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[RACH] It was dark that night There was a sickening black fog That covered the church towers And reeked of stale incense [CHALIAPIN] TONIGHT, RACH TONIGHT, RACH TONIGHT, YOU SHAKE YOUR FIST AT THE SKY! [RACH] Everyone was there And Glazunov— [NATALYA] GLAZUNOV IS DRUNK [RACH] Glazunov was drunk [NATALYA] GLAZUNOV IS DRUNK [CHALIAPIN] I CAN HEAR THE BRASS, LIKE A SCREAMING FALCON! [DAHL] When you think of that night what do you see? [RACH] PERSPIRATION PERSPIRATION PERSPIRATION ON MY FOREHEAD [RACH & NATALYA] PERSPIRATION PERSPIRATION PERSPIRATION PERSPIRATION ON MY FOREHEAD [CHALIAPIN] AND CÉSAR CUI IS HERE [DAHL] César Cui? [CHALIAPIN & NATALYA] CÉSAR CUI, OF THE FIVE [RACH] There are Five composers in Russia—The Mighty Handful Romantic Nationalists The vanguard of the new Russian music Borodin, Balakirev Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Cui [CHALIAPIN] BORODIN, BALAKIREV [CHALIAPIN & NATALYA] BORODIN, BALAKIREV MUSSORGSKY, RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, AND CUI [RACH] NOT COURT COMPOSERS NOT ELITES LIKE TCHAIKOVSKY THEY WERE THE REAL DEAL THEY HAD DIRT UNDER THEIR FINGERNAILS AND CUI IS A CRITIC A CRITIC WITH A SHARP PEN [CHALIAPIN] “IF THERE WERE A CONSERVATORY IN HELL AND IF ONE OF ITS MOST TALENTED STUDENTS WERE TO COMPOSE A PROGRAMME SYMPHONY BASED ON THE STORY OF THE TEN PLAGUES OF EGYPT AND IF HE WERE TO COMPOSE A SYMPHONY LIKE RACHMANINOFF'S THEN HE WOULD HAVE FULFILLED HIS TASK BRILLIANTLY AND WOULD DELIGHT THE INHABITANTS OF HELL” Oh dear, Serge! [RACH] HE WRITES TERRIBLE THINGS [CHALIAPIN] “THIS MUSIC LEAVES AN EVIL IMPRESSION” [RACH] ABOUT GOOD PEOPLE [CHALIAPIN] “WITH ITS BROKEN RHYTHMS” [RACH] UNTRUE THINGS— [CHALIAPIN] “OBSCURITY AND VAGUENESS OF FORM” [RACH] UNINTELLIGENT THINGS— [CHALIAPIN] “MEANINGLESS REPETITION OF THE SAME SHORT TRICKS” [NATALYA] GLAZUNOV IS DRUNK— [RACH] UNTRUE THINGS [CHALIAPIN] “THE NASAL SOUND OF THE ORCHESTRA THE STRAINED CRASH OF THE BRASS AND ABOVE ALL ITS SICKLY PERVERSE HARMONIZATION AND QUASI-MELODIC OUTLINES THE COMPLETE ABSENCE OF SIMPLICITY AND NATURALNESS THE COMPLETE ABSENCE OF THEMES” [DAHL] Let's go back to the performance. What happened? [NATALYA] AND YOU ARE NOT PRETTY ENOUGH YOU'RE NOT SMART ENOUGH YOU'RE NOT FUNNY ENOUGH YOU'RE NOT DEEP ENOUGH THE BEST YEARS OF YOUR LIFE ARE BEHIND YOU IT'S ALL DOWNHILL NOW SO SAD SO SAD THIS IS ALL YOU CAME TO SO SAD SO SAD SO SAD [DAHL] Do you like the piece? [RACH] I— I don't know [NATALYA & DAHL] AND YOU ARE NOT PRETTY ENOUGH YOU'RE NOT SMART ENOUGH YOU'RE NOT FUNNY ENOUGH YOU'RE NOT DEEP ENOUGH THE BEST YEARS OF YOUR LIFE ARE BEHIND YOU IT'S ALL DOWNHILL NOW SO SAD SO SAD THIS IS ALL YOU CAME TO SO SAD SO SAD SO SAD [RACH] AND GLAZUNOV IS DRUNK [DAHL] Who is Glazunov? [RACH] The conductor [GLAZUNOV] MY DEAR YOUNG BOY I AM ALEXANDER KONSTANTINOVICH GLAZUNOV [RACH] I know— [GLAZUNOV] THIS WILL BE WONDERFUL (CHALIAPIN hands him some wine) Thank you! DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THE WOODWINDS I WILL SQUASH THEIR SQUEAKS LIKE GRAPES! [RACH] Oh my dear God— [GLAZUNOV] AND THE BRASS WILL CRASH! HAVE SOME WINE, BOY, HAVE SOME WINE LET ME RELAX WHERE ARE MY CUFFS? [CHALIAPIN] SERGE, PLEASE HAVE SOME WINE IT WILL BE ALL RIGHT THE PLAYERS, THEY KNOW YOU [NATALYA] THE HEATER IS BROKEN [DAHL] It was cold? [RACH] NO, TOO HOT, TOO HOT, TOO HOT THEY COULDN'T TURN IT DOWN AND THE CURTAINS WERE MELTING AND THE LILACS WERE WILTING PERSPIRATION ON MY FOREHEAD GLAZUNOV LIFTS HIS BATON LIKE A SPOON IN SYRUP AND THE AUDIENCE su*kS IN ONE GREAT BREATH AND THE STRINGS AND THE TIMPANI BEGIN A MIDNIGHT MARCH TO HELL (The symphony, distorted by RACH's memory, plays.) [RACH] I left after a few minutes I spent most of the concert on the stairs I could still hear it though Muffled through the walls [DAHL] What does this music mean to you? [RACH] I don't know! It's supposed to be epic drama, sublime terror Great tolling bells, wind and rain Thunder, lighting, screams Moons, planets, comets! Asteroids hurtling through space, ecstatic— [DAHL] Do you ever try to write happy music? [RACH] I don't try any thing This is just what happens SCOWLED FACES, PAINED FACES AND THE WORST—BLANK FACES THIS ONE READS HER PROGRAM AND THIS ONE CHECKS HIS PHONE AND ARE YOU SO SMALL AND STUPID THAT YOU CAN'T HEAR ANYTHING NEW THAT YOUR LITTLE MIND WON'T ACCEPT IT WON'T SHUT THE STATIC OUT AND LET THE MUSIC JUST AND LET THE MUSIC JUST AND THIS ONE UNWRAPS A CANDY AND THIS ONE TAKES HER COAT OFF AND IT TAKES HER TEN MINUTES TO TAKE HER COAT OFF AND THE RUSTLING AND THE NOISE AND THE NOISE AND THE NOISE AND THE NOISE AND THE NOISE AND THE NOISE AND GLAZUNOV… [NATALYA] GLAZUNOV IS DRUNK [GLAZUNOV] MY GOD STRINGS! WILL SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHAT MEASURE WE ARE IN PLEASE WHAT JUST HAPPENED? WERE WE IN SEVEN? TELL ME HOW DO YOU CONDUCT IN SEVEN? WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE? WHAT IS THIS? OH MY GOD IS THIS A FUGUE? FUGUES ARE HARD, FUGUES ARE HARD, FUGUES ARE HARD MORE WINE PLEASE MORE WINE! [RACH] He feels nothing when he conducts…these sounds torture me! How could so great a musician as Glazunov conduct so badly? I see Cui with his pen and his little pad of paper Writing down his little thoughts on his little pad of paper As though what he hears is even real That what his tiny ears hear is all that's happening in this room [CHALIAPIN] DIES IRAE DIES ILLA Very good Serge! DIES IRAE… [RACH] Artificial tunes, sentimental and monotonous Cliché and excessive, shallow virtuoso populist Okay, okay, I'm a B-list hack! You got me! [DAHL] Sergei? [RACH] Why are you talking during my performance! This is not your place. This is not for you I don't want to hear your mind right now What can you possibly have to say? What is so f**ing important about your opinion! (RACH plays the piano) SOMEONE IN THIS ROOM IS TRYING TO FEEL SOMETHING SOMEONE IN THIS ROOM IS TRYING TO HAVE A BEAUTIFUL MOMENT WHY WON'T YOU LET YOU THEM? WHY THE fu*k ARE YOU TALKING TO ME? YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO INFLICT YOUR MIND ON MINE Get out of here! Get out! You are murdering souls! You are stepping on bu*terflies! You are burning flowers with kerosene! You are sh**ting on diamonds! (All but RACH sing a requiem hymn as the vision of the symphony recedes) _______________________ [DAHL] And that was three years ago [RACH] Three years ago [DAHL] And what have you done since? And what will you do for the rest of your life?