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Beketova N.

«We are lazy and incurious…»: referring to Rachmaninov’s Notebook

The author addresses to the unpublished Rachmaninov 1937–1939 Notebook with the aim to decode and clarify the personal stand of the composer who made a curious abstract from one of Strakhov’s letters on the opera “Boris Godunov”. By plunging into the history of sharp critical polemics on the Mussorgsky opera premiere, the author of the article draws out a wide cultural artistic context in which the sequence of great masters’ names from the Rurik clan Pushkin – Mussorgsky – Rachmaninov is paradigmatically presented. The analysis of the post-premiere situation around the two works, the opera and drama, reveals the presence of common laws of overwhelming non-perception of the great works by contemporaries unable yet to see the deep essence of the genius’ discoveries. Moreover, while considering the image of Russian history, what is the way it should be in the scenic personification corresponding to its time period? What is such correspondence? How should the historical drama look like? And what is Russian history as such? Such questions being difficult to answer are asked by the media of the Pushkin and Mussorgsky era. While copying out sharp descriptions on the opera “Boris”, as the author of the article managed to prove, Rachmaninov manifests deep compassion towards Myssorgsky due to lack of understanding by his contemporaries and forced loneliness, experiencing the situation of his own artistic catastrophe following the First symphony “failure” which remained a lifelong bleeding wound for the composer. To sum up, the emergent necessity to reconsider the qualitative nature of the First symphony is the best proof of the intuition of young Rachmaninov who is a successor and the last manifestation of the ancient Rurik clan.

Key words

Russian history, musical drama, Rurik clan heirs, national cultural archetype.

For citation

Beketova N. «We are lazy and incurious…»: referring to Rachmaninov’s Notebook // South-Russian musical anthology. 2019. № 4. PP. 18–25.