Letter from Vernon Duke (Vladimir Dukelsky)

August 29, 1944


139 East 35th St.,
New York City,
August 29, 1944

My dear Grisha:

Writing to you is just like writing Joe Stalin; one
can be sure that no answer is forthcoming.

I have been instructed by Arthur Hauser to communi-
cate with you in regard to the long suffering cello concerto, which
I hope the long suffering public will hear this season.

A few days ago I had a chance to look over the full
orchestral score; one of these has been in Koussevitzky’s hands for
about two weeks. Outside of the value of the music, if any, the
score is so beautifully copied that upon glancing at it I exclaimed:
“My God, maybe this is alright after all!!” Even Hauser, upon seeing
so many pretty notes on such expensive paper began to feel better.

As I am writing this, I have before the crazy
countenance of Albert Meiff, whose real name I understand is Asha
Meifetz. It is not generally known that Jascha Heifetz has spent
most of his life imitating my fried, Asha Meifetz, and upon achiev-
ing some success he made it necessary for the poor man to change his
name. It is said of Mr. Meifetz that whenever he plays in public
he interrupts the proceedings to exclaim: “What tone!” I sincerely
hope that after playing my Concerto for the first time, not only you
but everybody will exclaim: “What music!”

I just saw a very corn picture of some provincial
ladies surrounding you on a page of “Musical America.” In this
picture you look like a slightly frustrated Gary Cooper. How
about sending me your autograph? That’s probably the nearest you
will ever come to writing a letter. All joking aside, I would love
to hear from you as well as from you Cello; and please don’t
commission Shostakovitch or Mayor Laguardia to write one in prefer-
ence to mine.

Hope you have had a nice Summer. Mine was pretty
good; and I am now the busiest man in this hemisphere. My show
“Rain” with Ethel Merman goes into rehearsal this week under the
direction of Rouben Mamoulian.

Stokowski is giving my oratorio “Leningrad” this
Winter and Carl Fischer is publishing every note I write.

Get in line, brother, and we will all ride to
Parnassus together.

Love and kisses,
[Dukelsky’s signature in Russian]