Natasha’s Dance

I just started Orlando Figes’ excellent Natasha’s Dance: The Cultural History of Russia. In addition to serious commentary and new perspectives on Russian social history, the reader is treated to facts like the following:

“Serfs were essential to the Sheremetev palaces and their arts . . . Many of these serfs were sent abroad or assigned to the court to learn their craft. But where skill was lacking, much could be achieved through sheer numbers. At Kuskovo there was a horn band in which, to save time on the training of players, each musician was taught to play just one note. The number of players depended on the number of different notes in a tune; their sole skill lay in playing their note at the appropriate moment.” [pg.27]

-Summer Block

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