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By Dmitri Sollertinsky

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He himself could see the piece's defects : it showed the influence of many composers in whom he was interested at the time-composers who had left their mark on his harmonic language, the melodies, and some 35 features of the orchestration. This was only natural : no artist is without his precursors, or works in a vacuum. It is not surprising that at the age of eighteen and nineteen Dmitri had not arrived at the completely personal and deeply individual style which distinguishes his mature works.

Petersburg gentry ! The opera was finished at the beginning of May. Sollertin­ sky was an enthusiastic supporter of the new work. He took the composer to the Leningrad Maly Opera and interested the principal conductor, Samuel Samosud, and the producer Smolich in staging the opera. It was accepted.

As far as composition was concerned, then, everything was fine. Things were more difficult with the piano. At first he was happy studying with Rozanova. He had grown accustomed to her methods and was attached to her as a person. By the end of his first year at the Conservatory, however, it had become plain to him that he must change teachers. Rozanova's essentially feminine, refined, and deli­ cate but restricted piano style was too oppressive for a musi­ cian with his phenomenal talents. After agonies of doubt as to whether it was ethical, Dmitri eventually made the decision.

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