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Mozart and Salieri

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  • Аннотация:
    Alexander Pushkin. MOZART AND SALIERI in English. Translated from the Russian by Alec Vagapov



Translated by Alec Vagapov




   S a l i e r i
   There is no truth on earth they say.
   There is no truth in heaven either.
   It's clear as day to me, so plain to see.
   With love for art I came to birth;
   In childhood when the organ played
   High up in the age-old church of ours
   I'd listen with delight, as sweet
   Involuntary tears fell down my face.
   From idle pastime I refrained untimely;
   I hated all the sciences except for music
   I stubbornly and haughtily repudiated them
   And gave myself entirely to music.
   It's hard to make first step,
   First path is always boring.
   The early miseries I easily came over
   And made a craft a pedestal to art;
   So I became a craftsman, and I gave
   My fingers dull and docile fluency
   And loyalty to ear. And I killed
   The sounds, and dissolved the music
   Like a dead body. I checked up harmony
   With algebra. Well versed in science,
   I dared lapse into creative dreams.
   And I began composing; secretly, in silence,
   Without daring to think of fame.
   I'd often sit in silent cell for a few days
   Forgetting utterly about sleep and food,
   Enjoying tears and delight if inspiration
   I'd burn my work and coldly watch
   My thoughts and sounds I'd begotten
   Along with smoky air disappear.
   What do I say? When the great Gluck
   Came opening to us fascinating secrets
   (new intimate and captivating secrets)
   Didn't I cast aside all I had known,
   All I had loved and what I had believed in,
   Didn't I freshly follow him, resigned,
   Wasn't I sent by counterpart
   in different direction?
   By energetic, tense consistency
   I had at last achieved a high degree of
   Proficiency in art. Renown smiled on me
   I found in the hearts of people
   Response to my creative works.
   I was delighted: I peacefully enjoyed
   My work, success and fame as well as
   The works and luck of friends
   Associates in the amazing art.
   Oh no! I've never known envy
   No never! Neither when Puccini
   Could please the ear of wild Parisians
   Nor when I heard for the first time
   The first accords of Iphigenia.
   And who will say Salieri was a proud man
   Some time a hateful envious man,
   A viper, trampled down by humans,
   And gnawing sand and dust despairingly?
   Nobody will!.. But now - I'll say it - now
   I am an envious man. I envy deeply
   And poignantly. Oh, Heaven!
   Where is the virtue, when the holy gift
   Has not been sent as a reward
   For burning love, work, self-denial, zeal
   And prayer but instead
   Lights up the madman's head
   And idler's mind? Oh Mozart, Mozart!

Enter Mozart

   M o z a r t
   Oh yeah! You saw it! And I wanted
   To treat you to an unexpected joke.
   S a l i e r i
   You are here! - How long?
   M o z a r t
   Right now. Well, I was going
   To show you something; but
   As was passing by the pub
   I suddenly heard a violin play,
   Oh no, my friend, Salieri!
   You never heard a funnier thing...
   A blind man played voi che sapete
   I couldn't help but bring him here.
   To entertain you to his art
   Come in!

Enter the blind man, violin in hand

   Something from Mozart!
   The old man plays an aria from Don Juan; Mozart laughs.

S a l i e r i
How can you laugh?

M o z a r t
         Oh, Salieri!
Aren't you laughing?

S a l i e r i

   I do not find it funny when a worthless painter
   Stains Raphael's Madonna for me,
   I do not find it funny
   When a contemptible buffoon
Dishonours Alighieri. Now get off, old man.
   . M o z a r t

    Wait: here you are
   Drink to my health.

Exit the old man

   You're down at heart. I'll come to you
   Some other time.

 S a l i e r i
   What have you brought me?

M o z a r t
   No - well, a trifle. The other day, at night
   Insomnia tormented me,
   And two or three ideas came to my mind.
   Today I've put them down. And I wanted
   To hear your opinion, but I see
   You don't have time for me.

S a l i e r i

 Oh, Mozart, Mozart!
   I always have got time for you. Sit down;
   I'm listening.

M o z a r t
(at the piano)

  Imagine ... Whom shall I play?
   Well, let's say, me - a little younger;
   A loving man - not much, but just a bit -
   With beauty, or a friend - or, say, with you,
   I'm happy ... Suddenly: a deathly vision
   Pitch darkness or a thng like that ...
   Well, listen.
(He plays)

S a l i e r i

  You were on your way to me
   And stopped outside the pub
   To listen to the blind violinist! God!
   You, Mozart, are unworthy of yourself.

M o z a r t

Well, is it all right?

S a l i e r i

      Oh what a depth!
   What courage and what harmony!
   You're god, and and you are not aware it, Mozart; I know it, yes I do.

M o z a r t

  Oh, really? Maybe ...
   But my divinity is hungry.
   S a l i e r i
   Now listen: let's have lunch together
   At Golden Lion Pub.
M o z a r t

  Well, I don't mind;
   I'm glad. But let me first go home
   And tell my wife
   Not to expect me for the lunch.

S a l i e r i
   I'll wait. Be sure to come.
Oh no! I can't resist my fate:
   I'm chosen to restrain and stop him
   Or else we shall all die,
Yes all of us, clergyman, adherents of music,
And not just me with the deaf fame of mine...
   What is the use, if Mozart is alive
And reaches a new height?
Will he raise music art ? Well, no;
It will collapse when he fades out:
And he won't leave an heir either.
So what's the use? Like a cherub,
He's brought us a few songs of Paradise,
So that, perturbing wingless wish in us,
Children of ashes, fly away!
   So fly away! The sooner you will do the better.

Here is the poison, Izora's latest gift.
   I've kept it for about eighteen years
   And ever since my life appears
   A godly wound to me, and I would often sit With a carefree friend of mine at table,
   And I have never bowed
   To whisper of temptation, though I am not
   A coward, and I am quick to take offence,
And though I don't like life so much.
   I lingered. Thirst for death tormented me
Why die? I fancied: life might bring
Some unexpected gifts, perchance.
   And, joy, creative night and inspiration
   Might possibly attend me, and, perhaps,
A Haydn might create an outstanding thing,
And I would take delight ...
I feasted with the hateful guest,
I thought that I might find, the worst of enemy, Perchance from up a haughty height
   The worst offense might fall on me -
Then you, Izora's gift, would not get lost,
And I was right! I found in the end
   My enemy, and new Haydn
   Suprisingly intoxicated me with joy!
   The time has come! You precious gift of love,
   Turn into cup of friendship now.



Special room in the pub; а piano.

Mozart and Saliery sitting at table

   S a l i e r i
   Why are you gloomy?
   M o z a r t
   Me? No!
   S a l i e r i
   You are upset to-day, aren't you, Mozart?
   The food is good, the wine is fine,
   And you look gloomy and keep silent.
   M o z a r t
   To tell the truth,
   My Requiem worries me.
   S a l i e r i
   You are composing Requiem? How long?
   M o z a r t
   Since long ago, three weeks or so
   But, strangely... Did I tell you?
   S a l i e r i
   M o z a r t
   Now listen.
   Three weeks or so ago I came home late.
   They told me somebody had called on me,
   I don't know why,
   And I was thinking all night long:
   Who was it? What did he need?
   The following day he called again
   But didn't find me in. And then one day
   As was playing with my boy,
   Somebody hailed me. I went out
   A man in black bowed kindly to me
   And ordered Requiem, and disappeared.
   I started working right away - and ever since
   The black man never came to me;
   Well, I am glad: I would be sorry
   To give it up. Although my Requiem
   Is almost ready now. Meanwhile...
   S a l i e r i
   M o z a r t
   I am ashamed of telling you...
   S a l i e r i
   What is it?
   M o z a r t
   Day in day out my black man
   Gives me no rest. Persuing me
   Just like a shadow. Now
   It seems to me he's sitting here
   Next to us.
   S a l i e r i
       Well, that's enough! Why fear like a child?
   Dispel your empty thought. Beaumarchais
   Once said to me: "Now listen , brother,
When a black thought enters your mind,
Uncork a bottle of champagne
Or read "The Marriage of Figaro" once again.
M o z a r t
Yes! Beaumarchais, he was a friend of yours;
You wrote the "Tarara" for him
Great piece of work. I has a tune...
   I keep repeating it when I am happy...
   La-la-la-la... Salieri, is it true
That Beaumarchais was poisoned?

S a l i e r i
   I don't think so: he was too funny
   For such a thing.
   M o z a r t
   He's a genius, isn't he?
   Like you and I. While genius and villainy
   Are incompatible, are they?
   S a l i e r i
   You think so?
   (throws poison into Mozart's glass)
   Now drink it, will you?
   M o z a r t
   To your good health.
   My friend, and to sincere friendship,
   Uniting Mozart and Salieri,
   Two sons of harmony.
   (drinks it)
   S a l i e r i
   Wait, wait,
   Wait, have you drunk it... without me?
   M o z a r t
   (throws the serviette down on the table)
   I've had enough
   (goes up to the piano)
   Listen, Salieri
   To my Requiem
   (he plays it)
   Are you crying?
   S a l i e r i
   I'm shedding tears
   For the first time: both nice and painful,
   As if I'd done my heavy duty
   As if a healing knife had cut
   My suffering part! Mozart, my friend,
   These tears...
   Don't pay attention. Hurry up
   Fill up my soul with sounds...
   M o z a r t
   If everyone could feel the power
   Of harmony in such a way. No, no,
   The world would not survive for nobody
   Would think about the needs of earthly life;
And everybody would indulge in art.
   We are not many, chosen idle
   And happy men,
   Neglecting the compemptible adavantage
   The priests of one whole beauty
   Is it not true? But now I'm not well,
I`m feeling bad, I'll have a sleep.

S a l i e r i


You'll fall asleep
For a long time, Mozart! But is he really right
   To say that I am not a genius?
   Genius and villainy are incompatible.
   It isn't true. And Bonarotti?
   Or is it just a fairy tale of crazy stupid crowd,
And founder of Vatican was not a killer?

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