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Feb 17, 2022
Zurich: Villa Senar, July 9, 1934. One sheet, 10 1/2 x 7 15/16 in. (267 x 201 mm). Typed letter, in Cyrillic in Russian language, on Villa Senar stationery, signed by Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), to Russian writer and historian Alexander Amfiteatrov. Creasing from original folds.
"Dear Aleksandr Valentinovich,
It has been several days, more than a week perhaps, since your letter and manuscript arrived. But I still have not looked at it and I’ve been delayed in my response. I am now in a phase of work when any kind of side projects are unthinkable to me. Letter-writing is akin to forced labor for me. So pardon me and don’t be cross.
For thinking of me and for sending the manuscript I am heartfully thankful. I do not doubt that you have mastered the plot wonderfully; I do doubt, however, that I would ever use it. It is difficult for me to surmount such a task at this moment.
As for the plot itself, I am remembering that Tchaikovsky once attempted it but limited his work to just one symphonic tableau. It is clear that not the entire plot begs to be set to music, but only select scenes. After reading, I will write to you.
I find it necessary to add that you are free to give the plot to someone else to whom it would be of interest. Thanks to your wife for her pristine copy work, and to you I send my most heartfelt greetings.
The above letter was written six days after Rachmaninoff began composing one of his most famous works, Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, and was in response to a letter and libretto sent to him by Amfiteatrov. "While composing the Paganini Rhapsody, Rachmaninoff was sent a three-act libretto based on Shakespeare's Tempest, by the writer Alexander Amfiteatrov (1862-1938). The libretto, dated 5 May 1934-10 June 1934, was found posthumously among Rachmaninoff's papers and now resides in the Library of Congress. As the only two letters of Rachmaninoff to Amfiteatrov known to be extant are in private hands and unpublished, it has not been possible to verify whether or not the libretto was made at the composer's request, though one of the letters, dated only a month after the libretto was completed, must surely refer to it." (Barrie Martyn, Rachmaninoff: Composer, Pianist, Conductor, 2017, p. 203). The above letter is one of the two privately held letters referred to by Martyn (the other being dated September 13, 1927) and appears to answer her question regarding whether Rachmaninoff requested the libretto from Amfiteatrov, which apparently he did not.
Translation courtesy of Dr. Yakov Kasman, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
No lot may be removed from Freeman’s premises until the buyer has paid in full the purchase price therefor including Buyer’s Premium or has satisfied such terms that Freeman’s, in its sole discretion, shall require. Subject to the foregoing, all Property shall be paid for and removed by the buyer at his/ her expense within ten (10) days of sale and, if not so removed, may be sold by Freeman’s, or sent by Freeman’s to a third-party storage facility, at the sole risk and charge of the buyer(s), and Freeman’s may prohibit the buyer from participating, directly or indirectly, as a bidder or buyer in any future sale or sales. In addition to other remedies available to Freeman’s by law, Freeman’s reserves the right to impose a late charge of 1.5% per month of the total purchase price on any balance remaining ten (10) days after the day of sale. If Property is not removed by the buyer within ten (10) days, a handling charge of 2% of the total purchase price per month from the tenth day after the sale until removal by the buyer shall be payable to Freeman’s by the buyer. Freeman’s will not be responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or otherwise responsible for any goods left in Freeman’s possession after ten (10) days. If the foregoing conditions or any applicable provisions of law are not complied with, in addition to other remedies available to Freeman’s and the Consignor (including without limitation the right to hold the buyer(s) liable for the bid price) Freeman’s, at its option, may either cancel the sale, retaining as liquidated damages all payments made by the buyer(s), or resell the property. In such event, the buyer(s) shall remain liable for any deficiency in the original purchase price and will also be responsible for all costs, including warehousing, the expense of the ultimate sale, and Freeman’s commission at its regular rates together with all related and incidental charges, including legal fees. Payment is a precondition to removal. Payment shall be by cash, certified check or similar bank draft, or any other method approved by Freeman’s. Checks will not be deemed to constitute payment until cleared. Any exceptions must be made upon Freeman’s written approval of credit prior to sale. In addition, a defaulting buyer will be deemed to have granted and assigned to Freeman’s, a continuing security interest of first priority in any property or money of, or owing to such buyer in Freeman’ possession, and Freeman’s may retain and apply such property or money as collateral security for the obligations due to Freeman’s. Freeman’s shall have all of the rights accorded a secured party under the Pennsylvania Uniform Commercial Code.
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