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

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

At the beginning of August the généralissime granted Musoryanin's fondest wish by telegraphing him an invitation to visit Liszt together. Musorgsky's telegraphed reply was in a single word: "Impossible."


111. To VLADIMIR STASOV, Vienna

Shpalernaya, No. 6, Petrograd. 6 August '73 Transfiguration Day 87

This is what a Russian musician must answer, my dear généralissime. To refuse the most wished-for, the most living life, to go on plodding through rubbish. Frightful! because it is true. Your warm summons to me almost pushed me to say farewell to the official uniform, but this is the thing, that I didn't have the heart to injure my friend and chief, with his eye trouble--this would be inhuman and bad. As long as he helped me, I must help him, too--anything else would be weak-kneed.

And what might have been said in a meeting with Liszt, how many good things might have been done! No, one must seek other means, according to one's strength and ingenuity, to provide the daily bread; one must save both sheep and wolves, if possible. You will see Liszt, I would be ready to ask you, my dear, to hand him from me a little note, but again it turns out badly; in the first place, do I have the right to act like this--in the second and last place, what would this note mean to him. Silence and silence: exactly like a Trappist. However, I trust in my star; it is surely not possible that some time or other I will not see the men of Europe face to face. If this doesn't turn out--we will endure it, and will endure it as we now do. To you, my dear, it is not possible to tell everything, well, I'll tell you anyway--as long as "the far distance" saves me. Your proposal, as valuable as you are yourself, to go to you for a trip to Liszt, your guarantee of the financial side arranged by you for this aim--all has crashed and there's no way out. Only one rich, living impression remains from your plan, living as if I could see Liszt, hear him, and talk with him and with you. This is not a dream, not an irresponsible phrase. There is still enough living strength to raise in myself the mighty image of the European artist, to move my brains on all that is done by this artist and in a single blink of the eye to stand before him, to look at and listen to him. Without you, perhaps, I should never have so much turned my attention to

____________________
87
The special holiday of the Preobrazhensky (Transfiguration) Regiment.

-238-

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