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immortalizing totality
orange mama
Some people achieve a kind of immortality just by the totality with which they do or do not possess some quality or characteristic. Rachmaninov's immortalizing totality was his scowl. He was a six-and-a-half-foot-tall scowl.

I suppose my conversations with him, or rather with his wife, for he was always silent, were typical:

Mme. Rachmaninov: What is the first thing you do when you rise in the morning? (This could have been indiscreet, but not if you had seen how it was asked.)

Stravinsky: For fifteen minutes I do exercises taught me by a Hungarian gymnast and Kneipp Kur maniac, or rather I did them until I learned that the Hungarian had died very young and very suddenly, then I stand on my head, then I take a shower.

Mme. Rachmaninov: You see, Serge, Stravinsky takes showers. How extraordinary. Do you still say you are afraid of them? And you heard Stravinsky say that he exercises? What do you think of that? Shame on you who will hardly take a walk.

Rachmaninov: (silence)

Conversations with Stravinsky, 1959


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