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

By Jay Leyda; Sergei Bertensson et al. | Go to book overview

pleasing and will refresh me.--Write me directly to Toropetz, c'est pas long!

My respects to Malvina Rafailovna--yes, by the way, have you continued to be chilly at the dacha, or did it warm up after my departure?

Husky Judith evidently continues to hack (with harp accompaniment) at the head of Holofernes--for the glory of Serov. Have you heard her? Write me about it.--If you see Bach, bow to him for me and tell him that his article "After the Exposition"9 positively thrilled me.--Please write me, Cesar, try to post a letter on Wednesday or Friday--those are the days the post comes to our district, and I for my part shall keep you informed about myself, and if anything interesting turns up, I shan't hide it, because I am talkative.--Till we meet, I warmly press your hand.

MODESTE

The "Commune"

. . . In the fall of 1863, returning from the country, he shared, with several young comrades, an apartment which they jokingly called a "commune," in adherence, perhaps, to a theory of share living which was preached by the famous novel of that time, [ Chernishevsky's ] What Is To Be Done? Each comrade had his separate room where the others dared not enter without special permission each time, and there was also a large common room where they all met in the evening when they were released from their duties, to read, to listen to reading, to converse, argue, or just talk, or to listen to Musorgsky playing the piano or singing songs and excerpts from operas. . . . There were six of these comrades . . . three brothers Loginov (Vyacheslav, Leonid, and Piotr), Nikolai Lobkovsky, [Nikolai] Levashov, and Modeste Musorgsky. All were intelligent and educated; each practiced his preferred scientific or artistic interest, in spite of the fact that most of them worked at the Senate or in one of the ministries; none wished to be intellectually idle, and each of them looked with contempt on the sybaritic life . . . The three years of a new way of living with these young people were, according to stories, among the best of all their lives. And for Musorgsky--in particular. The exchange of ideas, of knowledge, of impressions from their reading, all accumulated for him material on which he lived for all his remaining years; in this period was strengthened forever that bright view on "equity" and "inequity," on "good" and "evil," which he never altered thereafter . . .

"At that time," says Philarète Petrovich Musorgsky, "my brother,

____________________
9
Vladimir Stasov article in Sovremennik (No. 4, 1863)--"After the [London] International Exposition of 1862"--contains Stasov's impressions of a Handel concert given in the Crystal Palace.

-57-

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