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

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

No one else would have said it this way . . ." And thousands of other exclamations of satisfaction and pleasure which we all shared and which finally led to an action which is rare in him in regard to the innumerable worthy composers who daily bring him their works.

You know how little he likes to write letters and how difficult it is for him to express his thoughts on paper, so that, according to his wish, I must often be the more or less responsible interpreter of his thoughts. But this night the flame of his enthusiasm made him forget the presence of his "Mlle. Providence," as he calls me. Without a moment's hesitation and with the impulse of a lion, he dashed to his desk and at one sitting wrote to M. Musorgsky his impressions as he felt them; I myself sent off this letter, and it is with delight that I inform you of its sending . . .38

[The original text of this letter is in French.]


99. To VASILI BESSEL

DEAR SIR.

VASILI VASILYEVICH,

The only answer to your letter of the 2nd of this May would be the fulfillment--and of course the prompt fulfillment--on my part, of your desire to have the manuscript of Boris. Here it is--I've been as fast as I was able. As to the terms of publication, I think we can discuss these in a few days, if not this very day; anyhow, what has been verbally agreed between us will remain unaltered when embodied in a document.39

Ever warmly greeting your activity, MUSORGSKY

14 May, '73

____________________
38
This letter, which might have determined Musorgsky's plans for this year (see page 227) and consequently his subsequent career and life, was never received by him. "Mlle. Providence" must have stumbled.
39
This document was not drawn up till January 31, 1874--four days after the première of Boris Godunov. Musorgsky was to be paid 600 rubles by Bessel for all publication rights, 300 in the course of the opera's first season, the remainder in the course of the second. (See p. 317.) Bessel also claimed a portion of any royalties, etc., that Musorgsky might receive from abroad for foreign performances of Boris.

-211-

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