In the morning, I’ve heard on the phone, that it was quiet on the Nevsky: Bolsheviks, having demonstrated into the night, were resting. I decided to use their moment of rest and headed to Nevsky. Some stores were open. I bought English cigarettes, lobsters, a book by Kuno Fischer on Kant, and headed to the Nikolayevsky train station. I left at one, and at half past two the Bolsheviks woke up, and a lively fire fight started all along the Nevsky. See more
Meanwhile I safely arrived to my Sablino that practically enchanted me with its deep calmness, peace, silence, sun, blue sky and flowers. With delight, I immersed myself in the orchestration of the Concerto’s finale and in finishing the symphony. During intermissions, I walked the picturesque grounds surrounding my country house, smoked my cigarettes, cracked open the lobsters. I cut the Kuno Fischer book and immersed myself in Kant’s wisdom. Thus I live calmly 15 miles from Petrograd, where they are shooting and rampaging.
I returned to Petrograd and dined at the Contan, where it is elegant and lively and, despite the food crisis, you can eat quite well. True, the prices are insane, but the value of money gets cheaper every day, so why save it? As we walked through the streets in the evening, we witnessed unexpected events: the streets were noisy, armed soldiers marched, crowds carried posters with "Down with the capitalist ministers," private cars were stopped right before our eyes, owners were asked to get out, and machine guns were installed instead. In a word, as if by magic, the streets were instantly transformed into the first days of the revolution. See more
The Bolsheviks, Kronstadt sailors, workers and some military units began to protest against the Provisional Government.
We had just left the club as the shooting began on Nevsky. The club locked the front door and lowered the window blinds. Only ardent gamblers stayed their tables and continued to bet thousands on cards. As soon as the shots died down—there weren’t many of them and they say they were a provocation,--I decided, using the calm and the darkness, to go home. Actually, you only got caught in the skirmish on Nevsky, and only near government buildings. It was quiet on other streets and there was no cause for shooting. And as soon as I turned off Nevsky, I felt quite at ease.
Today, as I lay sleepless in bed, I began thinking that even after death, it must be extremely unpleasant to be shut up in a coffin and buried underground. But to be cremated is also a pity—it is extremely stupid to sit there in a jar all day as a bunch of ashes. I decided to will my skeleton to a museum to be displayed there under glass. At my feet, there will be a placard that says, “My friends, I am so pleased you are here.”
The streets of Petrograd have once again come to life, thronging with noisy crowds bearing flags and banners - Russian soldiers have gone on the offensive. I am very glad. Now at least we can look our French and English allies in the eye!
The estate is in full bloom. The fields are dressed with flowers, the sun beats down, all the windows at my dacha were opened wide by the caring hand of the landlady. See more
At midday, there were so many bees circling over the flowers that it was simply impossible to walk through the fields. It was with great pleasure that I found myself settled once again in my spacious quarters. I decided to take up Schopenhauer’s seminal work - “The World as Will”, but from the very first page, Schopenhauer scolded me for my ignorance and I forbade myself to read further until I got acquainted with Kant and the “Fourfold Root”. With great enthusiasm, I arranged the scherzo of the Violin Concerto, which turns out is astonishingly clear, and should sound splendid.
The steamer set sail down the Mother Volga. I delighted in the journey, gazing at the river banks and breathing in the fresh Volga air. The only hint of the recent revolutionary unrest was the fact that now and again, third class passengers went up onto the top deck to chew on sunflower seeds. But actually, they behaved themselves.
Now, everyone is so busy with the revolution that, rightly, no one is going to new operas.
My astronomical passion for spring has increased. Of course, with the eternally cloudy sky of Petrograd, you only get to see the stars as a special gift, but nevertheless, by the time I left for the dacha I knew the most important stars so well that I recognised them not by their mutual arrangement, but just like that; each separately, as though “in person”.
May 1 was celebrated in a new style - there were no cabmen anywhere, there were no cabs, no trams were running. The street, which was flooded with bright sunlight, was crowded with people. There were processions with red flags, among which were blue Jewish and black anarchist flags. See more
We visited the countryside, where it was warm and green, and only by six o’clock we were able to go to the restaurant for dinner.
I’m going to Kharkov, having accidentally bought a first-class ticket to Kiev. This ticket suited me perfectly until Kursk. I slept soundly in my top bunk, and no more than a dozen soldiers climbed into the corridor and they were very well behaved. See more
But from Moscow onwards, the whole wagon and our compartment were packed with soldiers and just the public in general to such a degree that getting out of the wagon seemed impossible. My only escape was to remain on the top bunk for thirty-six hours of the journey.
I went to a concert of works by Scriabin on the second anniversary of his death. And it was a strange thing, I arrived after seeing the second act of “Kitezh” and, after the horrors of the Tatar invasion, Scriabin’s preludes seemed so expressionless to me, so unnecessary and insipid, that I found it unbearably dull and only felt some interest at the end of the concert in the 7th and 9th sonatas.
Today I turned a whopping 26. Twenty seventh year—quite substantial. I had friends over today. I played them my new compositions—the Third Sonata and “Visions fugitives.”
I met with the futurist Mayakovsky, who initially gave me a bit of fright with his rude impulsiveness, but who then made a very direct announcement of his intention to come and have a serious chat with me, as I write wonderful music but to terrible texts, of outmoded bourgeois types and e.t.c. He promised to introduce me to “real contemporary poetry”. See more
Warming to his theme, he said that I was the first among contemporary composers, and the only one that mattered, and given that Russian music is leading the world, we should unite, he representing literature, I music and Burlyuk art, and that then “we would conquer the whole world”.
The second day of the holiday saw the grand opening of the Finnish Exhibition, which assumed the character of a political celebration occasioned by the granting of freedom to Finland. Speeches were made by Milyukov and Gorky. I was on the Committee of Honour – and took pride in my involvement, for the Committee was studded with some of the finest names from the worlds of art and politics. See more
The exhibition itself proved boring and monotonous; there wasn’t a single lively subject in evidence, nor a single vivid colour, as if everything had been painted on a grey day. To encounter so much as a fleck of red in a painting was a joy in its own right. The dinner held at the Donon restaurant after the opening of the exhibition was punctuated by endless speeches in several languages. One Finnish sculptor urged the Russian artists to join hands with their Finnish counterparts, and then, hand in hand, «nous épaterons le mondeМы удивим мир».
Easter has arrived. I went to the Conservatory for the matins service. I always go there at Easter; this is a service I enjoy very much. This year, however, it proved somehow less festive than it usually is, although the Cross Procession did leave me in the most convivial, most joyous of moods.