"For a long time I have not been writing letters, my dear
friend Alexander Victorovich, neither to you, nor to anyone
else. The chief reason lies in my weakness, which keeps me
lying down all the time. This is my yearly spring state. I lie on
my back and even read only occasionally. Also I cannot com-
pose. This is the way it usually goes until I go to the country,
where I quickly recover and begin to work. I am dreaming
about my departure. I did not thank you for your congratula-
tions for my birthday. I was touched that you remembered.
Also I did not tell you of my impression of the first per-
formance of my symphony. I am going to do this now, though
itis still diffucult for me since I cannot comprehend it myself.
One thing is true, that I am indifferent to my failure, that I
am not discouraged by the abuse of the newspapers, but that I
am deeply grieved and very upset by the fact tha the sym-
phony, which I loved and still do, displeased me from the first
(of the first performance of his First Symphony, March 15, 1897)
"It was the most agonizing hour of my life," he said later.
from *Rachmaninoff* Victor I. Seroff, 1950