Sukamo, Akhmed -- b. 1901 --
prominent Indonesian politician. Born in Surabaya on the island of Java.
Completed the Bandung Technical Institute in August 17, 1945, after which
in the name of the Indonesian people, and by commission of a public organization
created by them, proclaimed Indonesia an independent nation. S. is the
author of a series of works devoted to problems encountered in the struggle
against colonialism and dealing with questions of national unity.
«Ein kleiner nackter Liftreiber liegt
bei mir und nennt mich liebes Kind, mich, Diane Philibert!(3)
C'est exquis... ca me transporte!»(4)
(T. Mann, The Confessions of Felix
It began with a radio program. I remember the voice, a bit gravely,
slightly hoarse -- the kind of voice that stays with you. Whoever it belonged
spoke so quickly I couldn't quite make it out. After the mandatory advertisements
the show went like this:
«In order to truly love music, one must listen.» The director of the
philharmonic society, Diane Philimonova(5)
words as an epigraph for her show. Please welcome, Diane Natanovna.
She was introduced by Sasha Zubanov(7),
commentator for the program «Popular Burden»(8).
I knew his voice well, very similar to Presnyakov Jr.(9),
to whose heroic-cultural accomplishments I was forced to listen for almost
twenty years because I couldn't pick up any other stations with my antiquated
radio. This voice was completely different. Diane Natanovna's program sounded
-- For you, students! The Primorsky(10)
Philharmonic Society is selling season tickets for only five rubles. A
series of five concerts, this is a unique opportunity to become better
acquainted with the deeper meaning of classical music, poetic locution,
and rock music. Stand alongside artists from the Primorsky Orchestra --
Diane took a dramatic pause at this point -- don't pass up the chance
to meet touring artists -- like, for example, in December our guest will
be -- she grinned audibly -- our guest will be Valerie Pak. I believe
-- she continued with pride -- that it is unnecessary to go into
more detail about this artist, since her name enjoys wide spread fame amongst
all youth. All students want to be, she cleared her throat, known
as being on the cutting edge, and therefore, I would like to think that
many of you will be interested in becoming friends of the philharmonic.
So, let's begin our private transformation by embracing those very things
that earlier frightened us. As you already know, the fear of serious music
is rooted in misconceptions, the reluctance to understand something which
has the power to bring inimitable rapture. Things that you'll never experience
when listening to hard rock, or such so called artists as Alice and Tom
we be opposed to these two muzakal(12)
movements, when each one of them expresses a distinct state of the human
soul. We shouldn't -- they are all necessary. Serious (as she chose
to call it) music brings out a person's innermost emotions -- emotions
we don't often deal with on our own and are even less likely to share with
friends. And so, music -- our sister of mercy -- tender, proud, philosophical
and ecstatic comes to relieve our soul.
Diane started coughing and hacking. The always obliging Zubanov, as
far as I could tell, handed her a glass of pale-yellow tea. The musical
director took a couple of swallows and continued the broadcast. All of
this happened on the air. It was a rare occurrence for 1987.
-- Nothing should take precedence over your inner self. When the lethargy
that exists in your soul is finally vanquished, you will find that you
will always have a true and unfailing friend in music. This opportunity
should be intriguing to non-students as well, for God only knows what has
transpired previously in each of your lives, but it is never too late to
explore new venues. Is it really possible to consider valid, any work you've
done that was completed without proper aesthetic preparation -- specifically
the type of aesthetic preparation which enables you to consider yourself
a harmonically developed person. The most terrifying state in life will
always be complacency!(13)
Diane became upset about something. You could make out sobs, smacking
lips, and other indistinct sounds over the radio. But she found the strength
-- The Primorsky philharmonic society is extending its hand in friendship
to you. Season tickets for students are available at the philharmonic ticket
window or by calling 9-99-99.
-- This concludes Diane Philimonova's program, Sasha Zubanov announced.
-- Thank you, thanks, thank you very much. I'm sure that your words
will prove indispensable and not soon be forgotten by today's youth.
The show closed with some innocuous symphony music, to illustrate Diane's
point. I think it was «Flight of the Bumblebee». I wrote down the telephone
After a couple of days I called the station.
-- May I speak with Diane Natanovna? I'm calling from the editorial
office of the journal «The Red Flaps with You».(14)
-- This is Diane Natanovna... Good Day.
-- I heard your show on the radio and was completely taken by it. You
wouldn't happen to be interested in writing a piece for us, would you?
Maybe something inspirational about the role of music in the life of the
Her voice was a bit gravely, slightly hoarse. She agreed to do it.
A week later my assistant Vasya pointed to a pile of loose pages lying
on my desk. They were torn out of a notebook. He said:
-- Some woman in tight pants brought them by.
-- And? -- I asked.
-- Gorgeous figure, but she didn't leave a name, -- he wrinkled up
-- No, not her body, the material, -- I asked, offended by the confusion.
-- Didn't read it yet, -- he said timidly. -- I'm finishing up the
piece on rural clubs -- Orders from the chief.
-- Yea, whatever, -- I said, turning my attention to the sheets of
paper the tight-panted music director had dropped off.
«Writing to you is Diane Philimonova from V.(16)
I no longer have the right to remain silent, and I hope that this letter
will somehow be able to rectify past events. I am a singer. I began my
studies at GITIS(17),
but fate decided to send me to V., where I continued my education, more
specifically at the art institute there (I settled down, had a family,
etc.). Upon completing the institute I was offered a job (while singing
at a fair) in a chamber theater in Moscow. I worked at the theater for
two years, but because of some confusion (regarding the apartment and city
family (husband, daughter and mother) stayed in V. My mother died during
that time. Basically it comes down to -- I was forced to leave a job I
loved, to return home to a confused mess and great psychological duress.
At that point in my life, work always took precedence over family. Although,
I admit that dragging an exhausted child along with me on tour would have
been more unbearable. There I was, back at square one. What could I do?
So went my year of mental illness, isolated from friends and work. And
at the same time old longings began to swell in me. Thank God Esmerelda
Zhitkova, the head of the concert piano department and one of the most
renowned symphony leaders in our region, was always at my side. An intense
desire in me to return to work steadily grew, but V. didn't have a musical
theatre. I didn't let that stop me. Along with various symphony leaders,
we composed a mono-opera, from which followed one after another television
projects, and multiple contacts with symphony musicians who worked at television
and radio stations. I have not written this autobiography for your paper,
but instead for all of you who truly understand that each individual who
completes the institute is valuable. And now for a little about my present
I didn't bother to read on to «And now for a little about», but instead
grabbed the phone and called her.
She answered the phone. I knew I hadn't made a mistake as soon as I
heard her voice.
-- I am very interested in what you've written so far, -- I said and
then added, -- Diane. But could you please go into more detail about your
friendship with Esmerelda Orestovna Zhitkova. I had no idea you'd worked
-- Are you serious! -- she shouted. -- We are extremely close. I even
wrote an essay about her. Would you like to read it?
-- Of course! But maybe it would be easier to talk in person? -- I
said, growing bolder.
-- Of course, -- she said. -- Why don't you come by. I'm on Kuropatkina
street Number 1, Apartment 5. Do you know where that is?
-- I can picture it, -- I answered without having to think about it.
-- Next to the college on Lugovoy, and even closer to the psychiatric hospital.
-- Exactly! -- she said. -- That's where I live. Why don't you stop
by tomorrow... -- I could have sworn I heard her bite her lip. -- At six.
And so, here I am. Six o'clock and three minutes. The apartment is
on the third floor. It has two rooms connected by a corridor(19).
Very comfortable. Her five year old daughter is sitting in one of the rooms
chewing on a Chinese apple and watching the fourth episode of I'll get
'ya(20) on t.v.
I'm sitting in the other room with Diane. Sherlinga's(21)
record spins ever so quietly, playing «A white bridle for the black mare».
I have two cans of «Santori»(22)
beer from Japan in my bag, but I won't set them out right away. I prefer
to listen to her essay first. It's called(23)
«An artistic portrait of a pianist»
During the tumult of our work week we never take enough notice or interest
in the lives of those close to us, even though they have given so much
to us in our profession, opening up the inimitable world of music, selflessly
devoted to us, students and colleagues. There are individuals who are completely
altruistic, whose souls are wide open to everything, who want to divine
that which lies under the surface of the notes, in order to find that which
is deeply hidden and accessible only to those who are willing to passionately
seek it out.
Undoubtedly, the biography of a pianist is a brilliantly creative work
and to a great extent elucidates the nature of music in all of its magnitude.
An extract from an article printed in the newspaper «Kharkov Worker» on
the 12th of June, 1958 under the title «She sang with Shalyapin»(24),
is about the grandmother of Esmerelda Orestovna Zhitkova and Lyubov Emilyevna
The mother of Esmerelda Orestovna was also a violinist, having studied
with Auera. Then life changed, and Esmerelda ended up in a children's home
in Kharkov, where she began to study with Stella Viridianovna Kulikova
-- composer, pianist and also a student of Goyzberg, pianist and teacer(25).
She now teaches at the Kharkov conservatory. Stella Viridianova instilled
persistence in all of her students, emphasizing the belief in steadfastly
practicing their technique, which was to enable them to penetrate the depths
of a composer's psychological thought.
And out of that very difficult and beautiful time (during the war)
due to the interaction of notable people in music, students studying under
Kulikova in the conservatory came up with an amazing draft of an artistic
portrait of pianist Esmerelda Orestovna Zhitkova. Because other infinite
love of music, she never forgave even the slightest hypocrisy in anything
having to do with music, based on a deep, I would even say extraordinary
set of principles that she maintained to guide her students. She demanded
that they relentlessly give all of themselves. Zhitkova was one of the
most popular symphony leaders in V. This has been noted and remarked on
by various people of our time including: Natalya Dimitrevna Shpiller, People's
Artist of the USSR, who peaked at her 1981 performance in Astrakhan, the
very place Esmerelda Orestovna sang at the fair, as well as People's Artist
of the USSR Zara Alexandrovna Dolykhanova, who warmly recalled the performance
Her grandmother instilled in her a love of vocal music that was perpetually
entwined in her artistic life. Working with a vocalist greatly helps comprehension
when attempting to discern a musical composition and in a quite literal
sense, these words become captain of their creative fate...
A great deal of cultural-social life also takes place in V., in the
suburbs of P., V., D. and in the villages of Zh., Ch., and E., at chief
concerts(26), in the
health clubs, summer hmes(27)
She finished by saying -- not bad, huh? And swung the toes of her narrow
boots. Her tight pants were tucked into her boots.
-- Do you know, Diane, -- I said thinking -- when it was that I began
to write my story with the long title «Tankman, girl with an oar, as well
as pilot, frontier guard with a dog, captains and young Pushkin». In it
I wanted to recall my first three years in V. from 1959-1961. The leitmotif
of the entire narration was the musical theme of «Lilies of the Valley»
-- May's bright welcome from Gelena Velikanova. Shlyager in the
I took the epigraph from the unfinished story of Boris Balter, «Samarkand»:
«I enjoyed roaming along unfamiliar streets with Tanya. We uncloaked the
city proper, alone and free, like only children can be.»
«Lilies of the Valley» were the sweetest things. Senior citizens sang
this melody from the 40's: «Sasha, do you remember our meeting along the
shore at Primorsky park? Sasha, do you remember the warm evening, autumn
evening, the chestnut tree was in bloom?»
My neighbor was Sasha. He didn't care for «Lilies of the Valley», but
he relished the song «Chestnut Tree in Bloom».
Sasha, more precisely, Alexander lvanovich, was on shore leave because
of some transgression.
He told me stories in great detail, while sitting on the veranda of
the old home, stuck almost to the very top of the Eagle's Nest -- the tallest
hill in V.
The most fascinating story for me was about the strange occurrences
of Uncle Sasha, when he was with great speed followed by these flourescent
glowing orbs. Here's one of the tales.
Uncle Sasha was strutting around in «Victory» (then sailors lived very
well, especially fishermen and whalers) along a deserted road. He was somewhere
along the woods in the area of station Sedanka, when suddenly he noticed
a red glowing orb, which followed his car and then somehow penetrated his
car. At first the captain thought he had completely lost his senses, but
after regaining those very senses, began to feel amazingly fatigued. Doctors
diagnosed him with a nervous disorder and forbade him from swimming for
eight months. He started getting drunk every night. They let him swim.
A couple of years later something similar happened. Uncle Sasha was
at the helm on his way in the direction of V. to the dacha of a friend,
now known as the illustrious ice captain Abrosimov, when he noticed in
the morning sky a patch of bright red light, which slowly and noiselessly
floated to the ground, leaving behind it a bright sloping trail. «That's
a falling airplane,» -- thought Alexander lvanovich, and he set out in
his car to the fence of the substation, where he figured he would find
the «fallen» plane.
After he had gone a kilometer he turned in the direction of his car,
but he could see only its front half. The rear of the car was shrouded
in the bright haze of an orb, inside of whose fog was hidden four small
orbs. Then the flourescent haze stretched into the shape of a tube, rose
into the air and abruptly disappeared into the sky.
Those are just two of the stories. It's true enough that his neighbors
confirmed that at that very time Uncle Sasha was in a drunken haze, and
the account of the destruction of his car he probably made up to get drinking
money. I don't know, I didn't understand much then. The stories of Alexander
lvanovich seemed completely believable. Although I must now admit that
they are probably fairy tales. I was eight then. I believed everything
that Uncle Sasha said. Even though the truth was not quite right.
-- Why are you telling me about this, -- asked Diane, who had been
-- I'm telling you just so you can ask me why, -- I answered frankly.
I didn't stay long at Diane's. Her daughter continued to scrutinize
with delight the stratagem of the eighth episode of I'll get 'ya,
and when I left she didn't pay the least bit of attention to me.
The cans of beer clanked in my bag, as I tiptoed down the stairs of
the house in which lives the singer Philimonova.
I drank the beer alone the next day locked in the office of the department
of information. It was lukewarm, but flowed well past my larynx and helped
to restore my strength after an evening of E.O.Zhitkova, who as you all
very well know, has been living in an apartment for the last eight years,
stuck almost to the very top of the Eagle's Nest.
1. Lilies of the Valley was
a popular song in the late 1950's and early 60's in Russia. Sung by Gelena
Velikanova, its melodramatic imagery hints at the author's tendency for
ironic discourse and meta-utopian subject matter. Both the song and Diane's
radio address are prime examples of «Soviet templates» that have permeated
Russian society up to the present day.
2. ÁÑÝ -- the Big Soviet Encyclopedia.
3. Diane Philibert is one of
Felix's affairs in Mann's The Confessions of Felix Krull. She is
a wealthy author and intellectual, erotically stimulated by their difference
in class and age. Diane repeats in various forms before and after the throws
of passion «The intellect longs for the delights of the non-intellect.»
Felix embellishes his «event of a life time» while Diane pleads for him
to denigrate her, make love, steal her jewelry and leave.
4. «A simple, naked elevator boy lying
next to me, calling me dear child, me, Diane Philibert! C'est exquis...
ca me transporte!»
5. Diane Natanovna Pililimonova
is Stroykov's first use of a device prevalent in Russian literature, that
of the ãîâîðÿùàÿ ôàìèëèÿ or spoken name. Pililimonova is a combination
of the Greek philo and Russian ôèëàðìîíèÿ (philharmonic).
6. Dmitry Borisovich Kabalevsky,
Soviet composer (1904-1987) known for his melodically and thematically
conservative opera, piano and chamber works.
7. The last name Çóáàíîâ derives
from çóá (tooth).
8. Ïîïóëÿðíîå Áðåìÿ (Popular
Burden) is a mutation of the journal Ïîïóëÿðíîå Âðåìÿ (Popular Times).
9. Ïðåñíÿêîâ-ìë. -- a well-known
pop singer in Russia, imitating the voice and style of Michael Jackson.
10. Ïðèìîðñêèé -- Primorsky
Territory is a Far-Eastern geographical/political region of Russia which
includes the author's home city of Vladivostok.
11. Beéö is an alternate spelling
and pronunciation of the normally transliterated Óýéòñ, used by
Diane to show her disdain for all non-serious music; in this case
the songs of Tom Waits.
12. Although ìóçûêà (music)
itself does not suggest the allusion to «muzak», discussions with the author
led to this word choice, in attempting to aptly describe Diane Natanovna's
opinion of all music that is not classical music.
13. The phrases «harmonic development»
and «complacency» are paraphrased
directly from the goals of the communist manifesto and
all that it was to bring to the Russian masses.
14. Êðàñíîå Ñ Íàìè -- literally
translated as «Red is with you» -- is a play on one of the most common
and sacred of Soviet images -- Kpacíoe Çíàìÿ -- «The Red Flag».
I'm currently experimenting with conjoining the two images; thus the initial
translation of «The Red Flaps with You», will undoubtedly change.
15. Diane Philimonova's original
punctuation and spelling has been retained.
16. Possibly Vladivostok, the author
has chosen to name the city simply V., like Gogol's City N. -- in order
to create a feeling of universality -- that this could be any Russian city.
17. ÃÈÒÈÑ -- State Institute
of Theater Arts, located in Moscow.
18. Ïðîïèñêà -- citizens must
obtain a residence permit in order to live in any apartment, or move to
another city. Because of its status and prosperity as the capital, there
is always a rush to obtain legally (or by other means) passports to live
19. Ðàçäåëüíûå denotes an
apartment with two or more rooms that can be entered by an adjoining corridor
as opposed to a ñìåæíûå apartment, in which you must walk through
one room to get to other rooms.
20. Íó, ïîãîäè is a popular
animated television program similar to Tom and Jerry or The Roadrunner
and Coyote shorts. In the Russian version it is a wolf and rabbit.
21. Sherlinga is a Russian
composer now living in Israel who is most noted for his musical about the
life of Russian Jews in the early 19th century.
22. In 1987, any imported beer was
still practically impossible to obtain and extremely expensive.
23. Diane Philimonova's original
punctuation and spelling has been retained.