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

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

like tickling the sole of the foot, or as Balakirev loved to confide (du temps), melted butter on the belly. This isn't the point. There, if only Avvakum would succeed!

Turn your attention to the cover: of all the composers only Azanchevsky has been written with a von, as he has the motto of "Allegro tranquillo," but Mr. Wolflflflfl . . . and so on into infinity, preaches "energico." I think that any sort of movement might be described as "energico," whether it's an andante or an allegro: so what sort of movement can be understood by the "energico" of Mr. H. Wolflflflf . . . and so on into infinity?

The publication is elegant, except for the ribbons at the top of the cover and the sprigs of hemlock in the center.

I can't refrain from returning to the calm speed of von Azanchevsky (Allegro tranquillo); if at least he would have peeked into Ishimova's history:5 well what vons are we? After this it could be written von Skwoznik Dmuchanowsky, von Potchetchuy (which actually is a hemorrhoid), or von Swerbiguz.6 It's a pity, but this recalls the visiting card of the State Secretary [a very low rank in the civil service] Vasili Yevdokimov: Mr. Basile de Eudoximoff (and underneath) gouvernement Secrétaire (I saw this with my own eyes). Till! généralissime.

Your MUSORYANIN


117. To VLADIMIR STASOV

2 January 1874 The Day of Vladimir Stasov

You so desired, my dear généralissime; and I found the time. I embrace you firmly and I congratulate you. This second version of Sennacherib belongs to you by rights; take it.

Not in Beethoven, who wrote 4 overtures to Fidelio-Leonore, do I seek justification for my dedication. I do not wish to justify myself even by the examples of great men. I am myself--a man himself--as is, and here's my justification to myself and to you: you know that our dear Mili Balakirev was very amused by my Sennacherib in its first version and even placed Gashinka Lomakin in an awkward position

____________________
5
Alexandra Ishimova was a writer for children; her History of Russia in Tales for Children occupies a place in Russian literary history chiefly by virtue of Pushkin's praise of it in the last letter written before his fatal duel.
6
Characters in Gogol Revizor and his story "Christmas Eve."

-256-

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