Work will be work
It is energy, toil and struggle that cope with the environment.
Only labor and struggle account for originality and dignity.
F. M. Dostoyevsky
Note: having reread the text given below I found it a bit confused and unstable as to the mood. It’s because I proved to be not quite able yet to look upon the events connected with our project calmly enough. In spite of all, we were making the site of Tchaikovsky Competition with joy and I am sure, it was felt by those for whom we did our best. The joy of communication, however, and the feeling of being needed proved to be much more important than all the problems. And, of course, I am very grateful to Ira and Ilya for their assistance and desire to share their impressions from the-then collaboration. I gather, you’ll find them of some interest.
In the first editorial of this season I mentioned that some time I’d tell you the story of creating the unofficial site of XI International Tchaikovsky Competition (http://www.mmv.cityline.ru/tchaikovsky) . On one hand, the time elapsed since then enables me to look upon those turbulent events without evident bias. On the other, the reminiscences haven’t wiped off from my memory yet, as well as from the memory of all the participants of the project.
Before evaluating or telling anything I’d like to briefly describe the site, so as even those who failed to visit it in June could imagine what we are speaking about.
So, XI International Tchaikovsky Competition took place in June 1998. In spite of all, this musical competition remains one of the most prestigious in the world. It is held every four years in four areas (piano, violin, violoncello, vocal). The XIth competition’s budget comprised about 4 million US dollars.
For some mysterious reasons Tchaikovsky Competition didn’t (and doesn’t) have the official Internet site. MMH editorial board assumed that most of our readers would be interested to be in the know of the events at the competition. Besides, we were quite aware that many people, both in Russia and abroad, without knowing anything about MMH, would be searching Internet for the information about the Competition. Thus, it was decided that MMH would design a bilingual (Russian and English) site with the available information about the course of the competition, real time refreshed.
The idea emerged in November 1997, the initial variant of the site structure appeared approximately in late March 1998, design was completed by the end of May. (Dima, Dima Fironov! Remember how we bothered you?)
The 26th of May is the official date of inauguration of XI International Tchaikovsky Competition unofficial site. Continuous information update took place from June, 8th till July, 2nd . Considerable updates occurred once a day, vitally essential information (results of the hearings, e.g.) was published in average in ten minutes after being obtained. Press-releases about our project were sent approximately to 200 Russian and foreign newspapers, magazines, TV channels. We are aware that no less than ten widely famous mass media prepared their materials using information from our site as well as comments obtained from our agents by phone. Only one newspaper considered it necessary to mention this fact in the publication.
Initially we turned out to be that naive to count on the support of the Organizational Board of the Competition, that it would share our joys and sorrows in the work over the project. Our hopes, however, were fated to ruin (those concerned may read the letter sent to MMH by Tikhon Khrennikov, head of the Organizing Board, in reply to a careless article written by Internet-observer of newspaper “Culture” Andrew Vozian ).
When we ultimately realized that collaboration with the Organizing Board of the Competition is nothing more than utopia we were a bit perplexed. The idea had already developed and we realized with terror that no one sane enough would start handling such a project possessing what MMH had at its disposal.
The first thing stuck in my memory is sleepless nights, spent at the computer (frankly, our day finished as a rule at about 5-6 a.m., began at about 12 a.m.). Running ahead, I ‘d like to say that our physical, spiritual as well as material resources were absolutely exhausted by the end of the work over the project. Their recovery required the rest of the summer.
You would say: aha, they are already complaining. Did anyone ask you to raise such a project on your own? And you’ll be absolutely right, but only as far as no one asked us. More than that, some, in spite of all our hopes and expectations, tried to prevent us from doing our job.
It goes without saying, it was completely our own initiative, and the absence of any assistance from the part of those who could be considerably interested in this activity, had no effect on our desire to accomplish the conceived plan. Perhaps, we were not quite ready for the number of materials to deal with, however, I am hundred per cent sure the project proved to be a success.
Of course, I mustn’t forget to say a separate “thank you” to our chief’s absolutely wonderful wife – Ira. But for her patience of an angel, inborn diplomatic abilities as well as excellent cooking talent, we would have killed each other if hadn’t starved to death, of course. Besides, during periods of sharp lack of working stuff she had from time to time to change her plates and spoons for the keyboard and even do the job of a driver.
With the beginning of the competition (and site functioning) we found out that our worst anticipations were coming true. We were short of almost everything: computers, hands, money, gas, time, endurance, experience... In interspersions into this article my friends are sharing their impressions about that time. I, personally, marked it for myself as a very difficult but simultaneously extremely joyful period.
Best of all it stuck in my memory how I was sitting in an empty flat at Shabolovka (during the competition we all lived and worked in one place), writing the final article and waiting for the telephone call. Ira and Ilya went for the results of the third round of the competition among vocalists. Instrumentalists had already played the program and the publication of the results of vocalists’ competition was to complete the project. The telephone rang at 1.30 a.m. In ten minutes the results were already published on the site. As usual – earlier than anywhere else
The competition officials accused us of being involved in piracy, using somebody else’s fame. It’s not true. I’d like to cite E. Dmitrova (unfortunately, she didn’t indicate her full name), who lives in Uzbekistan.
“... you gave the only opportunity, if not to hear, but at least to get information about the competition.”
We received some more letters with the similar pathos. We can only assume how many others think similarly although didn’t write to us. The Competition press-center leader Mr. Andrew Ustinov told me that the Competition didn’t need the site in the Internet. Ok, the leadership of the competition knows best. But I am very well aware what MMH readers are interested in and don’t think it possible to deprive them of any valuable information without any clear reasons.
What I remembered best? Perhaps, the evenings. It happened so that it was the hottest time. Right at 9-10 p.m. we finally got hold of all the written variants of reviews, articles, etc. The turning point for the night was a program about the Competition broadcast by TV channel “Culture”, which was followed by smoking discussion of what had happened, and then everything got started...
Appetizing sounds of 20 fingers running all ways through two keyboards... (I was missing the sound for a long time). That lasted the whole night. Went to bed at 7 a. m. Those who failed such sleeplessness could make use of the kitchen or the balcony, somebody’s bed at the best. But by morning justice won and those having rest were transferred where they belonged.
It happened so, that I, personally, had to combine several duties at a time: chef, logistic, secretary, plus Muse and the editor’s wife – all in one. Frankly speaking, it wasn’t easy. It is of some difficulty to simultaneously type another text, boil macaroni and contemplate about the fate of two editors being away while the windows threaten to fly away with the hurricane (by the way, they remained intact, whereas the window glass suffered).
For some reason I remember how we quarreled. Quarreled because were tired, but, NB, never all together. Two of us started and the third, naturally settled peace.
It all ended with a turbulently spent night crowned by a mushroom pie and plenty of beer and embracing Pyotr Ilyitch to the utmost surprise of the local hobos. (When the project was finished we joyfully pulled up at the Conservatory at about 5 a.m.. Now Ilya and I possess photos, where each of us sits on Tchaikovsky’s knees. No arrangement... – editor’s note ).
The site of Tchaikowsky’s Competition wasn’t a commercial project. Neither is MMH. On the other hand, publishing information about the Competition we did earn something – gratitude and respect of our readers. And we did so by our own efforts and not by the fame of the Competition.
Here I could speak about how and how much we worked. As well as our relations with the Organizing Committee and press-center of the Competition. I could supply an endless queue of quotes belonging to the Competition officials. Initially so I planned. But then I realized that it had no sense. the aim of this article is not to show ourselves as heroes. As a matter of fact, we chose the way we were going and for all the problems we encountered we are ourselves to blame. All the problems we had and have we created ourselves.
But it’s not the point. I’d like to emphasize that in spite of our work to100 per cent effect the attempts of the Organizing Committee to prevent us from accomplishing the project couldn’t help telling on the results. Generally, why such a pose – I am lazy and to do it and those who are not are not to do it by any means? Do they grudge it? By the way, if the article is read by someone who is competent in the problems of copyright , I’d be glad to listen to their opinion on the point of our quarrels with the Competition leadership.
Nevertheless, we didn’t give up. We can immensely pride ourselves on it due to our friends. They helped us in everything they could. I consider it absolutely essential to mention them here.
Vladimir Smolkin, our true reader and an active participant of the MMH discussion list rushed to help us right at the moment when we seemed to be unable to keep on further. It is no exaggeration to say that we accomplished the project exactly due to Volodya’s help.
Piotr Pospelov, the editor of the culture section in the newspaper “Russian Telegraph” (which, unfortunately, exists no more) tried to make our work over the project more comfortable and he succeeded. Besides, Peter was the only one among the journalists who used the published information, who considered it possible to mention MMH in his publication about the results of the Competition.
Yakov Poudalov, whom we can often meet on our list, acquainted me with Rostislav Snakin, web-master of the company “Tascom”. As a result, the banner of our project was placed on the server www.tascom.ru
I’d like to emntion separately Yaroslav Chistozvon, whose server www.tchaikovsky.ru placed the link to our project, thus, we acquired additional visitors.
Of course, I can’t fail to mention Ilya Moisseyev, Olga Tchepyzhnaya, Alexander Andreyev and Mikhail Belskiy. They helped us a lot, having given us valuable ideas and information, we wouldn’t be able to obtain otherwise.
I hope that there is no need to remind that without CITYLINE and its leadership there would be nothing at all !
As I once mentioned, the site of Tchaikovsky Competition was and is our most successful idea, with it, much more popular than MMH itself. Of course, unthinkable efforts, nerves, time were invested in this project. The only thing failed to be invested was the necessary sum of money. I am firmly convinced that it is the main reason for the fact that not everything was as it was to be. The team, working over the project, had enough courage, idealism and purposefulness in order to accomplish it with the highest possible quality. Speaking of the team I naturally mean myself as well. Although being the coordinator of the project, I had to look upon it a bit from outside, to try to adequately evaluate the job done. With it, I can’t help saying – thank you all ! I, as no one else, know that no one in the world for any money could have put into it so much of yourself as you did in June, 1998.
It doesn’t matter that you can’t answer the question : “Why do you need it?” But I know the answer...
Thus let me say good bye till the first of December. Once again do I remind you of my e-mail : email@example.com . I assume I have the right to publish the letters I’ll receive in connection with this article. If you are firmly against it, do mention it in the letter