Beats The Crap Out Of Kevin Bacon

My late and ex-husband had no passion greater than his passion for music, and one day, while we were still courting, he was walking along past the Kennedy Center when a cab rolled up to the curb in front of the Hall of Nations.  Mstislav Rostropovich alit, carrying a hefty briefcase and attired in an overcoat against the first brisk nip of autumn. A nervy fellow, my late and ex accosted the maestro by the name all of musical Washington used when they celebrated him in those days: “Slava!” he cried, raising both hands, “thank you for all the wonderful music you’ve brought us!”

(We used to buy five-dollar tickets for the nosebleed seats in the Kennedy Center, where I once stripped to my camisole during  a performance of Mahler’s First Symphony due to the suffocating heat up there. Not that this was mentioned.)

Slava beamed at my then-fiance, leaned close to shake his hand while saluting him, French-style, on both cheeks, and swept on into the building.

“I’m never washing my face again,” said my L&X as he told me the story.

I just caught a bit on the local classical station about Rostropovich’s connection to Sergei Prokofiev: to wit: a devotee of Prokofiev’s ballets, Rostropovich eventually made his personal acquaintance and for the last three years of Prokofiev’s life — just before I was born — lived with him at his dacha, “like a son,” assisting him, as Percy Grainger did Delius, in the work of composition.

I slept in the same bed for eight years of my life with a man who touched a man who knew Sergei Prokofiev.

How’s that for even less than six degrees of separation?


4 thoughts on “Beats The Crap Out Of Kevin Bacon

  1. I love Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet score, particularly the Dance of the Knights, its one of my favourites on iTunes and my iPod.

  2. Prokofiev is a great musician and certainly more brilliant than Shostakovich, but I have come to prefer Shostakovich in the course of the years. I first found Shostakovich boring and academic. Now I find great peace in his music. His polytonal solutions and the sense of dislocation they produce sound for example more interesting to me than the equivalent passages by Prokofiev. But of course appreciation of art is very personal.

    • I too find I can spend longer with Shostakovich, but the Classical Symphony and Lt. Kije will always dance in my head. Both men had to struggle mightily with the inane requirements of the Soviet arts institutions. I have never understood how music can be politically correct, or not.

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