Imperceptibly August changed into September. And it was so cozy that I did not want to go anywhere from Zet. It rained at night, but the days were sunny. From the first day of the month, leaves began to gradually turn yellow, red and orange, while others remained fresh, green, contrasting with the sometimes bright red leaves and maple trees, which were bright yellow from top to bottom, thus creating a striking motley and magnificent outfit. See more
It's amazing how behind such an ordinary town of Sablin there was such a beautiful countryside: cliffs, dachas, a river.
Walking around the neighborhood I thought how beautiful the northern autumn was, and that, in fact, every autumn should instill some sadness in the heart, for all of this is dying. But I’m going south at the end of the month, to Kislovodsk, to the sun, and so for me, the beauty did not conjure a rainy November and long dark nights, and I watched the surrounding beauty with an easy heart. Every five days I went to the city as to settle any personal businesses, and also as to buy myself sweets and English cigarettes (oh, how difficult and expensive to get them now!), and every time returned back home with a particular pleasure.
Horrible news. Riga is captured by Germans. A plated fist is looming over Petrograd. It's still far away, but we don't know if the revolutionary army is strong enough, and no one knows what would it look like when three million people start fleeing Petrograd.
You’re all asking me how I’m doing and where have I gone. In the night our belated train brought me to Petrograd. Well, it’s nice, although quite wet and dirty. The first face that I saw was Eleanor. See more
She told me - I do not know how certain this is - that the headquarters found my release strange: how is it possible to be released from military service on the basis of being a composer? - and they wanted kick me out, but apparently Kerensky himself (so said Eleanor) went to the headquarters and said that they should leave this thing alone forever, as long as he is Head of the War Ministry and the government. These days I usually had breakfast at the “Bear”.
It is stuffy and dusty in Petrograd. I lived in a completely empty and dusty apartment, and was fed poorly and expensively at restaurants (lunch - eighteen roubles instead of four).
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.