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

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

having read the notes, have sensed the sound of a native string--the appeal of the vivid folk-speech of Russia, of that mighty word which appears to be just a hint--but actually says everything.--And there undoubtedly is a need to awaken the natural resources of the crippled Russian speech; undoubtedly, too, with the proper use of Russian speech, Russian thought will also recover. Modern Russian speech is like a person wearing high heels and tight shoes, making his toenails grow all crooked, forming excrescences of proud flesh. These excrescences must be removed and the patient must be given bark sandals (even temporarily); otherwise instead of a human gait there will be a hobble.--Recently I chanced to read something about Russian warriors--particularly those of Novgorod and Pskov--naturally I mean to say ancient warriors. What a colorful imagery of terms (terms still used in our army) and what an angry, tasty, original terminology.

What a longing I've always had for those native fields that I know and dyainka knows--no wonder that in childhood I loved to listen to the peasants and to test myself with their songs.

A. P. Op[ochinin] is reading your notes, following his wise rule that one must never stop studying; he devotes much attention to the notes.--I won't go into details about your work, dear dyainka; one must understand more than I do for that, but whatever I learned from them and whatever conclusions I drew appeared very tasty to me, and a tasty dish is always followed by a kiss, therefore . . .

Yours, Dyainka

Write to me, my own, to the [Engineers'] Castle, to me--apt. of the Opochinins.


64a. VLADIMIR STASOV to NADEZHDA PURGOLD, Pillnitz near Dresden [Extract]

Spb. July 9, 1870

. . . After your departure we continue to assemble at Ludmila's and you know what is played there more than anything else? No, you don't know--it's an entirely new thing by Musoryanin, straight from the oven, but so wonderful that it's impossible to tell you! When I set him this theme I never imagined that it would turn out to this extent. This is Penny Paradise . . . a magnificent caricature and it's

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