NABOKV-L post 0006907, Sat, 12 Oct 2002 20:38:59 -0700

Fw: Nabokov and Music
EDITOR'S NOTE. There is a collection of articles NABOKOV AT THE LIMITS,
ED. Lisa Zunshine. Several of the articles deal with VN and music.

----- Original Message -----
From: "s~Z" <>
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> From the 1964 Playboy interview with Toffler:
> No, please go on.
> The fact that since my youth--I was 19 when I left
> Russia--my political creed has remained as bleak and
> changeless as an old gray rock. It is classical to the point of
> triteness. Freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of
> art. The social or economic structure of the ideal state is of
> little concern to me. My desires are modest. Portraits of the
> head of the government should not exceed a postage stamp in
> size. No torture and no executions. No music, except coming
> through earphones, or played in theaters.
> Why no music?
> I have no ear for music, a shortcoming I deplore bitterly.
> When I attend a concert--which happens about once in five
> years--I endeavor gamely to follow the sequence and
> relationship of sounds but cannot keep it up for more than a
> few minutes. Visual impressions, reflections of hands in
> lacquered wood, a diligent bald spot over a fiddle, these take
> over, and soon I am bored beyond measure by the motions of the
> musicians. My knowledge of music is very slight; and I have a
> special reason for finding my ignorance and inability so sad,
> so unjust: There is a wonderful singer in my family-- my own
> son. His great gifts, the rare beauty of his bass, and the
> promise of a splendid career-- all this affects me deeply, and
> I feel a fool during a technical conversation among musicians.
> I am perfectly aware of the many parallels between the art
> forms of music and those of literature, especially in matters
> of structure, but what can I do if ear and brain refuse to
> cooperate? I have found a queer substitute for music in chess--
> more exactly, in the composing of chess problems.