Gnoyensky is a surname unique to my maternal grandfather’s family.

Legend attributes its creation to a falling out in a Dunayevsky clan momentous enough to push the aggrieved, or aggrieving, side to the ultimate breakup. The event took place, if it did, in Russia (based on the Slavic ending of the surname) in the middle of the 18th century.

Two hundred years later, my grandparents’ generation still remembered the legend but not the reason for the commotion. When the Dunayevskys gave the Soviet Union one of its best composers neither they nor the Gnoyenskys had any recollection of the quarrel.

For the origin of the adopted surname, see Gnoien.

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