NABOKV-L post 0022981, Fri, 22 Jun 2012 09:56:35 -0400

Nabokov and Diaghilev
[EDNOTE. Carolyn Kunin has sent the following messages about Nabokov and
Diaghilev. On Dobuzhinsky, Diaghilev, Nabokov, and Mir Iskusstva, please
see also my essay “Looking at Harlequins: Nabokov, the World of Art, and
the Ballets Russes,” in Nabokov's World. Ed. Jane Grayson, Arnold
McMillin, and Priscilla Meyer. 2 vols. London: Palgrave, 2002. Volume 2
(Reading Nabokov): 73-95. -- SES.]

So Jansy has given us all a surPrize! I had "keine Ahnung" - not an
inkling! - oh my, doors are opening as I type. And I haven't even read
beyond the BIG TYPE. omg - I'm speechless - Dangleleaf, Kalmakov, etsy
etsy etsy - would that Dmitri had lived to see this day. omg

Jansy, I send you a big smackeroo!*

*And almost anything else your little heart desires that I can grant.


What we need is a family tree - - does such a thing exist?


Honing my googling skills after trailblazer Jansy discovered the path
that joins the Nabokov family to the Diaghilev family, I have a bit more
to add to her trouvailles. Could this have been "hiding in plain sight"
all these years? Did Dmitri ever discuss this - as a musician, he must
have had some feeling of family pride? It is all so very strange.
First new information from Wikipedia:

Nicolas Nabokov, a first cousin of Vladimir Nabokov, was born to a
family of landed Russian gentry in the town of Lubcza near Minsk, and
was educated by private tutors. In 1918, after his family fled the
Bolshevik Revolution to the Crimea, he began his musical education with
Vladimir Rebikov. After living briefly in Germany he settled in Paris in
1923, where he studied at the Sorbonne. He was married five times and
had three sons. His close friends included the philosopher and fellow
emigré Isaiah Berlin.

* Works, editions and recordings
* Nabokov's first major musical work was the ballet-oratorio Ode, for
Serge Diaghilev's Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, in 1928, followed by his
Lyrical Symphony in 1931. The ode was on verses of Mikhail Lomonosov "Вечернее
размышление о Божием величестве",
ballet-oratorio Paris 1928.[2]
* ballet Union Pacific, composed in 1934 - his best known work.
* opera Rasputin's End (libretto by Stephen Spender) in 1958
* and a ballet on Don Quixote in 1966.
* opera Love's Labour's Lost (libretto by W. H. Auden and Chester
Kallman) was composed in 1971 and performed in 1973.

What is very intriguing about this is the fact that VN doesn't mention
this first cousin anywhere ever, or did I miss it? I should check the
archives, or the various Years volumes but my eyes are buggy from
working all day and into the night at the computer. Shoulda-coulda
checked my Dangleaf (could there by an anagram lurking here?) books, but
they are dispersed, many still in boxes. Someday my house and library
will be organized, but morgen, morgen und nicht heute sagen alle faule
Leute, nicht wahr?

Well, it is the end of the First Day of Summer and I hope you all
enjoyed it - I certainly did. Next stop- Achtung! - a Midsummer Night's

Carolyn Kunin


Now, from the other side, the Nicholas Nabokov/Diaghilev relationship I
have googled up some interesting tidbits. Not, unfortunately, what
exactly was the familial relationship.
So, first off from the first chapter of The Master of Motion: Serge
Diaghilev, in the words of those who knew him best by Rober Gottlieb:

The musicians Ernest Ansermet, Henri Sauguet and especially Nicholas
Nabokov are completely convincing about his [Diaghilev's] musicality.
And we believe Sauguet when he says: ''Diaghilev was the absolute
master, the man who did everything and saw everything. Nothing escaped
him. I have never since seen a man with such an understanding or such a
sense of the science of it all, such capacity for work and at the same
time a sort of grandeur and magnetism. He was a man of extraordinary
allure, absolutely unique in his way.''

Also these intriguing talks were given last year [the bold italics are
indeed mine]:
In Diaghilev’s circle: An Impresario in dialogue with composers
International musicological conference
Second International Festival “Diaghilev. P. S.” St Petersburg, 23-29
October 2011
The two-day international conference “In Diaghilev’s circle: An
Impresario in dialogue with composers” will take place in St Petersburg
at the N. Rimsky-Korsakov Memorial Museum-Apartment 24-25 October 2011.

15.30-16.30 – Diaghilev and Stravinsky: Margarita Mazo (Ohio, USA)
“Stravinsky’s Les Noces, Raptures and Continuities with Diaghilev,
and the Parisian Artistic Landscape”

Michael Meylac (Strasbourg, France) “Diaghilev’s ghost between
Stravinsky and Nicolas Nabokov”

16.45-18.00 – Keynote lecture Richard Taruskin (Berkeley, USA)
«Diaghilev without Stravinsky? Stravinsky without Diaghilev?»

I am listening to Mahler's awe-ful symphony with the three hammer blows
of fate, and before the third one falls may I wish you all a good night!
Carolyn Kunin
A short trip to the archives demonstrates that some Nabokov/Diaghilev
information has been hiding there in plain sight for some time. On
Monday, 5 November 2007 Sandy Klein sent in a post with the subject line
"among his young pupils was Vladimir Nabokov" [n.b. Dobuzhinsky's style
is reminiscent, at least as described here, of Kalmakov's:

Mstislav Valerianovich Dobuzhinsky or Dobujinsky Lithuanian: Mstislavas
Dobužinskis (2 August 1875, Novgorod — 20 November 1957, New York City)
was a Russian-Lithuanian artist noted for cityscapes conveying the
explosive growth and decay of the early twentieth-century city.

Of noble Lithuanian extraction, Dobuzhinsky finished Second Men's
Gymnasium in Vilnius, later was educated in St Petersburg, Nagybanya and
Munich, where he came to be influenced by the Jugendstil. Having
returned to Russia, he joined the Mir iskusstva, an artistic circle
which idealized the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a golden age
of Russian cultural achievement.

Dobuzhinsky was distinguished from other miriskusniki by his
expressionist manner and keen interest in modern industrial cityscape.
He often painted seedy or tragic scenes from urban life which expressed
the nightmarish bleakness and loneliness of modern times. Among his
works were also humorous vignettes and sketches with demon-like
creatures which seemed to embody the monstrosities of urbanization.

Like other members of the Mir iskusstva, Dobuzhinsky experimented with
scenic design. At first he worked for Constantin Stanislavski at the
Moscow Arts Theatre, but later contributed sets to several Diaghilev
productions as well. He also gained renown as an excellent art teacher;
among his young pupils was Vladimir Nabokov, with whom he maintained
correspondence for decades.

Among his later works are series of masterful and dramatic
illustrations, notably for Dostoyevsky's White Nights (1923) and Yuri
Olesha's Three Fat Men (1925). During the World War II, Dobuzhinsky
painted imaginary landscapes of besieged Leningrad. His memoirs were
published posthumously.

I shall try to find those memoirs, in the meantime, spokoinoy nochi
eschyo raz vsemu and to all a good night!

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