Rachmaninov & Stravinsky

Though little love was lost between Sergei Rachmaninov and his fellow composer Igor Stravinsky, Rachmaninov once consented to attend a dinner party at which Stravinsky would be present. Though their wives became fast friends, the composers kept an icy silence until, prompted by some Russian vodka, Rachmaninov began to taunt Stravinsky: "Your Petrushka, your Firebird, ha-ha," he laughed, "never gave you a cent of royalties." "And what about your C sharp minor Prelude," Stravinsky angrily retorted, "and all those concertos you published in

[Tsarist] Russia? You had to play the piano for a living, eh?" As tempers flared, many of the other guests feared that a nasty scene would unfold. However, the two composers soon sat down and quite amicably began to calculate the fortunes which each might have earned had Russian history taken a different course...

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