From a childhood six decades ago in an isolated Utah valley to her widow's solitude in the remote capital of Tashkent, Uzbekistan, exile threads the life of Galya Kozlovski like a haunting melody her composer husband might have written.
But of all the variations on this theme she has endured, the last is the hardest for her to bear -- the quick cultural exile of her dead husband she says has been engineered by Uzbeki officials resentful that a Russian won honors for weaving their national music into his works.
Her anger and depression opens a rare fissure in the seamless facade of reassurance from smiling Soviet officials that complete ethnic harmony exists between the native Uzbeki majority and the immigrant European Russians who have brought Soviet-style industrialization to this Central Asian republic.
Alexei Kozlovski, who died 2 1/2 years ago at 72, had won an Order of Lenin and many other honors for incorporating the difficult, mono-tonal Uzbeki tribal music into his modern symphonies, operas, ballets and tone poems. His papers and studies are at the famed Glinka Musem in Moscow, some of which are displayed to mark his contributions to the culture of multi-racial, multi-tongued Soviet society.
"Moscow will do anything for him," said his widow. "But here, where he gave 40 years of his life, they do nothing."
Local Uzbeki officials, she said, have delibeately delayed a government order to erect a monument over his grave. They have refused proposals from his musical colleagues to rename a street and music school after him or fund a professorship in his name.
But most upsetting of all, she says, is that Uzbeki officials have effectively barred from local production his two most famous compositions. These are an opera, "Uleg Beg," about the astronomer-grandson of Tamerlane who ruled Central Asia five centuries ago, and a modern folk ballet, "Tanavar," drawn from an incident that occured during his consolidation of Soviet power here in the 1920s.
"They wanted to stage the opera this year, but recently they suddenly said no, the theater schedule is full for the next two years at least," the composer's widow said. "They haven't performed the ballet in four."
"It's a matter of national envy," she asserted. "The Uzbeks ask themselves, 'Why a Russian, why not me?'" It wasn't always so.
During World War Ii, she said, when the nation's leaders were seeking cohesion and reassurance from the Soviet people despite a succession of battlefield disasters, the premier of "Uleg Beg" was hailed as a supreme example of the heights that could be attained by the new Soviet culture.
There was grim irony in this, she noted. Her husband's appreciation of Uzbeks, a Turkic-speaking people of the Kyzyl-Kum deset, Syr-Darya River Valley and Tien Shan mountains who now make up about 65 percent of Uzbekistan's population, began where so many Soviet sagas do: in the great Stalinist purges of the late 1930s.
Surrounded by mementoes of his career and her own wide-ranging life, Mrs. Kozlovski, 69, spun out the grim thread of exile that has marked her life.
Born to a czarist-era revolutionary who fled to America under a death sentence, she spent her early childhood in a commune her father founded in a place called Park Valley, Utah. The venture consisted of nine or 10 Russian exile families bent on perfecting the utopian life they still hoped revolution would one day bring to their motherland.
But within a few years, she recalled, the combination of trying climate and ignorance of agricultrual methods doomed the effort. "My father was not a very practical man," she observed with a smile. The family drifted to Chicago and returned to Russia when the czar abdicated in February, 1917.
Under the new Soviet government, her father, Longin Geros, became a diplomat and held various posts abroad. In the late 1920s, in Moscow, Galya Longinovna met Alexei Kozlovski, conductor-son of a pre-revolutionary petty noble, and the couple was married in 1929. They settled in a small Izba outside Moscow, and her husband found a job as a music conductor at a city theater and wrote music, his cheif interest.
He was arrested in 1937 when the Great Purge began, taken to secret police headquarters in the Lyubyanka and interrogated about alleged "counter-revolutionary" activities. Instead of being shot or imprisoned, he was miraculously exiled to Tashkent for three years. "That was quite a liberal punishment," she recalled.
Although his promising Moscow career was ruined, her husband escaped the bloody scything of the country's intelligentsia that Stalin directed. The Kozlovskis began to hear the local music, oriental-derived folk songs and national dances that spoke of ancient desert civilizations. With his conservatory musicologist's training, Kozlovski pursued the music to find themes of interest to modern ears.
By the end of the exile, he had fallen in love with Uzbeki music, and to the dismay of his city-cultured wife, he vowed he would never return to Moscow. Together, they roamed Central Asia for the native music and tales that passed into his composition books. His modern orchestral works, with the blaring excitment and minor-key refrains reminiscent of Aaron Copeland, won him steadily greater acclaim. After Stalin's death in 1953, he was fully rehibilitated, she said, although that was a process of some delicacy since he had never been officially denounced. His compositions, some with libretto by his wife, were regular fare in Tashkent and other major cities up to his death.
Now, she says, the major works can still be heard everywhere but the capital of his adopted homeland. Though friends have repeatedly invited her to live with them in Moscow, her doctors have advised against it. Besides, she says, "I can't leave Tashkent and leave my husband's work." She won't rest until she retrieves him from exile.