Alexander Tcherepnin

From the collection of Lawrence Knapp

Alexander Tcherepnin (1899 - 1977) a composer noted for the "experimental"   nature of his work, moved to Paris from his native Russia about the time Rohmer's story, "Tchériapin," was published.  Virgil Finlay's illustration for "Tchériapin" in Famous Fantastic Mysteries,  July 1951 seems to imply his awareness of a possible connection with the composer. The  issue contained but two items:  H. G. Wells' "Book Length Novel" "TheWar of the Worlds" and Rohmer"s short story "Tchériapin."
     "You remember the strange stories current about him. The cunning ones said that he had a clever press agent. This was true enough. One of the most prominent agents in London discovered him playing in a Paris cabaret. Two months later he was playing at the Queen's Hall, and musical London lay at his feet."
     "He had something of the personality of Paganini, as you remember, except that he was a smaller man; long, gaunt, yellowish hands and the face of a haggard Mephistopheles. The critics quarrelled about him, as critics only quarrel about real genious, and while one school proclaimed that Tchériapin had discovered an entirely new technique, a revolutionary system of violin playing, another school was equally positive in declaring that he could not play at all, that he was a mountebank, a triackster, whose proper place was in a variety theatre."

"Tchériapin," Tales of Chinatown. pp. 264-265.
New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1922.

"Enthralled by the dynamism and rhythmic ferocity of Prokofiev, the teenaged Tcherepnin turned out piano concerti, fourteen sonatas, and also dozens of miniatures, which his father referred to as "little fleas" because of their wide leaps. When Tcherepnin arrived in Paris in 1921, his piano teacher, Isidore Philipp, assembled sets of these small works for publication. The first ten, Bagatelles, Opus 5, have become a staple of the modern repertoire for students and concert pianists alike. Tcherepnin described them as "absolutely anti-impressionistic and anti-eclectic, rather like Prokofiev, but with chromaticism." Bagatelle #4 incorporates an aria from one of his operas. When his father heard the earliest, the wild and mechanistic #7, written when the composer was thirteen, he was persuaded that his son was a composer 'by the grace of God'."

Tcherepnin, Alexander.


If your speakers are on, you re listening to a midi sample of one of his trio pieces.
Can you imagine Rohmer listening to this?

From the collection of Lawrence Knapp

Famous Fantastic Mysteries,  July 1951

"Tchériapin" is one of Sax Rohmer's most reprinted titles.
Some of the many reprints are listed on the Titles Page

Copyright © 1998 Lawrence Knapp. All rights reserved.