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

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

and power of intonation of the characters, supported by the orchestra, which forms a musical pattern of their speech, to achieve their aim directly, that is, my music must be an artistic reproduction of human speech in all its finest shades, that is, the sounds of human speech, as the external manifestations of thought and feeling must, without exaggeration or violence, become true, accurate music, but* artistic, highly artistic. That is the ideal toward which I strive ("Savishna," "The Orphan," "Yeremushka," "The Child"98).

So now I work on Gogol Marriage.--But the success of Gogol's speech depends on the actor, on his true intonation.--Well, I want to fix Gogol to his place and the actor to his place, that is, to say it musically in such a way that one couldn't say it in any other way and would say it as the characters of Gogol wish to speak.--That is why in Marriage I am crossing the Rubicon. This is living prose in music, this is not a scorning of musician-poets toward common human speech, stripped of all heroic robes--this is reverence toward the language of humanity, this is a reproduction of simple human speech. --Well, we went and went, and we came to a stop.--I should like to ask you, dear Ludmila Ivanovna, to read, or more truly: to give my little note to Dyainka to read, approximately from the words "turning to my rustic life," or all of it if it doesn't inconvenience you,-- but particularly about my chiefly predominant idea; it so happens that everything I would have written him I have written you; what to do about it, that's the way it happened; I wanted to write both of you.--Till we meet, I kiss your little hand warmly.

MODESTE


54. To NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, St. Petersburg

[Shilovo] 30 July [1868]

DEAR FRIEND KORSINKA.

I hear from Ludmila Ivanovna that you are in Peter and so I write you.--If you have seen Cesare you will have learned that the first act of Marriage is ready, and knowing this, you cannot doubt that I have been working.--Cesare has offended me by not answering my letter. When I receive no reply I, in my peculiarly suspicious way, suspect

____________________
*
Musorgsky 's note: Read: which means.
98
The Little Orphan Girl uses Musorgsky own text. It is dated "13 January 1868. Petrograd," and is dedicated to Yekaterina Sergeyevna Borodina. "The Child is better known as "With Nursie," No. 1 of the Nursery cycle.

-112-

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