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

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--I don't understand--I am modest, simple and courteous,21 only not bashful--this would be going too far.

I thank you firmly once again and firmly press your hand. I beg you to give my sincere greetings to your people.

MODESTE MUSORGSKY

P.S. If Vladimir Fyodorovich [Purgold] is in Teplitz[-Schönau], do me the favor of telling me; I'd like to let him know about the cooking of the penny-paradise and would like to do this because there is in me something that very warmly responds to his interest in my musical pranks.


63. To ALEXANDRA and NADEZHDA PURGOLD, Pillnitz near Dresden

20 June, 1870. Petrograd

To Doña Anna-Laura and to the dear Orchestra, once again greetings.

I execute the commissions: The number of the house in which Ludmila Ivanovna lives is 30, the house belongs, or rather, belonged to Count Olsufev. Of the German things sing the ones you like, because it's better for you to make the choice accidentally, than for me--at a distance: accidentally, for I am very doubtful about German vocal music in general and modern German music in particular.--German men and women sing like roosters, imagining that the more their mouths gape and the longer they hold their notes--portamento, the more feeling they show.--To speak harshly, Kartoffel, Kirschensuppe, Milch and Tchernickensuppe do not have an especially good influence on the power of feeling and particularly on artistic feeling, and for my taste the Germans, moving from their leather fried in pork-fat to the seven-hour operas of Wagner, offer nothing attractive for me. On the other hand, the Germans who left the Vaterland's leather and its rooster-stretching, far behind--they have always interested me, but such Germans don't write romances and lieder.--However, as a curiosity, take Robert Franz--he alone could quiet one's desire to eat that German cloying--Vaterlandish musical cookery. I say all this in envy and for the sake of mockery, but I do not envy the Germans and I do not laugh at them, because one can't laugh at that which is boring, but may only avert one's face. You yourself know: the greatest

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21
From The Classicist. See page 104.

-138-

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