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

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

bunov and other partisans of alcoholic liquids, many times at the Malo Yaroslavetz.

I recall one scene. Musorgsky sits on a chair near the bottle-laden table and holds an open newspaper in both hands. I cannot say he sits very steadily on his chair, but his back is pressed quite firmly against the back of his chair, and though he sways a little, he doesn't lose his balance. The opened sheet of newspaper apparently proves that Musorgsky has the intention of occupying himself with reading. However, if you should carefully examine his face, swollen from excessive wine-bibbing, and his eyes, which wander wildly over the surface of the newspaper, you will come unmistakably to the conclusion that he would be barely able to decipher even one line of the paper by syllables. It is quiet in the room. Gorbunov is telling something about A. N. Ostrovsky, something about their trip to London together,--everyone roars with laughter, but Musorgsky sits there wheezing through his nose . . . Pavel Vasilyev has gotten up from the bottle-laden table, wanting to go over to Musorgsky. Maximov hastily rises and clutches Vasilyev's hand.--"Don't touch him, don't touch: he'll fall!" he says hoarsely, wagging his beard . . . --DMITRI STAKHEYEV


23 November, '75

Saint-Saëns.50 Aida (Verdi).51 Sardanapalus (Famintzin).52 15, 19 and 20 November '75 in Petrograd.

When they name the author but not his works, then (as the old nurses of art used to say) that author is a somebody--worth something. Well, let's be kind: let's not start a dispute about the opinion of the old nurses of art! Who's this M. de Saint-Saëns?--one knows of him, partly from the papers, partly from conversations. What does M. de Saint-Saëns do?--he utilizes a miniature chamber orchestra and attains with it such solidity that he shows in rich orchestral powers tiny little thoughts inspired by a tiny versifier, and calls this crumb Danse macabre. The trend of M. de Saint-Saëns' mind was capable of digesting such an indigestible thought (a deliberation, perhaps?), and confronts the oppressive and aching "Dies irae--Danse macabre" of the Abbé Liszt with a sentimental miniature "Violino solo danse macabreM. de Saint-Saëns."

November 15--the second concert of the Imperial Russian Musical Society, at which Camille Saint-Saëns conducted the first Russian performance of his Danse macabre.
November 19--the Russian première (in Italian) of Verdi's Egyptian commission.
November 20--the première of the newest opera of Musorgsky's old antagonist.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Musorgsky Reader: A Life of Modeste Petrovich Musorgsky in Letters and Documents
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 478

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?