CHAPTER XXIII < P > & n b s p ; & n b s p ; & n b s p; CAPRICCIO ESPAGNOL
REHEARAL OF THE SPANISH CAPRICCIO, featuring a new work by Rimsky-Korsakov.
The work of the first movement is introduced by Nikolai and he speaks to the orchestra.
“This work called Capriccio Espagnol will allow you to exercise each instrument in the orchestra, shall we give it a try?
Those in the orchestra appear very interested.
“Yes? All right let’s go.”
Nikolai at the podium, the orchestra hears the tic, tic of the baton.
The orchestra plays Capriccio Espagnol and partially through the first
movement, abruptly stops. Nikolai looks down for a moment to see members of the orchestra not playing, but rather standing and clapping until everyone stops and gives Nikolai a standing ovation.
Nikolai, turns around, blushes and freely admits”
“Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I will therefore dedicate Capriccio Espagnol to the orchestra.”
THE CZA R
IMPERIAL PALACE. The Censor has an audience with the Czar of Russia.
“Your Majesty, I have banned Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Christmas Eve as it is about Catherine the Great. I wish he would stop writing operas about the Imperial Family.”
“Does he portray the family as unscrupulous?” asks the Czar.
“Not directly, however in Austria the censors have censored Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro as poking fun at and embarrassing nobility. Look what happened in France? Austria wants no part in public unrest and I am sure neither does Russia.”
“Count Voronstov has read the libretto and has assured me that there is nothing I would find objectionable in this opera.”
“But, but..” the censor stammers:
“Dispatch a messenger right away to Rimsky-Korsakov indicating that I have granted permission for admitting the opera Christmas Eve composed by you to be produced on the Imperial Stage without any change in the libretto.”
The censor turns red and is embarrassed, as if he just got a slap in the face.
“Yes, Your majesty.”
The Czar smiles, and says”
“That will be my Christmas gift to one of Russia’s great composers.”
The documents are dated December 31, 1894 and January 12, 1895 and are in the possession of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's family, as authorized by Czar Nicholas II.
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