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

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

death. Musorgsky argued against this opinion of mine and once said heatedly that a complete omission of this scene is required, not only by dramatic development and by theatrical conditions, but also by his--Musorgsky's--author's conscience. I was surprised and asked for an explanation.

"In this act," Musorgsky answered me, "and for the only time in my life, I lied about the Russian people. The mocking of the boyar by the Russian people--this is untrue, this is un-Russian. Infuriated people kill and execute, but they don't mock their victims."

I had to agree . . .26--ARSENI GOLENISHCHEV-KUTUZOV


186. To ALEXANDER and MARIA MOROZOV,27 Karevo

KIND ALEXANDER STEPANICH AND MARIA MIKHAILOVNA,

For nearly a year now I've not pestered you to send me money but, on the strength of your last letter, I now ask you not to forget about me and to send me as much money as possible by December at the usual address: St. Petersburg, at the Sini Most, Forestry Department, Modeste Petrovich Musorsky.28 Along with this tell me how the farming arrangement goes, in general, and why you are concerned about the land sales, for there's no reason for you to be disturbed about the land; if you see such reasons, let me know how you deduce them. Thus I bow to you and ask for the most detailed reply.

MODESTE MUSORSKY

26November '76. St. Petersburg


186a. ALEXANDER BORODIN to MODESTE MUSORGSKY

[ November 29,1876]

Little dove, Modeste Petrovich, you were so kind to accept our invitation to participate in the concert of the 2nd of December for the benefit of our student body.

The bearer of this note--a deputy from the student body--will give you, together with mine, a request not to refuse your participation.

____________________
26
"It is difficult to ascertain whether these or similar words were ever said by Musorgsky. But even if they were said, they do not express the genuine relation of the author toward this scene. From statements by Golenishchev-Kutuzov and others we know the softness, the instability of Musorgsky, who often fell under the influence of the person he happened to be speaking with, readily giving in to him. Accidentally, under the influence of a passing mood, he could throw out a phrase for which he would not hold himself responsible."--Yuri Keldysh.
27
The Morozovs had rented the Karevo farm from the Musorgsky brothers.
28
A relapse to Musorgsky's elegant version of his name.

-350-

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