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

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

182. To VLADIMIR STASOV, St. Petersburg

[Postmarked: August 16 1876] Tzarskoye Selo. New Places Zhukovsky's dacha, NO. 7

My dear généralissime, such adventures happen only to me: imagine, I had written you two letters about my musical affairs--and yesterday, in the storm,18 they were both whirled away to some unknown place along with a stack of envelopes! What's to be done? I wrote you (on August 2) that I'm working zealously, and (on August 6) that the scene with the pastor is done, and that it is absolutely necessary to outline the portrait of Golitzin as history indicates, in the 2nd scene [act] of Khovanshchina so that one could use it in the episode at Iv[an] Khov[ansky's] in the 5th scene, during the "old-fashioned" repast. I think you will be satisfied with the scene with the pastor, my dear. As soon as the scene in Golitzin's study gets to the quintet, i.e., the finale of the scene, at that moment I will take up the completion of the 3rd scene (the streltzi quarter), and I will write the quintet in Peter under R. Korsakov's supervision, for its technical requirements are mischievous: alto, tenor and 3 basses.

On Wednesday, Aug. 18, at the summons of Ludmila Ivanovna, I hope to see you and discuss things heartily. Yes, and perhaps I'll also bring the 2nd scene of Khovanshchina--you can judge the pastor's interview and all that is written beyond it. Today, very likely, Dosifei will come into the meeting, and material is ready for that. But about the meeting, we'll talk it over together: it must be done very compactly, but substantially, and in asking for your kindest help, Musoryanin has never yet been refused, and, spoiled by you, he again applies to you. Oh, if I could only master this 2nd scene of our Khovanshchina, and the rest would go along successfully, I hope. It is now clear that the 2nd scene is a lever for turning all the fussing factions in the whole drama.

The dacha is excellent: the air is wonderful, we go walking for 5 or 6 versts; but my nerves torment me now and then. However, I suppose I must resign myself to this for the rest of my life. All the same, work goes on and on with progress--in other words, as real work ought to

____________________
18
This storm left its musical mark. On the cover of the manuscript of the 2nd act of Khovanshchina, Musorgsky has scribbled six measures of an idea: "Allegro. The winds blow at Tzarskoye Selo on Aug. 12, '76)," and below: "All in D major. 7:00 P.M."

-343-

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