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  1. Faces: Epilogue

    Vasily and Irina moved to Yalta that March. Irina's parents settled everything with their old apartment, and with their savings they made the long trip with their belongings south, to the Crimean coastline. Yalta was a common destination for the sick, especially those with Vasily's illness. When they got there, it was considerably more humid and warm, which was perfect treatment.

    Over the course of 6 years, Vasily wrote some of his finest compositions in Yalta, and provided a small ...
  2. Faces: Chapter 11 (Part 2)

    No more than a week later did I find out that the bassoonist I had spoken to was ill. I had the urge to visit him, just for some conversation, when I noticed a great commotion at his home. His extended family was all there, and looking terribly distressed. I made my way in, as I wanted to pay respects to him. It was then that I realized how close to death he really was.
    This poor man had taken an unusually high fever, and wasn't expected to live. His family was all there, clamoring about ...
  3. Faces: Chapter 11 (Part 1)

    I was 18 years old. I had tried a semester in the Moscow Conservatory, but it was too expensive, and I settled in the Philharmonic Society School. I still remember that first day when I stepped through its doors. It was late January, and I had just turned 19. The weather was as icy as it is now, only I was in better condition to handle it.
    Immediately I started learning to play violin. I figured it was the most useful to learn, as it had the most career opportunities. However, I underestimated ...
  4. Faces: Chapter 10

    The Osslovsky family didn't hear about Vasily's condition until a few days after his incident. As soon as they found out, they immediately resolved to call on him and Irina, hoping to find him in better shape.
    When they came to Vasily and Irina's door, they saw for the first time what conditions they lived in. Although Vasily and Irina always visited them, they never were invited over, and now they knew why. It was a very small home, more like a dormitory.
    Irina, seeing them through ...
  5. Faces: Chapter 9

    Vasily would have been taken to a hospital, but the doctors advised that he would be taken home on a stretcher that night instead. Irina heated up the small apartment they had, and kept watch over him the whole night until she was too exhausted to stay awake.
    Needless to say, a conductor was quickly found to replace Vasily's positions, and it was considered permanent. Vasily never conducted again, or played an instrument. Irina also took leave of her own housekeeping job for several weeks ...
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