The Musorgsky Reader: A Life of Modeste Petrovich Musorgsky in Letters and Documents

By Jay Leyda; Sergei Bertensson et al. | Go to book overview
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12. An Inscription on the Manuscript of Impromptu Passionné

Dedicated to Nadezhda Petrovna Opochinina To the memory of Beltov and Liuba,41

1 October 1859


13. To MILI BALAKIREV

DEAREST ONE,

Neither Sofia Ivanovna nor you could have thought up anything better. We all await you with impatience. Maman asks me to tell you that "you are very nice and arrange everything beautifully." Yesterday we saw Alexander and Nikolai Stasov; they told us about the return [from abroad] of Dmitri, who has brought back a lot of interesting stuff.--If I am able to find out by tomorrow morning from Vladimir whether they will be home in the evening, that would be fine, and in any case we have promised to be at their place on Sunday. Bring Schumann, I am thirsty for work.

Till we meet, Mili, expecting you tomorrow.

Your MODESTE

Thursday, 8 October [1859]

Enthusiast

In the autumn of 1859, I again encountered him at the house of S. A. Ivanovsky, an assistant professor at the Academy [of Medicine] and doctor at the Artillery School. Musorgsky had already left the service. He had grown much more manly and rather stouter in appearance; the flavor of a foppish army officer had disappeared. The elegance in dress, manner, etc., was the same as before but not the slightest trace of dandyism remained. We were introduced, but at once we recognized each other, and recalled our first meeting at Popov's. Musorgsky declared that he had left the service in order to "devote himself entirely to music, as it was impossible to combine

____________________
41
The hero and heroine of Alexander Herzen tendentious novel Who Is to Blame? "Beltov . . . is disappointed with life and with himself, until Liuba, by her avowal of love and the kiss she gives him, enlightens him as to the meaning of his existence, which, however, can never find its fulfillment, for Liuba belongs to another man, who is his best friend." Oskar von Riesemann, Moussorgsky ( New York, Knopf, 1929) p. 45.

This is the earliest of the very few documents in evidence of Musorgsky's intimacy with Nadezhda Petrovna Opochinina.

-19-

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