23 Chapters
Medium 9780253010766

l6 January-September 1915

Galina Kopytova Indiana University Press ePub

THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW YEAR brought no relief to the conflict: Germany had intended to finish the war by autumn, and Russia had planned to fight only on foreign territory and was now dealing with a front line moving toward its own borders. In the words of Rech, a popular newspaper in Russian intellectual circles, “to say whether or not the war ends in the coming year, of course, is impossible. Nevertheless, however long the war continues, however much effort it requires, we have enough physical and spiritual strength.”1 Among the artistic elite, some tried to find in the cataclysms of war an opportunity for evolutionary and artistic progress. For example, the composer Alexander Scriabin wrote, “How deeply mistaken are those who see in wars only evil and the results of accidentally formed discord between peoples.”2

Meanwhile, the Heifetzes began the year in a new home—a rented apartment on Yekateringofsky Prospekt, renamed Rimsky-Korsakov Prospekt in the 1920s. The street starts in a residential area and then stretches southwest through a square that is home to the enormous white and blue St. Nicholas Cathedral; from there both the conservatory and the Mariinsky Theater are visible. The street then continues alongside the Yekaterininsky Canal before it ends around Kalinkinskaya Square. The Heifetzes settled at this end ofYekateringofsky Prospekt in building 115. This would become the Heifetz family’s final address in the city. They lived in this apartment for two-and-a-half years up to their departure for the United States. The walk to the conservatory from this new apartment took twenty minutes, which was longer than before, but a tram stopped outside their building. The neighborhood where they settled was not particularly upscale; it joined the quarter between the Fontanka River and the Yekaterininsky Canal, or the “ditch,” as the latter was then unflatteringly called. Apartments in this area were packed together tightly, but unlike the more central streets, the new location was at least quiet and peaceful.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253010766

12 Summer-Fall 1913: Loschwitz

Galina Kopytova Indiana University Press ePub

JASCHA HEIFETZ SPENT THE SUMMER of 1913 with Leopold Auer in Germany, for what was the first in a series of summer vacations spent with his professor. For many years, Auer had spent his summers in England, but in 1912 he began to vacation in Loschwitz, a charming suburb of Dresden. Auer wrote warmly of these vacations: “Loschwitz was a delightful village flanked by a green hill on the bank of the Elbe. On one side we had a view of Dresden, on the other we could look out toward the green mountains ofthe Saxon Alps.”1 Spread along both banks ofthe Elbe, Dresden was known as the “German Florence”; its world-famous gallery housed a collection of paintings by great Flemish and Italian artists. Tourists traveled great distances to visit the city. Other attractions included Zwinger Palace, Dresden Castle, and several museums. Located just two miles from Dresden, Loschwitz was one of many resorts located in the valley and was surrounded by deep picturesque gorges, green forests, and mountain streams.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253010766

21 Summer 1917: Departure for America

Galina Kopytova Indiana University Press ePub

UPON RETURNING FROM SARATOV, the Heifetzes found the capital in a political fever: “Revolution or anarchy?” asked the front page of Izvestia on May 21. The Kronstadt Council of Workers and Soldiers’ Deputies had refused to recognize the Provisional Government. The First Congress of the Councils (Soviets) assembled on June 3, at which time the Bolshevik faction of the RSDRP (Russian Social-Democratic Labor Party) demanded the end of the war, but the Mensheviks and SRS blocked this demand. Problems worsened, resulting in countless strikes, political rallies, and demonstrations.

Surrounded by growing turmoil, the Heifetzes began once again to contemplate a possible tour to the United States. Later that year, Jascha explained the motivations behind their decision in an interview:

All Petrograd was put to worrying about food and fuel. Such things as artistic aspiration had been forced into the background . . . I had been thinking for more than five years of a trip to America, and had been negotiating for most of that time, but it is true that if conditions were not so tragic in Russia I wouldn’t have made the perilous trip at this time. Money no longer can get the necessities in Russia. The whole country faces starvation and the most terrible sacrifices. So I finally decided that we had better make the attempt to get to America, come what might. The family came with me, father and mother and my two sisters.1

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253010766

10 1912: A German Tour

Galina Kopytova Indiana University Press ePub

UPON THEIR RETURN from the Latvian coast, the Heifetz family moved from their apartment on Voznesensky Prospekt to building 8-10 Bolshaya Masterskaya Street, a tall corner building facing Torgovaya Street. This was a familiar place for Jascha since it was just across the street from where he had lived with his father two years earlier. The building was new, and some final work on the inside continued for almost a year after the Heifetzes arrived. In one direction the building looked onto the dome of the synagogue, and in the other, beyond the Kryukov Canal, one could see the back of the Mariinsky Theater and also the conservatory, which was just a five-minute stroll along Torgovaya Street. That year, an amusement park with roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, swings, and other attractions opened in the nearby Demidov Gardens on Ofitserskaya Street, but Jascha had little free time for the many temptations. Leading up to important performances, Auer paid special attention to his students and made every effort to help them perfect their concert programs.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253010766

18 The First Half of 1916

Galina Kopytova Indiana University Press ePub

THE ARRIVAL OF A NEW YEAR brought with it another conservatory exam period. On January 20—Jascha’s fifteenth birthday—he successfully passed the mandatory viola class, and he received a 5 for both his written work and oral exam in the first level of required harmony.1 The commission for the harmony exam included the experienced theorist Vasily Kalafati and two younger pedagogues, Semyon Bogatyrev and Aleksandr Zhitomirsky, the latter an active member of the Society for Jewish Folk Music.

For Jascha, the exam period culminated on January 27 with a concert in the Maly Hall, his second of the 1915–1916 season. Also in the Maly Hall shortly before Jascha’s concert, Nalbandian had performed a benefit concert for Armenian refugees, with the piano accompaniment of Emanuel Bay and the organ accompaniment of Jacques Handschin. A Siloti subscription concert held at the Mariinsky Theater around this time caused quite a stir in presenting the premiere of conservatory student Sergei Prokofiev’s Suite from Ala i Lolli. The performance ofthis new work divided audience opinion, and as newspapers reported, Glazunov “pointedly walked out and returned to the hall only after the end of the piece.”2 Whether or not fifteen-year-old Jascha fully understood the significance ofthese events is unknown, but Prokofiev’s music expanded musical boundaries, flouting the established academic rules of harmony and counterpoint.

See All Chapters

See All Chapters