all four songs were repeated. except perhaps for Uncle Armand. good about such a man. but gaily. who had already played the Japanese Lyrics. New York 10th December iqiq Dear I Stravinsky. 33 West 42nd St. tell you the following with pleasure. The flautist. The oboe and clarinet are like the gurgle of a bottle emptying. but especially the last five bars with the delightful grumbling of the winds. I sat next to Fokine and interest. 3. The Colonel. and she sang them beautifully. we bawled "bravos" as loud as we could." Prokofiev's letters to me were very affectionate. The and performed their tasks with and the bass may have been angry about it. the instant imprint of personality. but instrumentalists played well. Only the viola 4 I knew her well. Prokofiev had and that rare thing. It is hard alas. I went to the rehearsals and tried to explain what was not clear to them. was so sure of himself. which is too low for her voice. first Yesterday your Pribaoutki were performed for the time in America. Only.AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL Of Prokofiev's 67 Diaghilev ballets I preferred Chout. he would not have understood Mallarme's reply to a man who had congratulated him upon making such a clear speech: "Then I will have to add some shadows.

but the coda above flat all: the clarinet's G-A-natural and the English horn's A- are most excellent and most insolent. Yours. 1 send you my cordial greetings and best wishes.00 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES oboe twitters especially the and the climax on the words "pala propala" etc. S. Many things in the last song. Prokofiev . I shall be very happy to hear from you.. 4.

him and also LS. This was to be expected of Valery. what he said: they were manifest in his whole person. Valery was small. He seemed a terrible dandy niere. in fact. however. By the time of parting we had already attained a high state of personal sympathy. do remember the meeting. Now lery. I remember that I mentioned the book to Gide and that Gide responded .Portraits Mcmoircs PAUL VALfiRY R.C. but was delighted to discover in him that first day. which for some reason surprised me. I met Paul Valery reception I Would you tell me what you remember what you now think of his work? of for the first time in 1921 or 1922: while only half recalling the date and the occasion (a by the Princess Edmond de Polignac. was a truly joyful sense of humor. what I did not expect. I about Va- wonder I did not know him had read Monsieur Teste before the 1914 war. sotto voce mumbles). I that I have begun to force my memory earlier. He was quick. at first sight because of his monocle and bouton- but that impression dissolved as soon as he began were in everything he said. and we were ever after to talk. of course. I think). Your long friendship and admiration for Paul Val6ry are well known. Wit and intelligence in though not merely natural friends. and extremely gentle. about my own height. quiet (he spoke in rapid.

And we had many mutual friends ample) at whose homes we ought to (Misia Sert. in Switzerland during the war. I great relief endorsed the style of the lectures without reservation. and C. Ramuz too. we saw each other so regularly that "circle. I was not quite confident about some of the "writing. sometime in the late summer of 1939. "music and difficult or words. cize my manuscript. I read my manuscript to him in a country house near Paris.70 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES its with an encomium about to author. and in the later 1920s and in the 30s up my departure for America. 1939. for exto have encountered each other." Words combined with music lose some of the rhythmic and sonorous relationships that ob- . One of these concerned the Harvard lectures. From my conversations with him I other "professional" call on him My at the time Gide's." as I call them. F. in a letter to his publisher: "Music and words are one and the same thing. Beethoven had already expressed them. we never failed make up to the gaps. especially since I had written the lectures not in my own language but in French. or in even original. but to my Music." we might be I left thought to have formed a in When Europe the Norton Lectures at Harvard. "The Poetics of I had asked him to read and critiwas anxious to have his comments on its literary style. Perfelt he had understood my views on the tedious subject. came of the first performance of my. But whatever kept us apart. September. though somewhat later. He suggested various changes in the phrasing and order of words. sum. Valery was a deep source of intellectual and moral support to me on two important occasions in my life. and Andre sephone. to give I counted Valery of all my friends the one whose wisdom I would most sorely miss." Not that these views were obscure. Ravel had also talked me about Valery in those years." Accordingly.

but they change these relationships are magical as well as meaningful. or nothing of all this. But bal pattern: I syllables. (That Gide understood is nothing whatever about music in general apparent to anyone who has read his Notes on Chopin. they exfor new ones— for." a limited. and no arbiter could have given me more. But this approach implies something of what "setting is meant by the phrase ven's words to music.PORTRAITS MEMOIRES tained J\ when they were words only. pejorative description that certainly as far from Beethohowever. And. of the words themselves. He my musical purpose should be to imitate or underline the ver- would simply have to find pitches for the he considered he had already composed the rhythm. I have cisely that myself. I do not know what he said to Gide. or. I turned to Valery for support. for purposes of syllabification. rather. in strict or done preinstances where the verse form is of the verse has suggested a musiin the sonnet where the meter cal construction to me ( Musick to Heare. in fact. (But what kind of music did Gide ex- . and their magic I is trans- formed when they are combined with music. since to me he affirmed the musician's prerogative to treat loose and formless prosodies (such as Gide's) according to his musical ideas. a new "music. even if the latter led to "distortion" of phrasing or to breaking up. if little he understood. disagreed. for is instance ) .) to recite He had believed ex- pected the Persephone text to be sung with exactly the same stresses he would use it." They no doubt mean the same things. that a composer do not say may not try to preserve or imitate effects of purely verbal relationships in music. he was only horrified by the discrepancies between my music and his. not understanding that a poet and a musician collaborate to produce one music. meaning as it is from mine. Gide understood or. The tradition of poesia per musica meant nothing to him.

. Sincerely yours. first have a distinct recollection of him the presentation of Paris. Shortly before the Persephone premiere I composed a statement of my views on the relations of text and music and on the musical syllabification of a text. . end of April." After the premiere I received from Valery: the fol- lowing letter The French Academy 2nd May 1934 dear Stravinsky. The point is. MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES me? ) And when Persephone was finally pect of at the performed. my Oaks Concerto painter son Theodore made a drawing of him my Dumbarton at the time as a present for me. Valery continued conspicuously to support me by attending all the performances. pro- duced for the first time only a week after Persephone. 1934. of the type one so often hears He at in made this a point of attending performances of I my works. and touched me. I am only a "profane" listener. to attain purity through the tell My will. long live your nose. Paul Valery Valery that he knew little enough about music. thus.. which immensely enjoyed. but the divine detachment of your work touched me. It seems to me that what I have sometimes searched for in the ways of poetry you pursue and join in your art. too. concluded with the words: ". must have occupied a good deal of his time. as it was published in the Paris Excelsior. But he knew knew little and therefore did not utter banalities from literary people. my art. You expressed I it marvelously well in the article yesterday. a fact I much appreciated—especially since his Semiramis. The Valery who most interests me at present is one whose very existence most critics would deny: the religious.J2. This manifesto. a nose is not manufactured: a nose just is. I could not get to you Monday evening to you of the extraordinary impression the Persephone music made on me.

especially in My Faust." Neither did Valery in conversation with me display the skeptical temperament for which he was so famous. When he had discovered the fallacy in the argument that the existence of absolute moral values must presuppose a Superior Being. with. he had thoughts that I would call religious. on the one hand. If Waiting for Godot is religious. At says. as when Mephisto says. Nevertheless. or Klee. he did not look further. nor Faust's likes. "The Other. and in- stead of Valery the theist we have Valery the moralist. he had been the friend of a nun—of several nuns. Valery is even able to make this Devil invoke God. was he even potentially a believer." And Valery 's finest line deis scribing him. description of him.. is The Only One. "No one has ever talked to me like this before. and these thoughts are revealed in the plays. essentially non-religious his writings. I think. not one of the great innovators of our age. or Webern. on the other. as Joyce was. though in the religious-literary atmosphere of be- tween-the-wars Paris. "I Saint. of course. when he saw that "absolute" and "Superior" represented an analytic contradiction. Claudel and his Wagnerian-Catholic ones. nor." is am all the peril that needed to make a is not the line of a pure moralist. then so. ." is the Devil of the and no mere personified idea. not for a long time. for example.. Scriptures least . Valery is I would have welcomed it. And the Devil in Luste who but I fell from the top.PORTRAITS MEMOIRES Valery 's nature was in some 73 no matter how Shaw. and. He was not sus- way religious. in fact— and he had had doctrinal discussions with them. "I fell. all I know my job. Like ceptible to any religious orthodoxy. altogether too fascinated by the processes of creation. He had been And . and Mephisto's own: "I and IVe got no heart . Gide and his Protestant manias. certainly. ." as "Anything one whatever one don't likes may be know how is to think he".

His loss was a personal one. before the scandal of his Melee. result of this Teste-ism was his contentment with epista- menos. I am therefore inclined to regard them all as collections of dialogues to be read. he wrote asking me to con- tribute a statement to a book he was then preparing— an indictment of German "barbarism. and heard.C. or the possibility that this value might be the right word? greater than our own. reading them. the war.74 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES The he too much worshiped intellect—indeed. that ROMAIN ROLLAND R. not suspecting. with "knowing how/' at which point he would stop. How did you come to know Romain Rolland? Au Dessus de la IS. even when he I is dealing with a pure philosophy such as Descartes's. in my opinion. But is ''barbarism" What is a barbarian? It seems to me that by definition he is someone belonging to a new or different conception of culture than our own. I have never seen a Valery play. My Faust this way in the last spring of I would never again hear Valery's living voice. At the beginning of the 1914 war. all the characters speaking in Valery 's voice." I replied as follows: Mon cher confrirel I hasten to answer your appeal for a protest against the barbarism of the German armies. of course. Very soon after came the news of his death. I grieved for him. I somehow continue to hear I read. (The didactic dialogue on mind in The Only One is certainly "to be read/' And. to assert that Valery 's having written am even tempted so much about poas- etry is responsible for dissipating his writing of poetry— though the examples of other poets contradict such an sertion. Valery 's philosophical arguments are more rhetorical than philosophical. . and though this culture might be radically different or antithetical to ours we do not for that reason deny its value. to the point of valuing himself more as an intellectual than as a poet.

S. spectacled gentleman. Igor Stravinsky Throughout these terrible days—to which we are the living witnesses—your appeal "L'union fait la force" has been our one encouragement P. and to the unbear- able spirit of this colossal. Since writing this. 1913) a remark which. von Thum und Taxis). and morally putrefying Germania. I all places. Shortly after sending him this letter I made his acquaint- ance on. a "lac des quatre Cantons'* excursion was with my wife and children. these books have not obstructed my feeling for the man. Rilke found Rolland a "sympathique personality" (letter of March 21. and the scene has been righdy placed in Germany because of the length and the sentimentality" (letter to the same of October 4. when a tall. 1913 to M. sends her armies to destroy a city like Louvain and a cathedral like Rheims is not barbarian in the proper sense nor civilized in any sense. came up me and shyly introduced him- was immediately taken by his personal charm and intellectual honesty. but Jean Christophe was "indescribably thin. evidently doing to I the same thing. It is the highest common interest of all those peoples who still feel the need to breathe the is air of their ancient culture to put themselves on the side of the flee forever enemies of the present Germany. in time of war. However. obese. is almost the only attempt at humor I know of in Rilke. of boat.PORTRAITS MEMOIRES 75 But the present Germany cannot be considered as a manifestation of "new culture/' Germany. If "renewal" what Germany really seeks. by the way. 1 I saw him occasionally after that in company with Claudel and Jules Romains. as a country belongs to the old world. a nation which in . and though his literature—Jean Christophe and Beethoven the Creatorwere and are exactly what I most abhor. I 1 Rolland which coincides with — . time of peace erects a series of monuments such as those of the Siegesallee in Berlin and which. she might better start at home with her Berlin monuments. if I remember well. at Ramuz's home near Lauself as my correspondent. enjoying a day's outing. have come upon a remark of Rilke's about my own feelings. and the culture of the country is as old as that of the other nations of Western Europe.

Sometime in 1910. though his material was so small he could not grow very far.76 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES composed an it sanne. and as modest and withdrawn as an oyster.S. holding one of Maese Pedro's puppets. of What do you remember ble to manifestations of humor. and play the I harpsichord— in his concerto. In the course of a party in his performance of El Retablo de Maese Pedro at the home of the Princess de Polignac (that curious American woman who looked like Dante and whose ambition was to have her was suddenly noticed that Falla himself had disappeared. for instance. for an homme serieux. Ravel turned back on me after Maura—indeed." I not necessarily the most impress him. in fact.C. was always very after the attentive to me and my I told work. on a stage at He did conduct. a piece admire and have I conducted myself. him the best music in his score was "Spanish. premiere of his Tricorne. Later. I took him. In fact. I wrote him for this criticism and we became friends. he was found sitting alone in the darkened room of the theater. I was always surprised that bust next to Richelieu's in the Louvre). Manuel de Falla. that When. however. his nature was the most unpityingly religious I have ever known— and the least sensiR. Whereas. MANUEL DE FALLA Manuel de Falla? I. it a man as shy as Falla could bring himself to appear all. I was introduced to a man even smaller than myself. I thought of him as the most devoted of my his musical friends. I have never seen anyone honor following a as shy. knew my remark would And he all did grow. at Cipa Godebski's. the last time a performance of this concerto in Falla saw Falla was at London in the 1930s. at all the only later work of Psalms of mine he ever noticed was the Symphony . he enthusiastic article about Petroushka after hearing to thank at a concert in Geneva.

C. or to resign myself hypocritically as some others do. elegant is man with motherly manners. I. however. who persisted in calling it "une musique ndgre" and the few conservatives. I beg of you to think as little good of it as you my feelings of sincere friendship and prosympathy. avow my admirations and my true preferences. I thank you sincerely for your telegram. found artistic Reynaldo Hahn . I admire you and esteem you very I highly: you are a great musician. and I honor whoever is to be honored. do not think as me a flatterer: I am too pedantic and. he was the salon idol of Paris." But. Here a New Year's note from him: Paris. He was a thin. and I wish for this year the continuing development of your young glory. I dare say.PORTRAITS MEMOIRES and I think his appreciation 77 — Falla followed me in all my later music. Do you I become— except for Debussy. but always in company with Marcel Proust. After the war. As for wish. Diaghilev dropped him for the very reason that he had once found him important —his salon reputation. I enclose an article of personality. Hahn was an enthusiast of he Sacre du Printemps. ist January 1Q14 My dear friend. which. who were calling it "Massacre du Printemps"— and he remained a partisan of my music up to Pulcinella.S. and salon support was very useful to Diaghilev at that time. Diaghilev needed him and therefore staged his Dieu Bleu. promptly turned him into an enemy. however. You have had mine that mentions your fascinating in me an admirer "from the first hour. as indeed almost everyone in Paris had R. too meticulous in my feelings to burst without restraint some do. His ear was very fine. but believe in my music. was genuine. REYNALDO HAHN have any recollection of Reynaldo Hahn? saw him quite often at one time.

not meanings. but I did not encounter him and there. But I was never close to any Russian literary group. recollect of the authors of your first song Sergei Gorodetsky and Konstantin Balmont? I. slow bells. We did not "collaborate" at a concert on them. but it after hearing he confided to really does not interpret me that "the music is very my texts accurately. which was his normal condition from the day of his birth to his death. and espeby Alexander Blok.C.?8 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES GORODETSKY AND BALMONT R.S. are your recollections of What . and Prince Mirsky— I had met in Paris. I did not meet Balmont. and in fact the our concerts in goatee. only Russian literary intellectuals I ever did know— Merezhkovsky. His Zvezdoliki (The Star-Faced is obscure as poetry and as mysticism. What do you texts. for instance. though saw him one of St. and your music is a kind of jingle bells/' blond. Petersburg. Balmont lived is in Paris. pretty.S. LORD BERNERS Lord Berners? I. I met Gerald Tyrwhitt— he was not yet Lord Berners —in Rome in 1911. sickle-nosed man who was later a my wife Vera I in Tiflis during the Revolution. His poetry more significant than Gorodetsky 's. I knew Gorodetsky well in 1906-7 when them I was com- posing the music to his songs. though as a nature poet he was easily cially One ) overshadowed by the Revolutionaries. He had introduced himself to me as a R. however.C. but its words are good. and words were what I needed. Petersburg: he had bright red hair and and he was dead drunk. slightly less faded. and in St. He was a tall. I couldn't tell you even now exactly what the poem means. good friend to at since I describe a time-to-time ringing of long.

I fact. or listened to them I gether with him in the theater.PORTRAITS MEMOIRES friend of droll 79 I my St. but in the best— literal— sense. Petersburg friend Klukovsky. in search know not what contraband. walked deep meadows. His remarks about considered him an I music were perceptive. Meals were served in which all the food was of one color pedigree. I When we knew me for criticism to- have often looked through thought his Wedding with him at the piano. my portrait suddenly thought of figs by Lord Berners because of some Mandorlati to eat he had given me figs on the train. and Bouquet and his Neptune as good as the French works of by Diaghilev.e. though whether or not this could be construed as a compliment I cannot say. would not call him amateurish. war Berners returned to on each of my English visits. and had the portrait sent to him to be forwarded After the of his to me in Switzerland as an official paper. on my way from Rome to Switzerland in 1917. I saw him often I after that and on every trip to Rome during the 1914 war. his country crystal bed. i. Faring- dons atmosphere was not exclusively traditional. he began to come to in his composition. a policeman had confiscated the and had begun of I to split them open with I his saber. home near Oxford. I was detained by Italian border police and accused of trying to that kind produced smuggle a plan of fortifications— in Picasso— out of the country. if Lord Berners 's mood was pink. where one slept in a horses. found him and delightful. I London. rode roan Hepplewhite and sat by brick fireplaces in chairs. telegraphed Berners at the British Embassy. and though amateur. I have already told how Lord Berners aided me when. I was a guest remember with special pleasure an October weekend in in the late 1930s in Faring- don.. however. lunch . each other better. and advice his scores as we now use the word.

Beecham would like to play The Nightingale—has he told you about it? He is always very much in the clouds. In any case. And for outside. Meanwhile. I was a few days in London. Lord Berners's pigeons were sprayed with harmless cosmetic dyes. however. strawberries. might consist of beet soup. IVe written three small pieces for orchestra— and Kasatchok—and they are to be played in Manchester on 8th March. where I saw Diaghilev and the Ballet several times. Manchester has the best orchestra in England and the conducter will do them very well. for the moment. my wife Vera used to send him saffron dye for from France. . We celebrated the New Year together. a flock of pink pigeons might fly ( overhead. tomatoes. I also saw Lady Cunard and Beecham. Ive had no answer. making music Lord Berners knew and once promised of Purcell. Faringdon House Berkshire gth January 2919 Cher ami. and a blue powder which he used blue mayonnaise. I think he will stay in London until March and then go to Monte Carlo. and then go back to Rome. Do you know that I have been bombarding you with letters and post cards from Rome for many months with no result? The Swiss border is a bad joke. I expect to stay in England until March. and I suppose you have received nothing. also. Valse sentimentale. who talked about you a great deal. I think if of my interest in old English to present me with the complete works he were to visit my home today noth- ing would please library him more than the discovery that my contains more old English music than any other kind. He was full of enthusiasm about the Ragtime which you had played him. I saw Carlo Ponti in Paris who gave me news of you. Recently Chinoiserie.80 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES lobster. I am pleased about this performance because.

however.C. I remember a soiree he and artists of gave for the dancers our troupe in some private rooms of the . me to go. however. and among these the most impressive was presentation to my den after Queen Alexandra in her box at Covent Gara performance of The Firebird in 1912. I beg you to write me a little note and tell me what you are doing just now. and as this affliction of hers was universally known. I do remember a few such confrontations. As a balletomane who hardly ever missed a performance of our company in Madrid. as she was quite deaf. he often invited Diaghilev and me to his loge. I 8l that I My Unfortunately I had changed my name and am no longer aunt— or rather my uncle—d heritage—died. The Queen looked like a birthday cake— she wore a tall wig and was very rosily made up. I had but Diaghilev begged tried to escape this also. England ROYAUT& R. She smiled at me but said nothing. Your very devoted Berners My address is: Faringdon House Faringdon Berkshire. contrived to avoid their official courtesies when I could. with a lot of taxes to be would so much like to see you. any compliment about my music would not have been in order. knew Alfonso XIII of Spain rather better than this.S.PORTRAITS MEMOIRES Did you know Tyrwhitt? paid. and Lady Ripon promised to be present and to help me. You must have met many No. Most likely the poor woman had not the vaguest notion who I was or what I I was doing there. for I of the kings and queens of Europe at gala performances in the early Diaghilev days? 7. inherit only the title.

who were very eager to hear about Paris and kept asking me questions. but he was given most awful sottises: "Man cher. like that other Rumanian queen. remember being presented to Queen Marie of Rumania. I think it was in 1925. The Queen had sent me an invitation which my Rumanian friends considered to be indeclinable. I said the "marche aux puces" but the word "puces" I also seemed to shock them a good deal and they were silent. The Queen was both beautiful and a bluestocking: she had been an author herself. I was seated between Queen Maria and the Queen Mother. One of them wanted to know what I thought was the most interesting thing in that city. and she even sent me to her bedroom to show me her fine collection of icons. and French with the two sovereigns. She was most gracious to me.82 theater MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES where we were playing. of the solemn annual ceremony in which Alfonso had to wash the feet of a group of beggars gathered from the streets has curiously reminded this evening. the day after a concert in Bucharest in which I played my piano concerto. I went to the Royal Palace. ( Harold Nicolson's description. ) me of Alfonso was a kind man. He wore a medallion portrait of the to uttering the Emperor Charles cestral V on his chest. King Carols mother. Carmen Sylva. which invited all who looked at him to compare the family features of the an- and the living King. and Things. il faut que vous composez une musique pour les coupoles des eglises Russes" which is the sort of remark the Russian Grand Dukes used to make. Except for a few chance meetings and one luncheon . I spoke German with the latter. where I was escorted to an anteroom and left in the presence of several ladies-in-waiting. though the King himself did not remain at the table but walked about helping to serve in People us. Accordingly.

PORTRAITS MEMOIRES with the present Queen Mother of Belgium. these are all the queens (of countries) I have known. . to 83 who wanted in commission a violin concerto from me. and for a brief presentation to the Queen of Holland (at The Hague 1952).

.

Most of your music was composed on commission. this is an ideal achieved by only a very few composers. Rouse. do you compose? I. by W.Some Musical Questions The song people praise is always the latest thing* Telemachus. . that have the nature or specifications of a commission ever helped to determine your musical direction. For myself and the hypothetical other.. whom You ask me it for an opera in all to produce on a stage . D. Most of us write for an audience. at the time. for example.. rather. Haydn: ". . H. the authors of these masterpieces had certainly composed for themselves and the hypothetical other.C. PATRONAGE R. For trans. in another letter: "I have to change many things [in a symphony] for the English public. Hamlet and Don Giovanni were written same first for real audiences.C. I cannot comply buffa." But this does not mean that an artist compromises himself when he considers an audience and its tastes. as. R. Or..S. this circumstance affected the course of your art. If you intend Prague ." And. . while. or perhaps . Has is. with your wish because my operas are far too closely connected with our personal circle (Esterh&z) and more- over they would not produce the proper effect which I calculated in accordance with the locality..

since these standards tend to suggest others.e. though it much as it created me. even to some extent.. may have seemed to be an entirely logical step for arbitrary step at the time. to reply to your question. (This particular set of conditions . A certain kind of product is expected— however free to be.86 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES imposed a limitation on the musical substance? Would you comment on the role of the commission in contemporary music in general? I. and though this circumstance did undoubtedly lead to a new appreciation of eighteenth-century classicism on possibility of the my part. to compose what one wants missioned afterward. e. is to choose one's commission. The composer cannot stray very far from this pattern.g. in length.. standard in style— i. somewhere between Schoenberg and Stravinsky. I believe that most new music is influenced and. attribute hardly any influence on the direction or the subto the circumstances of commissions. and this in to I compose and to get it comI myself have had the luck to do many instances. But. the terms of a commission may seem For example.S. of course. stance of my music Though Diaghilev had confronted me with music. while I minimize the importance of commissions in relation to my own art. but domesticated. Pulcinella. a piece of music commissioned for performance by an American symphony orchestra is expected to be performable after four to six hours of rehearsal. thirty-five produce a two-minute piece requiring rehearsal style of hours of in a and twenty if extra instruments and written such originality that the conductor's contract will be canceled he plays it. predetermined by them. The trick. to be standard in instrumentation. I consider that I created the commission as and that me. and. was an But. suggesting and finally commissioning a ballet based Pergolesi's me to write upon it.

Actual.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS is 87 almost exactly reversed in the major radio stations of West Germany. were of mercial. symphonies.e. whether happened economic fact of interest only to the composer. plexity. In fact. and commissioning organizations. be commissioned should be a private Webern's instrumental songs were not commissioned.) I inevitably.e. like the Ford. In the main. for example. is wholly imaginary. at any rate. or not it i. i. however. concerto for a quality do violinist. from a performing point of view. etc. publicity. music of a high. Probably the most significant difference between the role of the commission today and in the past is the ques- tion of utility. nor did they . Or. immortal. are really only buying up surplus symphonies as the government buys up surplus corn. I do say that. and the Rockefeller. that some of the commissioners of my own later music have paid what they have paid just for their musical pleasure. the need for such music is so hopelessly non- but whether the music for actual that the commissioners are now its obliged to try to buy the need Great. of an Esterhazy or Diaghilev. of course— the noncommercial. still new the new symphony for the Philharmonic. I imagine that music was commissioned in the past to satisfy an actual need. the need for new cantatas. i.. The commissions of a Renaissance duke. com- new exist. conditions create patterns. But this is still utility—no matter the motive. uses for this sort. string quartets. music creates to own need. namely. Funds and rehearsal time for new music are abundant there and— this is my point— the styles of the new music.e. of a corresponding com- do not say that a composer cannot write personal and original music in these conditions.— is really needed for itself and not some adjunctive value. of the Church.. is often difficult to determine. for better or worse— that is not the point—are. I doubt.. for the symphony as well as the symphony.

I who automatically compliment their sort of have had my own experience with commissioners.88 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES meet any demand. some of the music of some of these composers. I think the foundation concerned would have been wiser and kinder if it had fined some of these people the same amount of money. and everybody else. the commissioner? cently have just list of composers awarded commissions of several thousands of dol- lars by one of the foundations. . too. or waste his time as he likes. may be. had to his condition that agreed I he should sit in judgment while letter played my music to him at the piano. Nonetheless. even Webern could compose music on commission. I he doesn't matter ) what guides . that he can work as he likes. Thus his symphony for the League of Composers. and if is guided by seen a his Webern. also. to Do you remember Sigismondo Malatesta's artist to Giovanni di Medici asking for an beautify the newly plastered walls of the Tempio Mala testa with frescoes? In Pound's version. Sigismondo wishes to promise the painter. a brush with Anti-Maecenas himself— a scion of grosciolist of cery stores and "modern art"— who would have I commissioned The Rakes Progress from me. nor discourage the fulsome ideas of "success" and "career" such people pursue and believe to be theirs by the compliments of reviewers trash. . this music which is so consequential at present is a perpetual embarrassment to the whole idea of commission-for-use. no performing organization was capable of presenting them at the time they were written. but that couldn't have mattered But while the composer has any. genius (if he to re- he hasn't. . As I know Music and. it probably scandalized the League. whoever he . never lacking provision. for money will not enrich their music. In fact.

I had been fascinated by the movements of Little Tich. though remember only in which I was aware of such a thing. line. they are also very different in spirit. whom I had seen in London in 1914. not to in my my conscious knowledge. nevertheless.C. Has music ever been suggested to you by. Incidentally. How in did you happen to use the "Jambe en beds'* melody I. R. and without knowing it was that. Petroushka? A hurdy-gurdy played it every afternoon beneath my . 89 who intends to com- R. spastic movement. or has a musical idea ever occurred to you from. I have managed to compose some not unpleasing music ) Faciles for piano duet of one year later. and it an important change in my art. for it does not try to approfondir the relationship. or pattern? I Countless times.S. seems to me these Three Pieces look ahead to the Pieces and from the Pieces Faciles to my so aberrant "neoclassicism" ( in which category. pieces are perhaps thinner in substance though and more re- petitive than music by Schoenberg and Webern of the same mark. and the jerky. a purely visual experience of movement. This was during the composition of the second of my Three Pieces for string quartet. and of Schoenberg only Pierrot Lunaire. was suggested by the art one instance of this great clown ( and "suggested" seems to me the right word.S. the rhythm— even the mood or joke of the music— which I later called Eccentric. the ups and downs. whatever it is).SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS That should be read by anyone mission an artist.C. date. I think. I. knew no music by Webern 1914. I suppose. But. In spite of the obvious recollection of Petroushka in Eccentric. these pieces as has I were not influenced by been said— at least Schoenberg or Webern.

failed to sign the Berne copyright convention. But do not think it fair that I have to pay. like Petroushka and the Symphonies of Wind Instruments. I do not receive performance rights for The Firebird. however. of course. and Maurice of the opinion that the Delage. injustices of copyright laws 1 The chapter to my "life" The Firebird. several months after the premiere. and this citizenship extended authors' rights retrospectively for three years) was and is unprotected in the United States: the United States and the U. someone informed Diaghilev that the tune had been composed by a Mr. who kindly gave his name. even of excerpts. 1 and nonlaws would add a complicated and demand a reinterpretation of some of my composing activity. Petroushka. I tried to protect the music I composed after these three ballets by having an American editor sign my compositions a humiliating expedient. as one of the most popular pieces of music composed in this century." "melody must be very Then. and he Sacre du Printemps were pirated in the United States and have been perfonned there free for the last thirty-five years. was old. Spencer or his heirs.90 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES in Beaulieu (near Nice). pirated editions. therefore. wrote did not think whether the composer might still living or the music protected by copyright. who was with me. These versions vary from complete rewritings. a share of Petroushka s royalties has gone to Mr. which. for the good of my soul. Those who imagine that my works make me rich do not realize that everything I composed before 1931 (I became a French citizen in 1934. — . a gentleman still very much alive and resident in France. Since 1911. to the mere correcting of printers' errors as in the case of the Capriccio and Symphony of Psalms." to the co-author of the libretto. of almost all of the 1920s. I do not aspire to be any such thing). which it would not pay a 1 pirate to When I became an American the music I citizen in 1945 prepared new versions had composed before 1931. window as a it in. Spencer. would have made me a "millionaire" ( though.S. though Albert Spalding. however: I I should pay for the use of someone else's property. was so obviously not a real editor. such as the "Russian Dance. I do not cite this to grieve about it. a sixth of all royalties deriving from purely musical (nonstaged) performances of Petroushka. But the three popular and lucrative early ballets are still far more commonly played in the old. as I must.R. This stratagem covered only those less frequently per- — fonned works copy. I and since it struck I me be good tune for the scene I was then composing.S.

S. and only one of the themes of Les Noces 4 is rr r j JrJ Tr ir J folk-derived. I I did not actually turn to folk music as source ma- "Down St. did not ask for an indemnity. the two "Khorovod" themes a story about Schoenberg and an early piece of his that was also unSomeone suggested to him that he change the score. graciously. to be very old and dim in origin. was undoubtedly influenced by it. The song Peter's Road" in Petroushka ( St. of course. incidentally. and while terial. R. for instance. There are also three folk melodies in The Firebird. Renard and Les Noces. To what extent does your Russian music. at least. This theme. but. and a more or less good one by Rimsky-Korsakov.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS The "Jambe en Greeting Prelude birthday (a piece bois" incident Ql years later with the I I might have had a sequel "Happy Birthday" melody in the wrote for Pierre Monteux's eightieth had already sketched out in 1950 for a project that did not materialize). especially I. Petersburg was you go- called simply "Peter" in the peasant villages— "Are ing to Peter?") was taken from Tchaikovsky's collection. "I can't change anything it's perfect already. As it turned out. the author was alive. Schoenberg's reply was. too. make use of folk melody? There is no conscious use of folk melody whatever in Renard. Excellent collec- tions of Russian folk music by Tchaikovsky and Liadov. rewrite a quarter note as two tied eighths.C. was given me by my friend Stepan use of it Mitusov at least ten years before I made in the final tableau of Les Noces. all of these were familiar to me. or. so that the piece could be copyrighted as a new version. I must have assumed this melody to be in the category of folk music. had been published. — ." I like protected.

I do not remember which of the three collections supplied which themes. In each also case.9* MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES i fljJ^'JJjJj^JJ and j J J J J J J J -T3 of the Finale Jj. however. the syllables and words in of the songs dictated the music. And. none of sian my Russian songs—Pribaoutki. the anthology was a recent publication. my Pieces Faciles is my original song. The opening bassoon melody in he Sacre du Printemps is the only folk melody in that work. and not from Borodin or Cui. to my knowledge. it may be because my powers of fabrication were able to tap some uncon- scious "folk" memory. One other work . pieces sounds like aboriginal folk music. as some critics have suggested. It came from an anthology of Lithuanian folk music I found in Warsaw. but not directly The "Balalaika" melody—like a folk borrowed. Four Russian Songs. p and the theme $ ii °ld J ij ^p the Four RusIf which had a dotted rhythm in the original. however. of course. the Peasant Choruses. the any of these Berceuses du Chat—contains folk material.

who were supdidn't. as some writers on my music have stated! R. rather. After this script to Mrs. orchestra stood with my back to the to notice offering. by an orchestra and Negro chorus conducted by my performance I sent the manuD.C. not "Russian" 93 and therefore not in your category. the existing arrangements of which seemed that to me very poor. F. to who have his works recomposed— and partly because obliged to begin my concerts week was during the war with The visited me twice a I Star-Spangled Banner. must have embarrassed some high apology. and conducted the audience. Roosevelt for a war-fund auction.S. 1941. who soon sucit ceeded in for a similar purpose. What prompted you I to arrange The Star-Spangled Banner? I. a police com- missioner appeared in my dressing room and informed me of a Massachusetts law forbidding any "tampering" with national property. undertook the arrangement at the suggestion of a pupil— a composer. just before the second concert. my major the part patriotic ladies like best. posed to sing but that Though no one seemed my arrangement differed from the standard the next day.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS of mine. I performed myself for the first time with the I Boston Symphony Or- chestra in the winter of 1944. I official. He said that policemen had already been instructed to remove my arrangement from the music . but seventh chord in the second strain of the piece. in borrows extensively from folk music. for my it score was returned with an then gave selling it to Klaus Mann. My version was composed in Los Angeles on 4th July. All the themes my Norwegian Moods were taken from a collection of Norwegian folk music my wife had found in a secondhand bookstore in Los Angeles— and not from Grieg. and performed shortly after pupil's son-in-law.

to see a use for many composers have now begun electronically produced sound. I do not see why a medium possibilities two so rich in sound sons should sound so poor. however. for superior to any other version and harmonic best of the material. ground between the two. the whole electronic-music experiment up to the present can only be regarded as a prenatal stage in Also. instrumental attractive results and otherwise. I argued that an Urtext of The Star-Spangled certainly infrequently played in avail. and is certainly I have heard. I It Banner existed. its development. Now.S. and. myself am interested in problem of bridging together the live and the mechaniIn my first idea.A. the impression of desultoriness a main impression. for the instrumentation . in 1917.) ELECTRONIC MUSIC R. think. has been entirely successful I in bridging the modu- latory this cal.C.C. synthesizer. At the same time the newer electronic music has tribute to the clearer division more direction— a fact I attry- between those who are ing to create a new and purely electronic soimd and those who are trying to transform existing sounds. mixed or used adjunctively I with traditional instrumental sound— though no one. Have you any further observations to make about of it electronic "music"? I. (The complicomparison is ment to myself in this very small indeed.94 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES if stands. it was Massachusetts— but to no do not know if it my version makes the has been performed since. linear ought to be. some on both have been attained the appear- sides of this split. I years would still repeat the criticisms I made ago— namely. with ance of the R. though liai- shape and composition are more in evidence and the more convincing is still in the newer pieces. fact.

and was sent to me at the Hotel Chateau d'Oex. fact.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS of Les 95 Noces was to use mechanical instruments. 8th March... Now to something and much more important. to my rehearsals of the Liturgie. An mind. . id est. musique concrete. The changes of these harmonic junctures. Victoria. player did not pianos. 1915. suspended from the ceiling. Theredance action must be supported not by music but by sounds. Perhaps the real future of electronic music theater. must not be remarked by the ear— fore. more like With nothing to look at on the stage— no exhibition of orchestra and conductor. is perhaps a preview of kind of thing ) But this very theatricality— which elec- tronicians will object to as art more for the effect of another than for the thing itself— exposes another problem.. . After having thirty-two that absolute idea of genius has come . silence is we have concluded aerial death . It is dated Rome. of course. or liaisons. Switzerland. I have uncovered a Diaghilev letter that should be of at least historical interest in the discussion of "Futuristic" music. in the Imagine the ghost scene in Hamlet with electronic "white noise" entering the auditorium from several directions (Berio's this Omaggio a Joyce . and electronic music. and it is good example else. but not more so than the "Futuristic" composers themselves. and that space is not absolute silence and cannot be. mobile reflectors— what is the audience to look at? Surely not at anything so arbitrary as the "symbolic" colors and pictures of the San Francisco "Vortex" experiment. The source of this "filling" should not be recognizable. in stances. of Diaghilev's flair. by filling the ear harmonically. Silence doesn't exist and couldn't exist. a It is naive. together with ordinary orchestral instruments— an idea I abandoned only because I know how is to co- ordinate and control both elements. but only conduit-speaker boxes and. . "Concerts" of electronic music are.

because one does not hear either the beginning or the end of the sound. I will send you some money for the trip immediately. I urge you very strongly to come—it is very important for the future. VARfiSE R. he can give it as a benefit for the Serbs if he is busy on the 20th.5. The projected instruments are: bells harps. I am in love with it. as many after do. As for the concert of Prokofiev in Geneva. wrapped round with cloth and other material. we get to- gether for some days in Milan and discuss their "orchestra. until we meet soon. according to him. id est. You will see many new Futuristic studios. tops." with the leader of and examine all their instruments. Also. from there we will go together to Montreux.S. Octandre. Some of this might be a description of the music of Edgar Varese. Then. 2 sirens.C. The he had done the one thing. but do know and greatly admire Ionization. LS. he guarantees that at this time he will bring Pratella to Milan so he can show us his newest works which midables. Naples. that music is limited and repetitive. if you can come to do it Compose Noces quickly. for- We could Telephone me at meet us in Milan. aeolian and so on. guzli. Seriosha P. . many others ) And his useless to remark. there is one sound merely no ob- vious rhythm whatsoever.96 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES joins or enters another. Hotel Vesuvio. as have never heard Ameriques and Arcana (they look of though the shadow I he Sacre had fallen over them). between the 15th and 20th of March. je f embrace. and that I he had done the one kind of thing he had nowhere point is to go. a noble figure in our music (how much more honest to have kept than to have written the apish music of so it is his long silence . Of course all this has to be but for that purpose Marinetti proposes it worked out. Density 21. 2 and The goat plays this instrument in Renard. are. There is How do you esteem Varese? and he himself is nobility in his noise.

but in the simple holiness of his feeling toward each of God's essents (a flower. is now recognized even by the A celebrated conductor who recently per- formed one of the two pieces by him that could be called popular conceded in an interview that 'Webern does have an influence on music.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS Integrates. He stands before to his the Parthenon friezes and marvels at the sculptor's "conception. a Sanctus." which he compares . an Agnus Dei). But Webern's importance matinee idols. Music other meaning exists for a mystery to him. a Gloria. of a new measure of musical time. No. a mystery he does not seek to explain. .C.S. Humplik. too. he is the discoverer of a new distance between the musical object and ourselves and. . and Jone. a Credo. . however different the means"). and he even admits. a Benedictus. and of the letters of all. first to emerge. WEBERN Have you changed your mind in any particular about Webern? R. that he should compare the movements Second Cantata to a Kyrie. He never explains letter. and not merely as documentation. "silence") as well. At the same time. as such he is supremely important. a is mountain. therefore. but as material of art. no him but music. always the same thing in a thousand different letter: ". with the publication of his letters to Berg. I. own "composition method . 97 and I consider Varese's present activity— tape- recording the sound of New York City— of the highest value. to beyond that. in one being . The Webern ligious. Webern the man has now begun is. ways" (in another the meaning is always the same." a statement comparable in to Eisenhower's discovering politics communists in China. of his not only institutionally six though. profoundly re(extraordinary.

severely tried times by the necessity of explanation: tortured by teaching/' "I am some- He is like a village priest in that his world does not ex- tend beyond his village— indeed. he was what he was wholly apart from the so-called Zeitgeist. . I hear everywhere now that Webern's series are too symmetrical. And this turning away will coincide. however. he takes infinite pains. The desperate contrivance of most of the music now being charged to his name can neither diminish course it his strength nor stale his perfection. he makes my world seem a million miles away. He contains no tic' mean"). and how this problem alone involved him in several stages of rewriting. of course. too purely Of course the entire world had to imitate him. compared with Webern's." They will blush for their master's "naivety" and "provincialism. for me.98 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES . beat). too. he accepts without criticism the musical tradition to which he was born— nor has he any conception of himself as a radical composer. Berg's music.e. His manners and address are also word of technical jargon (to Berg: "Art must be simple") and no aesthetics ( "I don't understand what 'classic* and romanboth villageoises and priestly.. He does not have a rebellious heart—indeed. The few musical examples in the letters indicate how deeply he had been concerned with the relation of note values to musical substance (and tempo." They will cover his nakedness and look the other way. she was young!"). He is infinitely patient 3 and. with a reaction against his music (in favor of Berg's. of course it will blame Webern. "How beautiful she must have Webern was been when too original— i. himself. that his music makes one too conscious of twelves. . 8 That his music cost him terrible birth pains. I have no doubt. but composing is entirely natural to him. is like an old woman about whom one says. and that "Za structure sSrielle chez Berg est plus cach6e". This Webern will embarrass "Webemists. . of would fail. all He is a perpetual Pentecost for who believe in music. though. No matter. meter.

Epitaphium? flute-clarinet IS. however. as in all my music. whether all twelve notes would be used. I think. and. I decided that the bass instru- ment should be a harp. ) want. 99 process in Would you analyze your own composing any part of one of your more recent pieces— in. written As a kind of hymn. the most beautiful on the instru- Only I after I had written this little twelve-note duet did conceive the idea of a series of funeral responses between I bass and treble instruments.C. and. last. The constructive problem that first attracted me in the twopart counterpoint of the first phrase was the harmonic one of minor seconds. There are four short antiphonal strophes for the harp. began to work toward that pattern. must be pinched pres de la table to I produce the sound ment. in fact. like The first bar of the harp part was. however. I cerwhich tainly did not (and never do) begin with a purely serial idea. and fifth harmonic voices. I worked the music out. when I began I I did not know. fourth. 15. Mary. (The harp in this piece. ( I began the Epitaphium with the I duet had originally thought of as a duet for two flutes and which can be played by two flutes. the deep bass notes of the harp are. and four for the and each strophe is a . op. as wanted the whole piece to be very muffled. incidentally. it became PurcelTs Funeral Music for Queen wind duet. The flute-clarinet responses are mostly seconds. and so are the harp responses. the piece was written to be performed in a program with Webern's songs. After about half the first phrase I and then perhaps I had written saw its serial pattern. though the harp part is sometimes complicated by the addition of third.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS R. which use the flute-clarinet combination). I heard and composed a melodic-harmonic phrase. the little for example. or care. In the manner I have described in our previous conversations.

for example. and the Movements are the most advanced music from the point of view of construction of anything I have composed. Though parallels are not equivalents. I think. same time. the flute solo near the beginning.100 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES I. no matter how unique the combinatorial properties of series. too. R. not and Orchestra. etc. A and B. The fifth movement. greatly in error). or the derivation of the three Fs announcing the last movement simply by knowing the original order. in all directions. look at Josquin for a parallel: that marvelous second Agnus Dei (the three-voice one) in the . the six work a crystal. in their claim to have exhausted all that is meant by it and to have gone far beyond. triangles. those younger col- but more of a serial leagues who already regard "serial" as an indecent word. unlike some of my younger colleagues. winds: O. No theorist could determine the spelling of the note order in. listeners should add I rhythmic language is also the most advanced have so far employed. RI. the sixes. nations are My polyrhythmic combi- those of meant to be heard vertically. are. however ( and I too. as though through I Now that that its I have mentioned my new work. this particular Every aspect of the composition was guided by serial forms. RI. at the than the four. L serial I have discovered new (to me) combinations in the Movements less for Piano have discovered in the process. quadrilaterals. Five orders are rotated instead of with six alternates for each of the five. however. R. uses a construction of twelve verticals. complete order of the series—harp: O. delta hexachords in this movement are The gamma and more important while. perhaps some might even detect a hint of serialism in this too. that I am becoming composer. for instance (which I had to rewrite twice).

Have you to ever considered writing music for films? LS. FILM MUSIC AND FILMS R. the contrast of an andante little with an allegro would make in the sense. however.-'is .SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS 101 Missa VHomtne arme." which is aural ere- thism. construction must replace contrast. at the Cyprus Codex. j-ifcJL ! section of the piece confined to a certain range of instrumental timbre (another suggestion of serialism?). or at Baude Cordier's pour le default du dieu Bacchus. several times. movements are related more by tempo than by contrasts of such things as timbre." "character". trill is the tendency toward anti- tonality— in spite of long pedal point passages such as the clarinet at the end of the third movement. "mood. in simple triadic references occur in every bar. and in two instances I had even begun compose. span of only twelve minutes. Perhaps the most significant development Movements. my Four Norwegian Moods were originally in- . but music for film use.C.rr/ Pourle l RB <fef [fault] 6^ J Jj&l^jJ 1 I ^ J^'ft J ^ j &iu Each but the in a five Ij^'j ji«j>j. I am amazed at this myself. and view of the fact that in Threni the sustained string harmonics in the fourth movement. not "film music. for even more remarkable examples. or. Yes. an emotional counterpart to scenery. ^JJUJ^Ht-J-rrr | «r -.

000 to artistic conditions attached." Incidentally. though. with nonsense They want my name. who earned almost nothing from his compositions. as moving picture in St. ) my taste— too intellectualized I remember waiting a long while in a small.102 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES Scherzo a la tended for a film about the Nazi invasion of Norway. an for the film itself ironic triumph if there ever was one. Neither score differed in with a Russian its any way from later. however. and when I refused. an event that impressed me. and my film. and though was never a great litera- admirer of his— to ture. however. though I re- orchestrated the Scherzo for the Paul Whiteman band could conceive of music for films only as incidental music. and I can probably quite count myself fortunate that none of the proposals Holly- wood I has made me ever reached a contractual stage. saying. "You kill me is to keep me from starving to death. was imaginary. Russe began as music for another war setting. for only their motives rarely do enjoy negotiating with do they try to obscure art. but it is as far as I will go. film people. I present concert form. Petersburg in 1904. but with impossible about offered $100. ( it was shortly after Tchekhov's I death. crowded . was told that I could receive the same money if I were willing to allow someone else to compose the music in my name. The great composer. at a fee that must have seemed like Croesus's fortune to him. though the fact of his illness was well known. which is is what these pieces are. Schoenberg's Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene by far the best piece of real film music ever written. He refused. was invited to supply music for The Good Earth. That this conception wrong from the film industry's point of view. I first saw a am certain of the date. not my music— I was even pad a film with music. I am well aware. The classical Hollywood story is not mine but Schoenberg's.

with Diaghilev in Mystdres de company with Michel Larionov. in to my For me.) met Chaplin in Hollywood in 1937 and we became its friends. is and he came with me Hollywood. Chaplin was an event in my life. a lady looks on in disgust. 1 also remember Les York. His so-prodigal inventiveness was a continual amazement to me. of course. I had concerts there rehearsals. in not as music. A woman stood by a table. but why the proposition that better comis . as he was in Diaghilev's. too: a conflagration in a Swedish match real interest in films I factory. of each film. film A second short was shown. pouring hot chocolate into a cup. The whole performance lasted no longer than a Bagatelle by Webern. film then. I New think in 1912. in 1915. That was all. and the cup and the liquid trembled terribly. in Nice. which many ways. This was one less of the first of the "to-be-continued-next-week" serialized adventures. The Chaplin finally in the moral ending: When he picks up the I pea with his fingers. the lunch scene on the tempest-driven boat tries to where he touch impale a single petit pois rolling about his plate like the ball in a pinball is machine. Chaplin brief age of art. and though it was the most shameis chyepouha. in Lausanne. as well as by the moral of the whole ( For example. and a child then swallowed the contents of the cup. My began to in 1912 with the first Chaplins— at any rate. the insidious secret of films such that I was there again each next week. Film music is significant.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS 103 room and then seeing a film that proved to be an advertisement for Swiss chocolate. but I am positive I saw a Chaplin film Santander. but I was touched also by the moral point Chaplin episode. at the time. in if seem remember seeing a Chaplin that is not accurate.

but I should . I wish to make my own ability.C." The Lord of Sugawara Bunraku play by Chikamatsu) R." "Teaching makes of (in the art a virtue. and I am full of veneration for Sessions. Whatever ( interests me. the virtuosi with- out virtu. I am probably describing a rare form of kleptomania). Your remarks about "virtuosi" in the first volume of our "conversations") might easily be misunderstood. Kfenek. in it is said that in Hollywood Haydn would have been credited as the composer of the Variations on a Theme by Haydn and Brahms as their "arranger. for the term no longer prestigious.104 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES is posers could produce better film music not necessarily true: the standards of the category defeat higher standards. whatever I love. but old masters' as well. and no disposition for it: am I inclined to think that the only pupils worth having would become composers with or without ( my help though am not sure that I would say the same thing in in relation to the same way about Berg and Webern Schoenberg). the is false virtuosi. I will express my respect for the craftsmanship of the many good musicians employed by the films. I of performer you mean? mean.S. Messiaen. I Why I did you never become a teacher? little gift have very for teaching. My instinct is to recompose. of course. all I can say that I quite differently. When show me their music would have written it for criticism. and not only composers is students' works. Hindemith. and those few other composers who possess the teacher's gift.S. es- pecially the arrangers. 7. Still. Would you describe the kind 7. than the word "arranger" would seem to imply. I regret my in- however.C. who are often responsible for more fact. ( R.

who are really have of attained their new instrumental and musical powers through performances of new music. the virtuosi of today are inclined to pro- nounce the most interesting new music—no matter how often 'lesser" performers play it— unplayable. but their value to music their I greater than that of famous colleagues. an unfirst divided beat of four. Deplus ) and others. even Bach and Mozart. or Beethoven you may have heard? I. The Allegro was little also an absurdly sode fast Rossini-like tempo that obliterated phrase accents and articulations. G-minor his epi- and oboe). course. basses. would define the false virtuoso as the kind of as that performer who plays only nineteenth-century music. and in the present between the true and the false. Mozart.S. where even Toscanini must pace have sensed something wrong—for a moment slackened almost to the right tempo. since they are what he PERFORMANCE AND INTERPRETATION Would you comment on any recent performances of Haydn. But true virtuosi do still exist. which was not unanimous. A few days ago I was exposed to a Toscanini recordR. or plays best.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS I05 have distinguished between past and present examples. the . except in the (cellos. troduction The Adagio molto in in- was played not adagio but andante. when it is by performer who should begin his recitals with the encores. They is unknown. and badly played from the very chord. ing of Beethoven's First Symphony. They are the exceptional instrumen- talists—the flute player in clarinetist in Paris ( Los Angeles (Gleghorn). Whereas the virtuosi of other eras collaborated closely with new ex- music in exploring new instrumental possibilities and tending technique.C. And Toscanini's am- .

4 strings. I am not a doryphore. a strict thirty-second notes after dotted notes. But can Toscanini have failed to hear such a thing? In any case.l()6 M i:m oh ik. Mo- On the other hand. nor have I grievances against I Toscanini other than those just stated. do I in fact utter. The second movement was also badly played. few bars the winds doubly shortened these thirty-seconds (as indeed they were right so to do). At one place In the development section the strings performed Then. later. The hearing themselves corrected. make no and that the movement was not only too slick as well. Two 4 weeks ago witnessed a concert of three symfirst phonies. he did not hear that the ritardando he applied to the beginning of the recapitulation was insufferably last gross. especially. however. submit. so that the finest passage in the symphony —the dozen bars or so which open the development (Bars 96-108)— was reduced to insignificance. Hcethoven's Seventh Symphony shortening both the dot and the note after in every performance been mined by I havo heard: after a while I -J J J -I J becomes a march: JT2 JTI3 . followed suit in the next statement of this rhythm. that these remarks are the sort that music critics should make about Toscanini s or anybody else's performance of Beethoven's First Symphony. and until they (the critics) 4 are able to discern such realities of musical performance ("discern" and "criticize" have the same they have no right to utter the hieratic terpretation" they by the way) nonsense about "inroot. whether or not they coincided with Bee- thoven's own climaxes and. one by Haydn. from the Salomon h:is series. Beethoven's own scale of climax. that the whole minsense at too fast but uet and trio were so absurdly fast as to all.s and COMMENTARIES movement seems to bition throughout the have been to create climaxes.

the interpretative first ground of symphony cut. of course. but. this. as a downbeat. i. cause the whole orchestra to feel a subdivision of thirty-second notes. by a simple motion.. What is academicism in music? LS. word "interpretation" was saved this little Now. is a mere means of conformity in an imitative exercise. and the performance was unreal— pulsation is the reality of music. the academic composer reality— though "principle". pose. . and (b). His pur- was to make the orchestra attack together. however. and indeed of the whole introduction. One preparatory upbeat is enough to accomplish a clean attack. but the character of the second note.e. and Beethoven's Second. for the different lengths of its the Haydn sentences. the had sounded soimd reviewers' like velvet only comment was —though Haydn's that the strings strings should like strings and not like velvet. however. tion possible. the thirty-second note. The next day. Con- cerning R. a there- more with the old rule than with the new by "rule" I mean something nearer to rule. But the really extraordi- nary event of the concert was the introduction to the Beethoven. he natu- could not. But the for the Mozart. as this conductor's beat rally was like hot plasticene. was thereby destroyed. the bars That is all divided in half.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS zart's 107 I love it A-Major (K. for the conductor gave the first note of the symphony. is (a). in the simple sense. but not the rule. Academicism results fore concerned when the reasons for the rule is change.C. the interpreta- word is a myth. but was stifled by tempi too fast and too slow— the Andante was played adagio and both allegros were played prestissimo: the natural respiration of the music was everywhere frustrated. the reviewers said nothing. 201). the style. beat: the 2/2 time and the last movement should be in movement in 3/8.

C. I realize that choice is mathematical concept. is knowledge itself. but only in a very different way before and after. and I know it while I am discovering it. academically speaking.C. too. but this has not meant anything to me I as a composer or even an exact helped me at Las Vegas. To borrow G. I. that a really comprehensive informa- tion theory can explain "inspiration"— or. I am even more confident they would not help me an of to compose. R. anyway. to me I realize.S. E. and therefore problems of explanation are no very great interest to me. in fact). R. I have always been interested in the theory of games (since a childhood reading of Cardano. from an do not even know what sound read Rayleigh's Theory of Sound but all I was unable mathematically to follow its simplest explanations ) My knowledge is activity. How do you think the development of information theory in music might affect your art? 7. almost every- thing else about my processes of musical communication. The word was already badly overloaded . and that ought to be looking bethat matters yond the particular example it ( for the process that generated is all even though the particular example ) . I know very little. I discover it as I work.S. What does "creation" mean to you? Nothing. But though I am confident these explanations would enlighten me. indeed. . My attitude is merely proof that I am not intellectual. as I think then.108 If MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES the real end of academicism it is. the its equation of components— and. what yellow' is"—I do not see any means of explaining why I have chosen a certain note if whoever hears it does not already know why when he hears it. Though is I have worked academic point of view (I once tried to my life in sound. Moore's example—"I do not see how you can explain to anyone who does not already know it.

" depends on the same popular association of the word. archetypal "modern. according to my meaning. Nor is it brought about merely by it its innovations. often associate "pathos" with chromaticism. also the root of pathos.S. a suffers ( new it feeling. "Modern" in this sense does not so much mean or emphasize the appearance of a new style. a meaning simi- devotio moderna of Thomas a Kempis. Do really believe in an innate connection? is Of course not. is "Temblement" And Schoenberg's bon just "My music not modern." to some- one at a party with the recommendation. incidentally).S.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS was no more than a change ble as in log when psychologists made it their propaganda term for what methodology: a child's scribis not an "act of creation." nor is our intestinal function. for cannot accept the world as is. create.C. It "romantic. I was once introduced moderne. the association entirely due to con- ." of course." of course." CHROMATICISM RC. This is very far from the popular association of the word is with all that newest and most shocking in the world of sophisticated unmorality. a new fervor. a new style is part of it. of course. "Son Sacre du Printemps est terriblement meant mot. a new it emotion. it is badly played. l. though innovations are part of too. to suffer. And "modern"? The only sense in which I think I "modern" can now be used must derive from. or so lar to that of the It implies is is imagine. the word. Only God can R. though Schoenberg himself. Freud thought. is now horribly debased. is a true. which to Coleridge meant the noblest operation of imagination. since animals do as much and animals cannot create. You you I. "terribly good. and paschein. though.

meant to indi- pathetic. was the only work of kind by Willaert this little man—you remember its how I would like to have known Willaert. And. I prefer to use chromatic in a limited sense. and looking for But we have acquired the habit of our (post. that 5 Thanks to Professor Lowinsky. it need no longer be called the . Willaert's Quid Non Ebrietas ( though it is not so its much chromatic as modulatory.e. "chromaticism" first and "pathos" are connected. in midst of Life we are in Death. to displease his audience: but the cadence pleases us in another sense. In fact. and the musical use of "chromatic. someone learned in Incidentally. though. pur- poses. I should like to hear both sixteenth. artists believe not in innate qualities Nevertheless. at the words "Art justly displeased/' Purcell avoids the conventional cadence and composes one that was certainly intended. based roughly on a few examples. our whole approach to is six- teenth-century music apt to be slanted toward a chroquartet.110 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES but in art.Wagnerian) chromaticism in old his setting of the funeral sentence." in the misura chromatica. i. was cate a rhythmic change for expressive. the fact that only these pieces have gained attention proves my point.and seventeenth-century music discuss a notion of mine. Chromatic Duo. In the music. in relation to diatonic. 5 maticism that was really no more than a tiny development. For example. and so were Lasso's Hassler's restored Venice to Alma Nemes and Hans Leo though I Ad Dominum Cum by these masters. like those of musica riservata. with the result that contexts are grossly distorted. in one sense.. Calmo's description—who musical glory). far more than the conventional one would have done. ventions. do not know music by Stefano Rossetti and Matheus Greiter other than the chromatic pieces LowinTribularer unique chromatic works sky has printed.

" "Chromaticism" means something different to each and every composer today. do not try to "think" in advance— I can only work and hope to leap a little in my spirit start to . and though his period is to his list. . exceeds in sureness of harmonic movement and . Illness . ". was more strongly marked than it is in our lives.S. the cold more tween real evils. Macque (the beautiful Seconda Stravaganza) and Gesualdo. . in if Bach do we find music as adour sense— the Bach of the chorale preludes and. darkness and light.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS 111 the century of chromatic development from Clemens Non Papa through Rore and Wert to Marco da Gagliano. not until vanced. . like that between summer and winter. I. The modern town hardly knows silence or darkness in their purity. he wrote of the Kleines Harmonisches Labyrinth— as the motets and madrigals of the late sixteenth-century masters. In fact. R. silence . earlier than ours. .C. the contrast between chromatic and diatonic might be added striking contrast. Huizinga remarks the greater contrasts of late things in the Middle Ages. Luzzaschi. vividly with surrounding misery. in the use of dissonance the chromaticism of the operatic composers of the seventeenth century— always excepting Purcell. The contrast be- and sound. it. . But or cisely we cannot experience the full power of Gesualdo's any sixteenth-century master's chromatic expression prebecause we are unable to hear it contrasted with its the customary diatonic music which was background all ( and because our ears have been corrupted by later music). and health presented a more and darkness of winter were Honors and riches contrasted more . You I often say you cannot "think" about composing before you actually start to compose. nor the effect of a solitary light or a single distant cry.

C. may be excused remarking the exterior aspects of the piece. but in the tutti sections they simply sound like one orchestra. the chief significance of Gruppen but as in its post-serial inventions. however. tessitura. Also. though very attractive to look at have to be translated into sound but were a land of hand-drawn photo-electric sound (after a spectrum). is my own chief interest and as I in music still note-against-note counterpoint. Actually. of the three orchestras has aroused The question much comment. various kinds and lows ( though perhaps the constant fluctuation of highs and lows. a feature of this kind of music. 7 (It may not be true of Stockhausen's new Caree. June. and this is true of all poly-orchestral music. dynamics.112 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES What piece of R. In a marginal note about them. he weighs up all the possibilities of their relationship to one another. 7 Winfned Zillig's astounding revelations (in The Score. is its very of highs source of monotony). The really does consist of groups. I is is do not more successful than that of the Zeitmasse. though I think the form Historically. written in March 1926. suppose. in pattern Stockhausen's for is and shape. to its plan of volume. the music as a whole has a greater sense of movement than any of Stockhausen's other pieces (I have not yet heard Zyklus*). title is exact: the is music and each group admirably composed according tion." in Die Jakobsleiter have stolen the thunder of the new generation: "Schoenberg expended much thought on the acoustical problems of the off-stage orchestras. whether it is by Schutz or Mozart or Charles Ives or anyone else. instrumenta- rhythmic pattern. their roles are very marked. when the orchestras play separately or overlap. is The problem 8 of the three conductors is it more compli- too —one almost wishes The score of which didn't very Cage-y. 1959) about Schoenberg's preoccupation with multiple orchestras. and even with is now called "Musik im Raum. Stockhausen's Gruppen. He even makes an attempt to design on paper an apparatus which would enable the sound from the different orchestras what . new music has most attracted you in the last year? LS.

and the music three bars before Bar 102. the solo guitar music at Bar 75. Stockhausen's orchestra is full of remarkable sounds. when the metronomic second 113. Therefore. A note written in 1921 on the ending of Die Jakobsleiter shows how he was The note taken with the idea of sound-complexes emerging from in the hall. in the ear of the at first chiefly on the by the choruses stationed with the offstage orchestras. in fact. is and adjust. these tempi are unattainable with any exactitude by merely human conductors. But perhaps the most exciting sounds in the whole score are near the beginning —the pizzicato third orchestra at Bar 27. this listen to than conduct one of would rather the orchestras in Gruppen: also I why the business of synchronizing with the other conductors and of concentrating on the details of one's own orchestra makes the whole very difficult to hear. complicated rhythmical system of anticipating the beat. Incidentally. to substitute a simple modem microphone for the complicated acoustical system conceived in 1926. the problem of the "Fern" orchestras and "Fern"-Chore would best be resolved by being played behind the scene. that is different places listener. and for the third 94.5. What. for example. then gradually joined . but by microphones distributed so as to appear at different places of the hall/ Schoenberg is prepared. indication for one orchestra is 70. Let me Bar cite only a few places: the cello and bass music at 16. by a to cert hall. and uniting only reads: to say. the third orchestra be directed by means of a system of ducts to different parts of the conHe tries to compensate for the time-lag incurred by the journeying of the sound from behind the stage to the various parts of the hall. they would not be together at the end of even ten bars. juggle. If I were to blindfold three conductors and start them beating 60 to a beat. then. by soundproof materials unaudible at the stage. platform. for the happens is that the conductors follow each other. "He comments on this again in a note written in English in 1944: 'Today. so that in the end the music is streaming from all sides of the hall.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS 113 cated.' Is this not like a prophecy of electronic music and of the most recent experiments in spatio-acoustics. which are considered by the musical youth of today to be the dernier crff" 'Chorus and soloists. But Schoenberg's aural imagination goes to even further lengths. October 1944.

The rhythmic construction of Gruppen is. < Vlas.C. I think. especially the brass trills and flutter- tongues at Bars 108 to 116. without showing the actual rhythmic relation of the notes. they should sound in this order: r I rT Y ri r v? fr #^ 1 R. of the greatest interest. is he not performing a merely mechanical job which. a mechanical agent might perform better? .ii4 at Bars MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES 63 to 68. and. Does the orchestral player or chorus singer in certain types of position? For instance. in fact. which means that. the following bar: Vlns. new music understand his own role when he plays one of in the com- the parts in the bar from Stockhausens Gruppen you have quoted. For example.

For example. Our mid-twentieth-century situation. I am in sympathy with Milton Babbitt when he says that he . and it might be better if it were isolated and relegated to mechanical means. after Willaert and others had pitch. at a rehearsal of that work in Hamburg I actually did observe musicians listening to each other.C. Apel's collection? Much new music form it is does appear to contain a large mechani- cal element. and not only for the line of the music. Recently. a purely mechanical element does exist in music today.S. Yes: pitch. I had heard several performances of Webern's Variations for Orchestra in the last few years but I have never been able to answer those critics of it who maintained that the players were unable to understand the inter-relationships of their roles without the score. but for as well. in regard to pitch. and I consider that the most important aspect of electronic music is the fact that it can manufacture ploitation I. its every nuance The conductor. of course. when. however. proved the necessity of equal temperament. but whether or not the effort to per- mechanical depends on the performer and his experience. ceased to be the usual puppeteer and become a kind of monitor in a large work of co-operation." is "depressed by the sight of duplicative"— Mr. stood of his "role" in the structure and composition the fourteenth-century motets in Dr. 115 Just how much do you think the choral singer underof. Is any musical element still susceptible to radical ex- and development? I even risk a prediction that pitch will comprise the main difference between the "music of the future" and our music.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS I. therefore. might perhaps be compared to that of the mid-sixteenth century. the great pitch . At the same time. say. Babbitt has his own vo- cabulary—orchestral musicians R.S.

Jeux. it seems to me to approach very closely to Webern in form. 1912. for to that date belong Pierrot Lunaire. I suddenly heard an ordinary flute playing ordinary ( well. the Altenberg Lieder. sensibility. failed. music apart— I think could keep the music apart anyway— by the expressive poverty of the tuning. or Ansichtskarten Lieder. especially the Passacaglia . instrumentation. Incidentally.C. 1912-AND AFTER R. Altenberg. such as the late 1920s to and 1930s might be considered to the prewar years? LS. at any rate. and. and. then foresee a decline from this "radical exploratory" do you move- ment—a decline into formulation. 8 The 8 full stage following the it summit he Sacre du Printemps year before its is usually dated 1913. "Hier tropft Schnee leise in Wasserlachen. " is The . despite its Wagnerism. and. . one of the perfect works composed in this century and worthy of comparison with any music by Webern or Schoenberg up to the same date. but was completed a performance. I have been in relation myself can hardly assess a development to which I am still contributing. What exquisite pieces they are. Later. Do you see any similarities between the present if so. . I was shocked. though still relatively unknown. ready for such experiments flute. and he Sacre du Printemps. specifically. . of course. . (postwar) years of musical "exploration" and "revolution" and the era before the First World War. in a restaurant. and others. but the richest musical years in this century do now seem to have been those immediately be- fore the 1914 war.Il6 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES began—Zarlino's These instruments quarter-tone experiments instrument. I had been watching the Kuramatengu play in Osaka one afternoon recently and had become accustomed to the Noh three hundred years before . Vincentino's thnty-nine-tones-to-the-octave archicembalo.tempered ) I music. and the well-tempered clavier was established (though at least Bach ) but our ears are more now—mine are.

their A trouble was that they imitated not so much my music as my person in my music. but they are new. I would still call Jeux "decadent." and its for their final C-major chords with of the B natural or A in them. op. and Schoenberg's Serenade Pieces. was obsessed its by an artificial abnegate any suggestion of triadic "tonality"— a very difficult thing to do. loose bar lines are worlds apart from my rarely rubato. and the is can be called schools formulae. Your called period of formulation came only in the later 1920s. and my own." their "dissonances. The work's influence on Boulez is therefore natural ( and natural too is its lack of influence on me. even peculiarly French. perhaps. During the fact that they teen years from 1930 to 1945. 23. however. Noces. from he Sacre and though could be considered something of a decline in originality and explosive force. Soldat. however. music was heavily founded in the most turgid and graceless Brahms. my "school" if you prefer. These qualities are French.SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS of 1912 117 was it also wonderfully rich and even more protean. The characteristics a Hindemith school were interminable 9/8 move- Since I have already expressed my reservations about Jeux I consider the musical substance too poor for the musical working-out perhaps I should now say why I value it. with the establishment of so-called "neoclassicism" fif- — Schoenberg's. and Five and so does Wozzeck. for all its great merits. curiously. their "unexpected" accents." though I mean that only in relation to my own development . already an indication of the onset of or. these three "neo- were ascendant. Jeux discovers a whole new world of nuance — — and fluidity. their diatonic "lines. their ostinatos. This is still the so- period of exploration and discovery. at least Pierrot Webern's songs with instruments belong to this period. And. for As my imitators. strong bar-line music). They were noted for their rhythms. need to now called. classic" schools Hindemith's. the ) dodecaphonic school. for its free-beat. as it is The Schoenberg. and my own Renard. of and the Symphonies Wind Instruments.

and I must cultivate my own garden. whereas the stereo microphones which hear a live orchestra for us are sometimes as live much apart as sixty feet.. it is already apparent.Il8 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES its ments. We do not hear performances stereophonically.) In this so far new period of Boulez's exploration the only significant work is still he Marteau sans Maitre (1954). omnipresent seat. the Appalachian.S. and stereo —instead of giving us "the best seat in the house"— is. with them the ideal of a thin.C. and would you of it comment on the use in present recording technique? /. but these three were principal and paramount. They derive from the Webern cantatas in substance and style but are more complex in texture. and the music of Webern in general. But enough of soothsaying: I am a composer myself. a kind of nonexistent. Other schools existed. of course —the Broadway. both as com- poser and performer. The next work in this succession. and mix composed with improvised elements. for an orchestra doesn't sound stereo- . neoclassic line disappears. STEREOPHONY R. endless fourths. ( Nor is it a seat in the orchestra. Boulez's cantatas are representative of this new music of the immediate postwar. the arriere. exploit acoustical mirror effects. in fact. Our two ears are about six inches apart. however. therefore. All three schools had come to a stalemate. must utilize musico-electronic means. What does stereophony mean to you. etc.garde. and its fugues with subjects at least thirty-two bars long. the Neo-Neanderthal (Orff). ( In fact. when at the end of the war in 1945 a new period of ex- ploration and revolution began precisely with the redis- covery of the masterpieces of 1912.

to follow the equivalent of an "Arrow" score— that to jump to the violins on their entrance. This Ping-pong effect in certain kinds of musicWagner's. Stereophonic separation. and as such it is in it my has important consequences. For one thing. is therefore quite alien to his musical intentions. with space. or relief. But any purely harmonic music—music that depends on fusion and balance—will suffer from too much focus on its individual parts. and we are even ful when bits of interior construction are suddenly ex- posed..SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS phonic to Fidelity to sense. or swerve in an acoustical spotlight toward the trombones on theirs. it lig itself. for example— can be a disturbing distortion deed. Wagner's musical-acoustical idea in it in- Bayreuth was of orchestral to fuse the orchestra. where I have been more conscious of The stereo principle that the distance the switch from one speaker to another than of the space between. to bring as close together as possiits illusion ble." ever. but to question the meaning of "high can be in another sense what? But though stereo may be unreal ideal. stereophonic recording should be able to fuse and balance. for the very reason that music is poly-phonic. to existing concert halls: a challenge how can we continue to prefer an inferior reality (the concert hall) to ideal stereophony? between the speakers is the "microphone.) I say this not to criticize stereo. On this the other hand. of course. but in practice we often feel as though we are being made is.e. can be heard from different degrate- aural perspectives. when details of part writing are brought into . In principle." instead of the microphone itself. is still too imperfectly demonstrated by most recordings I have heard. Some polyphonic music does not pend on round harmonic balances. i. distortion of this sort does not ruin certain kinds of polyphonic music. howfidelity.

music in which the stereophony has been composed rather than engineered. must sometimes be isolated by panels. the stereo fault. "direction" therefore seems to me as do in good a word as "distance" to describe the stereo effect. At another level. Mozart's Not- turno for Four Orchestras. which makes ensemble playing almost impossible." by reseating the orI chestra. I find myself looking in the direction of the sound. op. ration of orchestral In spite of expect that all my I reservations about stereo. however. composers will soon come to see that stereo obliges them to construct a more interesting "middle dimension" in their music.. also. but do know somesatis- thing about the difficulties conductors experience in fying the demands of stereo microphones during recording sessions. rather ) creating distance and separation by ''building" it "in. At one level this ( amounts to the exploitation of the stereo effect i. etc. Stereophonic separation used to require a sepa- and choral performers. or the cori spezzati of the Venetians. seems to me to exploit the "distance factor" and to anticipate the new stereophonic idea. for example. for a work like his Variations for Orchestra. as Cinerama. Stereophony has already influenced composed music too. I when am accustomed to it— to its much . or perhaps an especially resonant drum. I would also include in this category most of Webem. solo singers or groups of singers.120 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES effect of Stereophony also enables us to hear the true many kinds of "rear stereophonic music. I cannot contribute very much on the subject of present I stereophonic recording techniques.e. and the various groups of separated instrumentalists and singers are sometimes greatly handicapped in hearing each other.) Stock- hausen's Gruppen and Boulez's Doubles are examples of this influence. 30. (When I listen to this sort of music.

1919. . Cocteau. myself. by Picasso. Picasso. Antibes. 1926.of Sketch for the cover my Ragtime. Olga Picasso.

1949. ^ My drawing of Robert Craft. Soma Delaunay. Boris Kochno. Manuel de Falla. myself. f * r . drawn by me. i r i Madrid. March. with a bar of Les Noces sounding in his ear. 1921. Robert Delaunay. 1921.A 4 V *> % I. . Left to right. J 1 \ i • f\ \ V a w / j Diaghilev. Diaghilev. Barocchi (the husband of Lopokova).

ourtesy of Life magazine. lollywood. hotographs by King Vidor./ith Charles Chaplin.) . 1937.

W. With Madame Stravinsky. and a musician. Robert Craft. Bologna. La Scala. September. Auden. 1951. 1959.First orchestra rehearsal of The Rake's Progress. H. Chester Kallman. .

us by no will). why no good artist is very happy when may not resemble the past at past." fathers to sons. Tradition is generic. left in to its really remarka- ble ability to clarify orchestral doublings (which were probably better the dark).SOME MUSICAL QUESTIONS greater volume 121 and dynamic range. Notre heritage nest precede d'aucun testament left to (Our heritage was This is. and reborn. but the root thee. the artist feels his "heritage" as the grip of a very strong pair of pincers. am merely very prudent with the word. I think. to its ability to create the distance between a close instrument and a faraway instrument— I know thing else. work is described as "traditional.C. (Rene Char). matures. No. for it now seems his to imply "that which resembles the past"— the reason. incidentally. "true. R." of. however." In fact. not simply "handed down." At the same time. declines. These stages of growth and regrowth are always in contradiction to the stages of another con- cept or interpretation: true tradition lives in the contradiction. Do you have I a special theory or meaning for. the true tradition-making work and especially not the immediate which is is the only it one most people are able to hear. Paul: "Thou bearest not the root. but underlife goes a is process: it is born. perhaps. all. tradition? LS. I shall soon be unable to listen to any- TRADITION St. grows. .

.

nor do other sources describe the event if more fully— which is curious. cadenzas. vocalises a la Lakm4. To answer the second question first. Your Autobiography contains very information about the premiere of The Nightingale. and Tchaikovsky melodies too sweet and too cute even for that date. What do you remember its of the performance and reception. all after five years. to The "eclipse. to the great experienced in returning to the opera at especially after Le Sacre du Printemps. must be attributed to the fact that budgetary rather than artistic reasons. I have conducted The Nightingale in Los Angeles. ( can only attribute the musical style of parallel intervals." as you call it. is at least operatic. in spite of its very evident Debussyisms. pentatonic tunes. The present neglect of The Nightingale it must be performed in a and suitable companion pieces have been 1 Since these remarks were made. is in part due double bill.C. THE NIGHTINGALE ITS PREMIERE little R.S. I now find that Act I. and why was the produc- tion so quickly eclipsed? I. whereas the later acts are a kind of opera-pageant ballet I the later acts —the augmented seconds. ) orchestral devices difficulty I tremolos. etc. and during the war the Diaghilev company was too reduced in means to mount anything as complicated as an opera that for only forty-five minutes' playing time required three sets and many 1 costly costumes. only because The Nightingale followed the so-sensa- tional Sacre du Printemps. The Nightingale was introduced only a few weeks before the 1914 war. muted brass.Three Operas I. and .

but I am almost as convinced that Debussy I did not. and with Petroushka. for I heard nothing whatever from him about expected him to question it. Diaghilev programed well." Alexander Benois. . he probably would have said about that." and the "Nightingale. remember this well. "Young man. however. . in the sense that it The premiere was unsuccessful only failed to create a scandal. and though I knew he would have liked the Moussorgsky-Debussy beginning. And. especially. the performance was excellent. wanted roles. Incidentally. Monteux conducted capably. Hansel and Gretell). That Ravel liked am certain. to stage opera as is. The opera was sung in Russian. and Alexander Sanin was the metteur en seine.124 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES (when I difficult to find conducted it myself at La Scala in the nini. and that is all I remember about the premiere. thanks to sets. too. The singers. a piece of furniture together with my Petroushka was written at which was part of my grandfather's Biedermeier which might still be in our house in Oustiloug manuscripts and letters. reception. it were good. for I me I about the great difference between the music of Act and the later acts." On my last trip to Russia I remember reading a remark in my diary—I kept a diary from 1906 to 19102 —written when 2 Left in a steel safe desk. who designed the costumes and all was the most beautiful of my early Diaghilev works. Boris Romanov composed the dances. dancers miming the sung selves while the singers them- were nicely out of sight in the orchestra pit. all my music before this desk. scenically. particularly "Death. . thought. the "advanced" musicians I As I to its were genuinely enthusiastic— or so it. Musically and visually. 1920s— a performance efficiently prepared by Toscabill it incidentally—the other half of the was . went very he had with staged The Nightingale— that as opera-ballet. I do it better. Diaghilev always with it ballets.

3 I should record the fact. at any Sir rate. however. in must own that I saw him only very infrequently in the weeks after The Nightingale. 3 I and insisted that it was on this trip. Thirty-seven years later I visited his famous orange farm. He was in a wheel chair. and he paid me compliments for Petroushka. therefore. thanks also to the generosity of Thomas Beecham. met Frederick Delius. Benois was in Russia and I in Switzerland during the latter stages of the opera's planning and composition. My wife was ill with tubercu- and we moved to Leysin— to be near the sanatorium. though it may have been the year before. Benois was the conserva- I could not meet Benois. which was a misfortune. I had he great respect for Benois. In fact. Beecham introduced him to me. The London performances were probably better than the Parisian. that at the outbreak of war Beecham helped me with a payment of money which enabled my mother to return to Russia from Switzerland (by boat from Brindisi to Odessa). as The Nightingale's designer. not Benois. letters to I to describe the staging of the will publish Alexander Benois's me covering that period. too. I was still composing the music only a few months before the premiere.THREE OPERAS I I25 was composing the I first act of The Nightingale: "Why closely. He had come to Covent Garden to attend a performance of our Ballet. when the real was Moussorgsky?" But. should be following Debussy so Debussy. Lawrence's would-have-been Utopia. But rather than attempt original Nightingale. and Diaghilev tended to favor Roerich. in Florida. it though tive produced these letters. of the company. losis. D. because the singers and dancers would have had more time with their parts. The Nightingale was staged in a great hurry. as I spoke almost no English. and perhaps he simply had no opportunity to tell me his true originator of this operatic style justice to I impressions. and looked ghostly. think that I . I immensely enjoyed them. but. the conversation did not develop. and he but litde French. H.

has sold the and Serge. and since he has disappeared without a note. After discussing the Bach ballet with me in Baden. Besides the staging of the Goldoni I The Possessed5 writing for the spring season. Have you any news of our dissolute genius Serge? Valetchka. 1913 St. When do you think it will be ready for its run? I do not give up hope of doing it myself. I am passionately interested in The Nightingale. poor fellow). how sad that we are living so far apart. (cursing his fate. But I have heard nothing from him. . too. 5 A dramatic version of the novel of Dostoievsky. Benois's ideas were followed. an exact "in color" account of the actual staging. Serge the Devil knows where. the others are dispersed. and soon. I embrace you and I kiss the hand of dear 4 Walter Nouvel. company to an impresario. It would be a creative aphrodisiac for me. Petersburg Dear Igor Feodorovitch. and just these details would interest me enormously. My dear friend. write to me again.126 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES decorate my opera. but some details Roerich would probably not do. he was to have come to see me in Lugano and to have brought Ravel with him. I am inclined to believe those charming gossipers (their news has probably reached you too) millionairess who say that Vaslav married a Hungarian in his grief. My dear friend. and if you want some information I will be glad to help you. must also start to prepare and all this in addition to my History of Painting. I believe that Roerich would achieve something miraculous with it. and his suggestions in the fourth letter are. I promise to answer without delay. It seems to me that we could do great things together! And all But this way nothis ing will happen. in fact. September.4 also does not who went to Paris know anything.

Nijinsky was very attentively studying Bach with us. Some listen is people say everything in the Free Theater is perfect: that there plenty of money. and all connections between them are broken. madman who begged me and my 8 Montreux Palace Hotel when the and I had watched him turn into a wife not to leave him alone. However. It is possible that he had no idea of it then? Be kind and tell me one thing: was it a complete surprise for Serge. but if he did suffer I hope it was not too terrible for him. I was in Moscow and found your letter only on my return. The news about Nijinsky's marriage struck me like a thunderbolt.THREE OPERAS Catherina Gabrielovna. since I do not want to talk to a stranger like Svetlov. . and there was no hint then about the coming event. am sorry to be unable to fulfill your request completely. Benois evidently thought Nijinsky had married an Hungarian heiress. But why can't Nijinsky be both a ballet master and a Hungarian millionaire? 8 The whole story is such a phantasmagoria I sometimes think I have read it in a dream and am an idiot to believe I it. and I know of no one who can give me any information about it. or was he prepared for it? How deep was his shock? 7 Their romance was coming to an end. 7 I had been with Diaghilev in the news of Nijinsky's marriage came. The gossip I hear about it has been contradictory and I do not know what to believe. I imagine he must be completely bewildered in his position as head of the company. preparing the Bach ballet. and I doubt that he was reaDy heartbroken. but why: the two theaters have become rivals. that each invention is more amusing and 6 A well-known balletomane. When did it happen? None of our friends is here in town at the moment. 6 I saw Serge and Vaslav almost on the eve of Vaslav's departure for Argentina. 127 whom my wife sends her most cordial Your loving Alexander Benois St Petersburg 28th September 1913 Dear Igor Feodorovitch. to greetings.

10 1 libretto. and also a detailed libretto. .. I anything. I could start to study the play and just now comes this delay. I am very impatient for the opening. . send me immediately a second copy. The Moscow public will swallow it all. 9 but I would not promise it absolutely. But. however. The hall in the castle will be pink with dark blue and black. I kiss Catherina Gabrielovna's best wishes. staged by Myerhold and decorated by Golovine. I beg you not to insist on the colors. my God. seems. hand and send you With love. last at least are delighted by Mardjanov. I have my own ideas. . where I finished the composition of the opera. it will two years and that they will be able to stage The Nightingale. and I think the result will be good. good and bad alike. . I beg you.128 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES it ingenious than the one before. be- cause a venture as naive as that must at least result in something refreshing. is true). As soon as I have something more write you. in any case. etc. etc. especially after seeing Mitusov. and cannot find it. where is the music? Is it possible for 9 The Nightingale was produced at the Imperial Theatre in "Petrograd. of course. but others say he is personally think that. since Moscow knows no better and will devour etc. that two of the subscription nights are already sold out (this. I think also that they will do a mixture.. Some people impossible. Alexander Benois St. Petersburg ist January 1Q14 Dear Igor Feodorovitch. some interesting things and much merde. I am longing for The Nightingale. I write in a hurry as I am just leaving Moscow. etc. For the last two hours I have looked everywhere for your letter with the description of the sets ( and the enumeration of the characters). I who gave me his impressions after Warsaw." January 1916. I had been with Mitusov in Warsaw to discuss The Nightingale was on my way from Russia to Switzerland. 10 definite I will embrace you.

including eight small children. I am constructing the procession as follows: seven female dancers dressed in gold. Write to me c/o Moscow Art Theater. surrounded closely by dignitaries who hold five parasols above Him! You wanted a palanquin. and then the Emperor appears. (I flatter myself. Although your so-obstinate silence shows that you do not wish to talk to me at all. and hope that the real reason for your silence is not a change of your feelings toward me. but every procession has one. is this: what am I to do with the procession? You wanted a palanquin and you wanted the Emperor "inserted" in the throne. but circumstances which have enveloped you as much as they have me. Your Alexander Benois P. have to work without this main source of inspiration and without your personal promptings? Goodness. the train! 1! I embrace you cordially. Come! Moscow 15th February 1Q14 Dear Igor Feodorovitch. seven female dancers dressed in silver. the throne is put on a scaffold. 12 A marvelous ideal But how do you visualize the following combination: the throne is carried by a whole crowd of people. and this is new. however. Emperor will be white with blue. there will be a lot 01 pink and green in the costumes. one male dancer and one female dancer very luxuriously 11 Sic. I am obliged to bother you to clarify a few points. Kammergersky Drive. The hall of the In general.THREE OPERAS that I will 120.S. 11 On the other hand. 12 My idea was to have the Emperor fixed on his throne like a doll. See Letter 3. But what keeps me from finishing the sketch of this setting and of the set in this tableau in general. .

and two white boys with swords. and see until this finally. monsters. or everything will go to hell. The curtains are then . and five black boys with swords. first of all. is After this comes the court (the chorus first already on the stage) appear two white-costumed mandarins. His Majesty. and black). which I ask you to mark with the basic tempi. I beg you to send me the details of the staging immediately. gold. when every hour is precious. send Until me I this The final word is with you. whom no- moment because of the parasols The procession closes with two guards ( who take a standing of guards position at the foot of the throne. Is it absolutely impossible for you to come here? Now. separated from the bedroom by a big curtain (covering the whole stage: red. all this party participating in a symbolic pantomime. but now it is simply impossible. This is supremely important (the music will explain what I shall not understand in the text). I would prefer to have the piano score. word immediately. all this? I How come can we see each other to discuss wanted to to Berlin for a meeting. then— a totally black Grand Master of the Court. then— two gray-costumed mandarins. and with them three dancers. This curtain is first drawn back and we see a majestic bedroom at night and in moonlight. yellow. Do you see now what I mean? But perhaps you want something quite different. but for God's sake.130 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES costumed. The same land can walk in front. I shall have your exact instructions not start the defini- tive work. Perhaps an even more important question concerns the last act. then— the Chief Chamberlain with the Nightingale. the throne. How do you see it yourself? And. I imagine it like this: a kind of antechamber. and the libretto itself. Think only how many days will be wasted. and just now. Then comes body could hiding him. but probably it is far from finished. about the decor in front is of the third act. or be ready on the stage in the beginning.

" But the best thing to do. 31. It is I am in a great rush. Petersburg l/fth-ijth February 1Q14 Dear Igor Feodorovitch. . would be to answer the main points by telegram. I will limit artistic feelings. However. if not. my ears. and now in St. For God's sake. Admirals' Canal. and on the envelope write. "Trdne en scene. a Sacrum in all its splendor (many windows. Nor do I know if Koussevitsky conducted it correctly. "In case of absence please forward the letter my dear. immediately. unable to hear The success. I embrace you. alas. then in a few words: "Emperor en palanquin*. One of these days I expect to hear Koussevitsky conduct he Sacre du Printemps. and the am burning with impatience to embrace you. all kiss Catherina Gabrielovna's hand and wish with father.S. Alexander Benois P. for which reason myself to business and avoid speaking about my already a whole continues week that I have been living with the sounds of he Sacre du Printemps in cow and it again. Petersburg. I my heart happiness for the happy newborn baby. and 13 My daughter. 131 at the end. St.). because I am still completely bewildered by it.THREE OPERAS closed and Cubiculum etc. It started in MosPetersburg. in spite of the first hundred because people who walked out after the part. If you are in agreement with all: "Approuve tout". hurry with an answer. am sad when I think that for a long time I this music. in defiance of Paris. I say "alas" the audience applauded in advance. I am longing to hear shall be about which I cannot even say if it is good or great." etc. Maria Milena. again opened for us to see. 13 the mother. we have our impressions of it. Something of this kind. Write me to St. it What do you I think of it? Perhaps you have conceived quite differently? I implore you to answer. a gigantic bed. was rather big.

132 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES Wagner. She sends you and dear Catherina Gabrielovna. Business! Business! My dear. (Do not carry your head too high. but. and whether good or bad. thinking the Emperor dead. but why not have them sitting on the bed or showing their ugly faces through the curtain of the bed— I do not yet know myself exactly how to do it ). and do not draw conclusions. is left. with the bird's last notes. Anna Karlovna 14 had a sore throat and could not be present at the Sacre. I am afraid such a thing can happen again. hissed I it violently is also a consolation. Rachmaninov. I am very glad that Nurok liked it. Then. whom we both love with all our hearts. is The that next scene. and Stravinsky all equally. a bed with a canopy. Beethoven. but I love the first of these names and very much dislike most of the others. however. The it is set for the second tableau is already done. wishes* our greetings and best Devotedly yours. ) A success with such an audience is nauseating. a huge bedroom with a few windows flooded by moonlight. single file). babble too much. and that the Rimsky-Korsakov clan also because that audience applauds Bach. ghosts ( Serge does not want ghosts. thought the ending of the Sacre perhaps too abrupt—lacking in the feeling of finality. . I cannot say because I have no time to look at it again. Do not sunlight for the I listen to that monster Serge. Alexander Benois 14 His wife. you must know better. in front of the stage curtain. a catafalque through which Death leaves (not through the window. Day breaks during the Nightingale's song. People who saw the stage performance say that it is even more noticeable there. so when the curtain goes up the bedroom can be flooded by Emperors "Bonjour & tous. I who has a mania to cut and will cut until nothing await your confirmation of the plans." Apropos this finale. the courtiers. the court. ceremoniously close the curtains (the courtiers walk onstage. what about the following combination: in the beginning. of course. or any changes that have to be made. the catafalque must melt in front of you—is such a trick possible?).

At any rate. and I think it would be better to forget this "manual for Russian schoolboys. I had proposed a collaboration with Benois to make a comic piece for the theater.S. it is not worth while spending time on Prootkov. please give my greetings to your charming wife. I hear. and again wish you everything that is good. where I did the decors and sets for The Nightingale. clever. I know nothing about the Free Theater beyond what has been written in the newspapers. three well-known Russian poets of the and the brothers Jemchooshnikov.-Jean-de-Luz Hotel de la Porte 23rd July 1914 My dear friend. Since I came back from Moscow. Kozma Prootkov is funny. probably.S. I have had no conversation with anybody. foolish. or the real art of laughter of Gogol and Dostoievsky. but I cannot manage a single one. Sanin will stay with Suhodolsky and will stage operettas. dear Igor Feodorovitch. And. My family all praise The Nightingale but how can one believe one's family? P. and from time to time extremely talented. 133 sets. Alexei Tolstoy Prootkov. and I Goldom s Tavern Keeper. I embrace you devotedly. I do not see real wit in Prootkov's too long and naive—in the bad sense— salad of parody. I really do not like Kozma Prootkov. 6 St. once more." this imaginary name. in my opinion. that Mardjanov found another idiot willing to give money and that he wants to ruin this new idiot by introducing spectacles of dramatic action. I am so deep in have no time to read or to learn anything. to some verses and a little play from Kozma this 15 Under 1860s. your letter puzzled me so much I have gone around composing answers to it for the last five days.P. So. however. wrote a book of humorous and nonsensical verse that was very popular in Tsarist Russia.THREE OPERAS P. . I do not understand the gigantic importance he assumes in Russian literature and in Russian life. but the book never shows a really strong sense of humor. 15 or rather. a kind of Renard. I see no one.

Your rapture over it perplexed me and I wished with all my heart to feel the same. but cold water is not so bad if it comes at the proper time and if you have a towel handy. will find response in his soul to what Jemchooshnikov and Tolstoy fabricated. who is underrated and who. something that will not spoil it. at least. Sudeikine. Nevertheless. . I opinion. With love and kisses for you both. I read the book from the first page to the last (by the way. because it gave me great pleasure). for instance. My dear. dear. Alas. and I was left a cold fish. Alexander Benois 16 Russian humorous magazines. If my douche was mistimed and you catch cold. this did not happen. and I would be unhappy indeed if my opinion were to disconcert you. that Kozma Prootkov I as seen Though I hold to my by Stravinsky Also. please forgive me. but my truth is not absolute. I am very worried about the impression this "coldwater" letter will make on you and your muse. I am sure will start to live a new and wonderful music— (and life. 16 Laughter must be different now.134 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES copybook for our Satirikon and Boodilnik. I thank you for it. start work. more swiftly than I. If so. But perhaps you should choose another painter. funnier and more terrible. am sure that listening to your believe in every note) I shall be able to catch your feelings and create something worthy of your music—or. I decided to be frank and to tell you the truth. Perhaps you find something where I see only emptiness.

made his negative attitude all the more surprising. PERSEPHONE Andre Gide. We met for the first time in 1910. like an oyster.S. I took my place directly was very behind Monteux to avoid a show of partiality for either of the feuding composers. like an oyster. but for me to talk about such a man myself is difficult indeed. you knew him? Gide is a complicated subject in any case. incidentally. He had had to to be prised open. (But I was too busy with he Sacre to be aware of anyone besides Debussy he was already an established writer.II. Whether he came to those of he Sacre du Printemps. who were not then on speaking terms and who sat on opposite sides of the house. To what fact a collaboration? And. he could I think to hear someone him could comment on the accuracy of the description. I knew him by reputation. though to and Ravel. Your Autobiography did not reveal the circumstances of your collaboration with extent was Persephone as in Gide was one of your first you describe him I. of course: his fame was come much later. for.C. amiable about he Sacre at the rehearsals. If I I wrong place. would R. After that I saw him from time to time at Ballet rehearsals. and he was not less so personally. Debussy. as acquaintances in Paris. I do not know. however. and the were priser remember not else describe to put his fingers in the bite. which later. . in Misia Sert's rooms at the Hotel Meurice.

it As tually for Persephone. She was also an "original. performance of Debussy's Le Martyre de SSbastien with her and d'Annunzio. A ( dance-mime role would have to be created for her. to An- tony and Cleopatra. in Shakespeare's plays should be Shakespearean. I wished to repeat the music here and asked Gide to compose collaboration. Ida Rubinstein had asked to me to read and tion meet Gide to discuss the possibility of a collabora- based upon it. Gide approached me with a project to compose incidental music for his translation of Antony and Cleopatra. but Gide did not understand what I meant. (as." as she proved already in her eighteenth year by hiring a . and that even Purceirs Shakespearean pieces should be performed only with a style of production appropriate to PurcelTs period. and way than he was. Mme. first in Paris in 1910. I I. I had known her since my arrival and attended the St. I replied that the musical style would depend on the style of the whole production.136 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES after Some months he Sacre. I still believe. additional verses was scene to ask 2. I am talking about musical style. I hardly think can be called a The only parts of the libretto we had acworked on together were the children's choruses. veristically. when I suggested that the production be in modern dress. His Persephone was an early work and quite to unknown it me. I Rubinstein was an actress and woman of great wealth. that the music i. he was shocked— and deaf nearer him in every to my arguments that we would be nearer Shakespeare by inventing something new. later. but the only stipulation.e. period music. in her box.. by the way. of course. of Auden for a second set of choruses in Act the Rake). Later. "modern" music plays. of course. is justified only in "modern" versions of the (Sound effects— electronic music— are something apart. and. a we understood that to be Mme.

It does not matter where. She says that if it seduces you also. you will agree to work with me for her. Andre Gide . I could join you Wednesday. for a symphonic ballet. A word from you would call me to Berlin or elsewhere to talk to you about it— and the sooner the better. Petersburg to 137 Moscow. which would save my coming to Berlin. full of Amicalement. Gide reconstructed and rewrote the original book after this meeting. The thought of attaching my name to your name in a work that has been close to my heart for a very long time fills me with extreme pride and joy. who is very enthusiastic and who would like to do the settings." 1 bis rue Vaneau Pans VII 20th January ig^3 My dear friend. ) Gide came to Wiesbaden to see me in 1933. where I could then join you. and hope. I will dine Monday the 23rd at Ida's with Sert. This moment Ida Rubinstein telephones me to say that you expect to reach the south of France soon. She has been seduced by an idea. and what is the number?).THREE OPERAS private train to take her from St. We read his original Persephone together and decided at once on the device of the speaker and on the three-part form. Ida Rubinstein has asked me to write to you. which I have just submitted to her. A word from you or a telegram to Ida Rubinstein or to me would tell us where to telephone you Monday evening between nine and ten o'clock (dont forget the difference in time. These are some of the letters I received from Gide during of her Paris garden so that all the flowers our "collaboration. I often saw Gide at her Paris home. And perhaps you will come through Paris. beds She had commissioned Bakst to arrange the flower were in trays and the whole garden could be changed every few weeks.

But this idea of starting with the Autumn (however seductive it may be as an idea for beginning the descent of Proserpina into Hell) cannot be maintained. I you of the excellent impressions I have from our meeting in Wiesbaden.138 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES 8th February 2933 My dear friend.) She is the purest personification of the I that Spring. As you will feel for yourself. She is the way in which you understood the subject as the celebration of a mystery. and the feeling of the seasonal cycle is indispensable to our melodrama. and you will see why when you read the Hymn to Demeter. let me tell me am sure that we will find in her our best support in the struggle with he may be. All my efforts will be toward contains the maintaining the nobility of this exaltation throughout my text. the Greek year had only three seasons. I told Mme. I am now working in this direction. whoever extremely pleased with what I told her about send you an edition of the Odyssey ( in translation ) that Homeric hymns. Proserpina has nothing to do with Autumn. It is the last of these hymns (to Demeter) which inspired me. Rubinstein that our understanding was perfect. was much moved by what you said to me in Wiesbaden: it will be interesting to mark and to fix the change of seasons. the subject itself is halfway between a natural interpretation (the rhythm of the seasons. Without all. the corn falling in the soil must die to be resurrected through the sleep of winter ) and a mystical interpretation. It would be cheating the Greek myth too outrageously. First of brought back with exaggeration. I will even the most exacting designer. . and that you want to remove from the libretto what I was at first tempted to put in: episodic bits— as though for a kind of divertissement. and I do not doubt that you will find in it the same extraordinary exaltation which I found myself when I read it the first time. this way the myth is connected at the same time with both the ancient Egyptian cults and Christian doctrine. ( Besides.

and songs. and I will listen with attention to your criti- cisms. I consider the text as definitive only in so far as it suits you. Andre Gede Var Grand Hotel Le Lavandou 24th February 1033 My dear Igor. full of hope and expectations. etc. if the text seems to you it too short for the musical development. I could I fear that this scene will ( the meet- ing with Eurydice). Andre Gide . "like a am working dog" for you. The part of the speaker (Eumolpus. Rubinstein seems to be very pleased. By now you should have received the sketch of the first scene. What is most important to me is to know. to Mme. make it too to add this scene. too. Very affectionately yours. want you all be pleased. This short note to welcome your return to I Voreppe. I decided. The same with the second scene. it will probably be necessary to place the chorus in the orchestra pit or to one side of the stage front: this will have to be studied. how much time this first scene will of recitation. the founder ) and first officiating priest of the Eleusinian mysteries should be played by a baritone. which I gave to be typed today and which you will receive very soon ( in one or two days). completely episodic as it is.THREE OPERAS The plan of the first 139 It consists scene will follow in two days. Wishing you fruitful work. Mme. the bass-est bass possible. Therefore. I am. take. which you said would be on the 25th. Rubinstein says it is impossible for the chorus to dance or for the dancing nymphs to sing. and the chorus by women s voices only. Even the character of Eurydice. after my plan. long. remarks. as now seems I me. Very attentively and cordially yours. at your invitation. the part of Pluto by a bass. dances. As you will see. however. to exclude everything anecdotal. suggestions.

I shake your hand. however. for example. Parle-nous. Encore is written (in poetry) either with or without the final e. as I have it. "I fell the old man. Excuse this delay." whereas it should be accented Ego senem cecidi and mean. I found your letter yesterday evening coming back from a small trip in Belgium. Amicalement. parle-nous encor Persephone perfectly possible without "e" (and so would satisfy your wish for two syllables ) but the verse would have only eleven feet because we do not count the final syllable as a foot if it is is . I propose—ad libitum—for the second verse: Parle encor Parle encor. Andre Gide work Happy to know you are working well. There are at least two explanations is for Gide's dislike of my Persephone music. a silent e It u . means. and which the my ideal texts to be syllable poems.* seems to me that according to the musical indication you gave me. . though he advance that I would stretch and as I had Russian. which is better than my previous proposal. depending on the requirements of the rhythm and the rhyme." This can be corrected in performance. princesse Persdphone. but remains awkward. in 1 1 will admit. and Buson.I40 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES 1 bis rue Vaneau Paris VII 8th August 1Q33 My dear Igor. The line Ego senem cecidi in Oedipus Rex accented on the ce. princesse Persephone would perfectly. Parle encor Parle encor. that my habits of musical accentuation have misled meaning in at least one instance. One that the musical accentua- tion of the text surprised had been warned in 1 stress and otherwise "treat'* French though he understood the haiku of Basho and displeased him. "I killed the old man.

cest trds curieux. Shortly after the premiere he sent of the me a copy newly published I libretto with the dedication "In coinmunion. we were really angry with each other even then. A play of his was then being staged in the Petit Theatre Des Champs-Elysees. you will not put in doubt my affection for you and my admiration for your work. Persephone! Or do you harbor some other grievance against me that I do not know of? As in I have no grievance of any kind against you. but this shouldn't have prevented him from hearing at least one performance of Persephone. in the famous catechism scene between Togashi and Benkei. J did not see him." and disappear ward as possible. because I did not attend the rehearsals of your. held over the bar lines. The other explanation follow to 2 141 their is simply that he could not I first my musical speech. but I do not deed. I hope. When played the music him at Ida Rubinstein's all he would say was. I will continue my ardent friendship for you. and the syllables grouped into rhythmic quantities that tend to obscure sense. his last letter to me is in reply to that. Here." answered that "communion" was exactly what we had not had. . of our. the verbs are syn- 2 Since my own in the copated. He did not attend the rehearsals. a verse dialogue I did not have to understand to enjoy as music. so to speak. Andre Gide We think did not meet again after Persephone. "Cest as soon after- curieux. nonetheless. 1 bis rue Vaneau 1Q34 28th May My dear Stravinsky. I am told.THREE OPERAS words do not impose strong tonic accentuation of own. Inhow could I be angry for long with a man of so honesty? making these remarks I much treatment similar to have witnessed an instance of word Kanjincho play (Kabuki Theater). and if he was present at any of the performances.

I very often like eau distille. and on this subject he was his without peer. was his "reason": all he did or said had to be reasoned. Apart from Pushkin and was religion. However." And verbal precision such as he had is always enviable. for then the conversation would always revert to the French language. his favorite conversational subject .142 If I MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES could distinguish between Gide's talent and his it writing. with Valery. I considered the Voyage au Congo the best of his books. and indeed about everything Russian. and he would sometimes call on me in my Paris apartment to talk to me about the Russian poet. would be to proclaim a preference for the latter. too. But he was at his best in company." he would say. or Claudel. too. "It is better to reason. I had returned to the Orthodox Church in 1926 ( I became a communicant then for the first time since 1910 and comRussia. Victor Hugo. And his criticism could and did illuminate. in October. but did not care for either the spirit or the approach in his fiction: he was not grand enough as a creator to make us forget the sins of his nature— as Tolstoy can make us forget the sins of his nature. He called on I me in Berlin. as he seldom talked about work my relations with him were smooth in this respect." That he had wit is evident from his reply when asked to name the greatest French poet: "Helas. is though the writing. His limitation. an occa- sion also remember because of Hindemith's having its bravely bawled out the Berlin Radio Orchestra after playing of bad my new violin concerto. he was at least inside the art he criticized. I thought. Though Gide was not a conspicuously loving critic. "than to make an enthusiastic mistake. Gide was fascinated by Pushkin. 1931. I would have esteemed him if only for that. or Ramuz. with the result that he lacked enthusiasm and could find no sympathy for all the vast unreasonableness in man and art.

and he must have wished to become even more so by dressing like a petit bourgeois. When he spoke. an a cappella Pater Noster3 ) for his views and was not a good quarry ism. In accordance with liturgical tradition and in view of the Eastern Church's fiat prohibiting the use of 31 musical instruments (even of a pitch pipe!). I heard the Pater Noster for the first time in the Russian Church in the Rue Dam. an Ave Maria and a Credo. him in appearance. And the one physical characteristic of his I can remember is also negative.THREE OPERAS posed my first 143 religious work. by surprise. but I have respected for his proselytizing Protestant- him more than I have some of the Catholic Pharisees I who ridiculed him. the music is a simple harmonic intonation of the words. later. only his lips and mouth moved: his body and the rest of his face remained perfectly immobile and expressionless. at the funeral of a cousin. revising the Ave Maria somewhat in the process. wouldn't I have been more open with him myself? do not know how to describe for use in the Russian composed the Pater Noster and. In 1949 I prepared a Latin version of all three pieces. He also smiled a little smile which I thought ironic and which may or may not have been— though I thought it was— a sign of inner torment. . Orthodox Church. Paris. But if I had not known so much about Gide. He was quite undistinguished.

struction of the opera? 7.III. I ever since my arrival in the chose Auden on the recommendation of Aldous Huxley: at that time commentary for the film scribed to Huxley the kind of verse opera I wished to write. readily susceptible to such a suggestion. H. and the sequences of musical numbers were conceived and planned by you together with Auden? What are your present thoughts about the style and conthe scenes. good friend and neighbor knew of his work was the "Night Train. Hogarth's "Rake's Progress" paintings. He replied as follows: . which I saw in 1947 on a chance visit to the Chicago Art Institute. for I had wanted to compose an English-language opera United States. in October. I was.S. telling him my "Rake's Progress" idea. Auden as the librettist of your How much of the plot and how many of the charac- the subject and opera? ters. R. immediately suggested a series of operatic scenes to me. however. 1947. THE RAKE'S PROGRESS How did you come to choose the "Rake's Progress" as W. he assured me Auden was the poet with whom I could write it." When I had deall I my Accordingly.C. of I wrote Auden.

I received where we could work together. I hope you can read to type. there I have an idea. not the other way round.Y. need hardly say that the chance of working with you is the greatest honor of my life. I should be most grateful if you could let me have any ideas you may have formed about characters. know how different this is when the words acts. plot. I think the Asylum finale he is to play the through the story? fiddle then. 145 7 Cornelia Street York 14. Wystan Auden do not P. and (b) it is the librettist's job to satisfy the composer. it is a terrible nuisance being thousands of miles apart. the eighteenth-century style I would of course de- mand rhyme but set. Do you want the arias to be finally written in free verse or only as a basis for discussing the actual form they should take? If they spoken. which As you say. .. I know how I then invited him to come to my home in California. Unfortunately. but we must do the best we can. sounds excellent. N. if do you want the fiddle to run You speak of a and ensembles were are I "free verse preHminary. my writing. Thank you very much arrived this morning. Stravinsky. for instance. that between the two should be a choric parabasis as in Aristophanes. S. which may be ridiculous. but. As (a) you have thought about the Rake's Progress for some time. On 24th October the following telegram from him: MANY THANKS FOR WIRE AND GENEROUS OFFER SHAMEFACEDLY ACCEPTED SUGGEST LEAVING NEW YORK NOVEMBER TENTH IF CONVENIENT FOR YOU WYSTAN AUDEN . etc. 12th October 1947 for your letter of October 6th.THREE OPERAS New Dear Mr. Yours very sincerely.

Progress. step by step. bloodhound on our front porch we knew he was realized that going to be a very gentle and lovable bloodhound. intellectual when we saw (before an hour had elapsed. however superintellectual) anxious enough.. he would explain verse forms fascinated See Appendix. his feet. and a bass. however. and deciding that these people should be a tenor. a studio couch. 1 is not radically different from the published Auden When 1 and delighted me more every day. We also tried to co-ordinate the plan of action with a provisional plan of musical pieces. cowskin rug. . we were not working. "Let's see. ah . we pro- ceeded to invent a series of scenes leading up to the final scene in Bedlam that was already fixed in our minds.. in Russian. arias. now ah-ahsee . .. . we we hadn't been He slept with his body on the couch and covered by a blanket pinioned with books. . let's Auden kept saying. We followed Hogarth closely at first and until our own story began to assume a different significance. ah . Starting with a and a villain.I46 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES arrived at night. . a me from an Argentine My wife had been anxious that our only extra bed.. like the victim of a more humane and reason- able Procrustes." and I the equivalent . a heroine. ah . blond. Mother Goose and the Ugly Duchess were Auden's contributions. but this big. . but the plot and the scheme of action were worked out by the two of us together. and choruses. Early the next morning. carrying a small gift for He bag and a huge friend. we began work on The Rakes hero. but after ten days we had completed an outline li- which bretto. of course.. on a nearby chair. might not be long enough for him.. ensembles. primed by coffee and whisky. a soprano.

The latter had it. examples— I still he was even eloquent on such matters." 'Tristan and Isolde were unloved only children. when stops caring about dress.THREE OPERAS to me. of versification. alas. in black magic ( as it is described in Charles Williams's novels). He was forever putting forth tions: Scholastic or psycho-analytic proposi- "Angels are pure intellect. and logic. sub specie ludi. He would on steady rudders not super(I of reason stitious. if beliefs— in graphology. I still remember some little of the things he said on that first visit— though not. fulfilling his he was almost too conscientious in everyday demo- . ready been drawn. Another." Pelleas had "alarming tricho- maniac tendencies. though more apparent him was his display of good citizenship. The making of poetry he seemed to regard albeit to as a game. in categories of temperaat night) ment than ( I was a "Dionysian" if I happened to work contradiction in in preordination. was and be the custodian of All his con- versation about Art was. and. as he considered its rules. However lofty his criticism of Society. the souvenir of an evening in Venice). so to speak. his exact words. put him in a passion. al- be played in a magic circle. for example. real. yet profess to curious. in fate. I was puzzled his at first by what I took to be contradictions sail in personality. Auden's to redefine task. almost as quickly as he could write. 147 compose have a specimen sestina and some light verse that he scribbled off for my wife-and any technical question." "The sign of a man's is loss of when he it is ceases to care about punctuality" power (Auden she himself lived says by the clock—"I am hungry only if the clock time to eat") "and of the woman's. in astrology. for instance have a graphological chart with an analysis of his writing." These too were— so they seemed —part of the game. in the telepathic powers of cats.

and on so many others. on Yeats. from Groddeck to de Tocqueville. perhaps. We took him to a doctor. was also. Few people have taught me as much. One day he complained of pressure in his ears. I recall only two events of his visit. began to appear in our library. Nor do I confine his influence on me to literature. The following came from Auden after his return to New York. the letters . he is one of the few moralists whose Auden's mind was didactic. "Not for course—I quite understood the point involved—but because the housewife revenge"). We also attended a two-piano per- formance of Cost Fan Tutti together— an omen. for me anyway.148 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES He would even serve on juries ( cratic duties. and after he left. who removed large wax globes from each ear. books he had talked about. been collected?). He were motivated purely by was properly and justly outraged by us for jurists it our failure to vote. of having stalled one for two weeks. he always seemed to me more profound as a moralist—indeed. happily heuristic. his I remember Justice. but tone I can bear. for Rake is deeply involved in Cost. for however good his literary criticism ( and why haven't his pieces on Santayana. Auden was intrigued by this and kept referring to the "extraordinary little creatures" that had been harboring in his auditory canals. apart from our work.

And finally. and a relation- ship alarmingly like that in Flaubert's Felicite existed between them. Act I. this morning. forty parrots and lovebirds time—was the special favorite of Evgenia Petrovna. I an account of my stewardship. after a week of your luxurious cuisine. . N. and shall look forward with impatience to the next time we meet Greetings to Vassily. et la note pastorale nest pas interrompue Je crois que ca sera mieux lieu 2 Vassily was our cat. flight The The transferred to an American Airlines local silly letters to answer-<a job I loathe. (b) Called Miss Bean. parce que comme ga. would have tried the patience of a stage curate.. Heinsheimer. Mme. the "illness-loving Fraulein" Evgenia Petrovna. The only consolation is the pleasure of my writing you this bread-and-butter letter (how do you say that in Russian?). I was which left at 7:00 a. Mme. as usual. 1.m. of course. First. another friend and neighbor. The meals. si cest un oncle inconnu du hero au de son pere qui meurt. thanks to you both. I loved every minute of my stay. 2 Yours ever.THREE OPERAS New Dear Mrs. P. stopped everywhere and reached New York at 4 a. Popka. Wystan Auden Could you give the enclosed note to the maestro? [Enclosed note]— Du Syllabiste—Au compositeur Cher Igor Stravinsky Memo. la richesse est tout a fait imprevue. I got back here to a pile of journey was a nightmare. so you can imagine what I felt. our parrot at that —we had is our housekeeper. Das krankheitliebendes Fraulein. Sokolov.Y.m. Sokolov was the wife of the actor and a dear friend and neighbor. Popka. 149 7 Cornelia Street York 14. the Baroness was Catherine d'Erlanger. etc. Sc. 20th November 1^47 Stravinsky. (c) Called Mr. have (a) Posted the letter to the Guggenheim Foundation.S. was cancelled. La Baroness des Chats.

and the entire second scene. Auden telegraphed: 24 January 1948 MANY THANKS FOR WIRE WILL MAIL ACT TWO MONDAY DO NOT WORRY ABOUT EXCESSIVE LENGTH WHICH CAN BE CUT AD LD3 WHEN WE MEET HOPE YOU COME IN MARCH BEFORE I LEAVE APRIL SEVENTH WYSTAN AUDEN fact. and the entire second scene. 16th January 2948 New Dear Igor Stravinsky. pas un oncle. En ce cas. Herewith Act I. I can't tell I was so frightened that you what a pleasure it is to collaborate with you. and the card-guessing game in scene two. and everyone Yours ever. Stravinsky With warmest remembrances else. Salut au making" * 7 Cornelia Street York 14. la girl possedera un pere. As you will see. the first scene of Act III ( except for the offstage lines 8 Chester Kallman.150 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES le par douteur. I have taken in a collaborator. I've marked places where cuts in the text can be easily made if you want to. settlement par la presence sinistre du villain. an old friend of mine in whose talents I have the greatest confidence.S. you might be a prima donna. but afraid it might be too long. don't hesitate to make cuts of your own.Y. . in it is (after the aria "Since of Tom and Shadow). 3 We are in the middle of Act II now. which I will send as soon as it is done. to Mrs. Wystan Auden I was delighted with the first act. the first scene of Act II (to the end of Tom's aria "Vary the song"). N. Etes-vous d'accord? Je tiendrai silence pour oui Wystan Auden P. who. wrote the latter part of the first scene not by merit"). but of course.

: Have made a make each step of the Rake's Progress unique. "numinous" would have been the word used in the Hogarth period).. that is where the time few slight alterations in our original plot in order to i. He had shown meanwhile (Eliot had noted one split infinitive and one anachronism— "alluvial. who metre to get an exact rhythmical identity— cares what is slightly different from far too soon.e. here is the verse CAPS: . Yours ever. Washington. near enough. — Vacte gratuit.. as 151 7 Cornelia Street York 14. I my pencil on the score.THREE OPERAS New Dear Igor Stravinsky. in New York. the whole material to look and it won't be hard to Once you have you can form your own opinions make cuts and alterations. — Leplaisir. and saw him again the following John week part. 28th January 1Q48 best to transfer the Auction Scene to interval occurs. Wystan Auden Pons I saw him next in the Hotel Raleigh ( in the "Lily Suite.C. Eliot 1948. S. Void Acte 11. As I said in my wire. I We spent the St. D. I think. In case you can't read in printed they are.Y. It is difficult in this e. 22nd November 1048 Dear Igor I Stravinsky." I think. but hope. N. don't worry about length. on 31st March." to be exact).g.Y. I come first. N. Baba — 11 desire devenir La Machine Bordel Dieu. letter. day working together. got back from Washington yesterday afternoon to find your enclose another verse which should. at. after a performance of the Passion in which Hindemith had played the viola d'amore 7 Cornelia Street New York 14. It seemed Act III. the finished libretto to T.

which makes it a good day to write let- Arrived after a very boring voyage just before Easter. to the sound of explosions. di Napoli 28th April 1Q4Q The ters. and come East soon. 14. I hear of the music from Robert Very Mozartian. Your photo is up in the kitchen. cuts are easy to make. Yours ever. Wystan . I keep nagging at St.152 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES SOON DAWN WILL GLITTER OUTSIDE THE SHUTTER AND SMALL BIRDS TWITTER: BUT WHAT OF THAT? SO LONG AS WERE ABLE AND WINE'S ON THE TABLE WHO CARES WHAT THE TROUBLING DAY IS AT? I'm very excited about what Craft. the Madonna ran down the street to meet her son. Wystan Auden Via Santa Lucia 22 Forio d'Ischia Prov. Restituta about it. In writing her part therefore I have given any line of Baba's twice the number of accents as compared with the equivalent line of Anne's or Tom's. N. Wystan 7 Cornelia Street New York Dear Igor.Y. when Love to all. 24th October 194Q Many thanks two for your letter. If you find I have given her too many lines. it irregular Much love to you and Vera. he says. lovers. Hope that Act II is going well. In order to distinguish Baba in character and emotion from the seems to me that her rhythm should be more and her tempo of utterance faster. sirocco is blowing.

Mr. not this revision. . N. . 6 As 4 A concert conducted by Robert Craft in Carnegie Hall. . Foreseen 1 shall my sorrow? .Y. be cross. . . Scene 3. 4 Love to you both. By law. . then . . Have done . . Four . is nearly finished. if you keep Baba condemned to gasp and weep Forever. dear. . Venice. my love. Seven Eight. Delighted to hear that Act III. Who is she? One Hussy! I . I wed . . in September. Wystan Baba I'm waiting. 14th February 1951 Dear Igor. you haven't yet composed the Trio Looking forward to hearing Persephone on Monday. . 6 It had been settled that the Rake was to be produced at La Fenice. . . With talk. . Nine . dear Could I . never. here is an alternative version of Baba's part where the rhymes fit the others.. . . . . . . . Til haunt you. Two . Dear Igor. . 5 7 Cornelia Street New York 14.THREE OPERAS 153 7 Cornelia Street New York 14. Ten . . Love. . You know you're bound . dead. 5 I used the original text. . Many thanks for your letter. Six . . here. Scene 2. . . If I am found . . which you may prefer to what I sent you. Five. 15th November 1949 If in Act II. . never. Immured swear Three. . . . . . have . never .. I shall count up to ten. .Y. Before . . Kallman and I are a bit worried about the directing. . . N.

di Napoli gth June 1932 Dear Igor. Thank you for your letter. Kallman and I would present in an advisory capacity when rehearsals start If it like to be Hope you have a lovely time in Cuba.] . Love to all. etc. Everything still seems in a terrible muddle here and I hope that we aren't going to have a scratch performance with last-minute singers. Looking forward to seeing you in Italy. that is. 48. Wystan Via Santa Lucia 14 Forio (Tlschia Prov. writes me that in Act II. 85). stage directions prior to no. can possibly be arranged. the revelation that Baba has a beard at this point will ruin the dramatic effect of the finale to Act II. who has been proof-reading the vocal score in New York. Did you mean this. Wystan [Florence. April. irritated. you violently disagree. stage goings-on as you are about the singing. Mr. Scene 2. the stage direction now indicates that the broadsheet of Baba should be visible to the audience— the face. 1959. Kallman. designers. October. Scene 1 (p. 1958- Kyoto. I know you must be frightfully unless busy. because there seem to be two serious objections: ( 1 ) It is physically impossible to show the broadsheet in such all parts of a way that it is equally visible in the house. Love to all. Those of the audience who (2) can't see it will be More importantly.154 MEMORIES AND COMMENTARIES we—as librettists—are as concerned about the you can imagine. so don t bother to answer this.

AppendIX First Scenario for THE RAKE'S PROGRESS —Stravinsky-Auden .

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