On ‘Nathan Milstein’nJ.O. Tate’s review of Nathan Milstein’snmemoir (June 1991) includes the statementnthat Beethoven “didn’t know hownto write for the violin,” but this is not anfair summary of Milstein’s comments.nThe passage that caught Mr. Tate’s eyenmust have been the one on page 204:n”Horowitz once told me, ‘Beethovennwrote for the piano as if he werencomposing especially for bad pianists!’ Inmay not agree with that, but I mustnadmit that for my taste Beethoven didnnot know how to compose for thenviolin. (In his violin concerto all thenpassages are crafted as if written for thenpiano.) That’s why I don’t like all ofnBeethoven’s violin sonatas, only threenor four of them. The violin part in thenothers is not interesting or rewarding.”nThe difficulty may arise from Milstein’snuse of the word “passage,” whichnin music means the rapid playing ofnsequences of single notes; if so, Milsteinnreserves the right to praise Beethoven’snYUGOSLAVIA, the political centrifugenof the Balkans, is spinning itsnconstituent nations into tenuous independence.nLong-standing religiousnand ethnic animosities have finallynerupted into bloody internecine warfare,nand it appears that nothing and nonone can prevent this crazy-quilt entitynof three major religions, three alphabets,nand at least five proud nationalnidentities from rushing headlong notninto the 21st century, but rather backninto its own dark, violent past.nThe Western news media have, bynand large, already assigned the Serbsna lion’s share of the blame, becausenthey retain in power a reactionarynhard-line Communist named SlobodannMilosevic; they prefer a centralizednYugoslav government propped up bynthe Serb-dominated Yugoslav army;nthey carry the baggage of centuries ofnTurkish oppression, a mysterious religion—nEastern Orthodox Christianityn— and cultural backwardness; and last,nbecause they’re, well, Serbs. Comparednto the supposedly democratic.nmelodic and chordal writing for thenviolin.nIndeed, Milstein finds Beethoven’snconcerto more “profound” than Mendelssohn’snand, when asked which violinnconcerto is the greatest, unhesitatinglynsays: “I would put Beethoven’s concertonfirst on my list. It is a miracle,nsomething that seems to have come outnof thin air, like some sort of divinenmessage. You can discuss the revelationsnof his concerto endlessly. One of mynfavorites is the cadenza in the firstnmovement, in which Beethoven variesnthe main theme in such a way that thenlistener keeps waiting for its return withnincreasing tension. And when it comes,nit’s like heavenly song!”nHere the “song” is cleariy distinctnfrom the “passage” work. Milstein’snappreciation of Beethoven’s compositionnfor the violin is considerably morencomplex than Mr. Tate seems to havennoticed in his review.n— Wm. F. RickenbackernFrancestown, NHnCULTURAL REVOLUTIONSnWesternized, enlightened Slovenesnand Croats, the Serbs and their culturenappear to many American journalists,nto use H.L. Mencken’s devastatingndescription of the American South, tonbe the “Sahara of the Bozart.”nEnter the prince and the patriarchn— not quite riding white horses, butnstill wearing white hats.nIt will certainly surprise, perhapsneven shock those American journalistsnand other citizens who meet CrownnPrince Alexander Karadjordjevic to discovernan urbane, personable, stylishnman in his 40’s. Prince Alexander isngiven to colloquialisms such as “fedup”nand has a delightful, down-homensense of humor. He hardly fits thenstereotypical image of the rough-hewn,nunlettered Serb or the regal personalitynmore familiar, albeit off-putting, tonAmerican democrats: formal, stately,nabove-it-all. Nor is he a political wallflower.n”I’m not a politician,” he told angathering of Serbian Orthodox innWashington last May. “I’m the unifyingnforce.”nnnMr. Tate Replies:nMr. Rickenbacker has said not a wordnabout my numerous other contentionsnabout Nathan Milstein’s disappointingnbook. I think that’s because I wasnjustified in my comments, and in mynview as a whole.nSince he himself quotes Milstein asnsaying that “Beethoven did not knownhow to compose for the violin,” Insuppose that Rickenbacker sees complexitynwhere I see smugness and confusion.nI note that Milstein’s variouslyndisrespectful, ambiguous, self-contradictory,nor deprecatory commentsnabout Beethoven on pages 43, 53,n120-121, 148, and 158 were not citednby Mr. Rickenbacker. On page 183,nMilstein sneers at Brahms. I don’t takensophomoric swaggering very seriouslyn— not from octogenarians, anyway.nAnd I don’t have any “diflhculty” withnthe word “passage,” either. On thencontrary, I think it’s Milstein who has an”difiBculty” — with the word “book.”nThough born abroad after JosipnBroz Tito’s Communist partisans dethronednthe Yugoslav monarchy at thenend of World War II, Alexander regardsnhimself as a Serb, though alsonquixotically as a Yugoslav. Descendantnof King Peter I of Serbia (1903-1918)nand, from 1918, the new kingdomnlater known as Yugoslavia, Alexander isnthe rightful claimant of the erstwhilenYugoslav throne. Lest this seem toonfanciful or even silly to anti-monarchicalnAmericans, the prospects of hisnreturn to Belgrade as king are not asnremote as may appear at present. AsnYugoslavia proceeds to its destiny as thenblack hole of the Balkans, Serbs andnCroats alike may look to any potentialnsource of political light and stability—neven a monarch from the Karadjordjevicn”dynasty.”nThat certainly is Alexander’s hope.n”My role is kind of like a big ambassador”nfor democratization and cooperationnin a post-communist Yugoslavia.n”It’s very important to have Yugoslavia,”nhe insists, since the demographicsnOCTOBER 1991/5n