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

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

business. You and Dyainka and I will ourselves try out the "Field Marshal."

Your MUSINKA


193a. VLADIMIR STASOV to ARSENI GOLENISHCHEV-KUTUZOV, Shubino [Extract]

July 31,1877

. . . Have heard hardly anything of Musarion, except certain scraps, and even they are rare, rumors from the "wretched old woman" (in the words of Brédif's friend):39 yet it is said that he has composed and even has written out an excellent scene for Khivra [in Fair at Sorochintzi]. True or not--I don't know a thing . . .


194. To ARSENI GOLENISHCHEV-KUTUZOV, Shubino

Dear friend Arseni, you've sent me a little more, so therefore until our first meeting I am your debtor for this bit.40 And I, dear friend, have so plunged into Sorochintzi, that if the Lord would help me to carry on this matter further under the same conditions, then I should think that season after next we'll both be able to decide: is this Fair at Sorochintzi a good or a bad opera? I started right off, not with the 1st act, whose scenic structure requires more concentration and freedom (I haven't gotten my leave yet), but with the 2nd act, i.e., with the kernel of the whole opera. This act (2nd), as you'll remember, follows hard upon the Intermezzo (Witches' Sabbat on Bald Mountain;--which will be called "Dream of the Young Peasant Lad"). The scenes of Khivra and Cherevik, of Khivra and the Priest's Son are already written, and I've even had time to bring in the godfather with Cherevik and the guests--this is all written; now I advance towards the kernel: the tale of the Red Jacket.41 The problem is an excessively difficult one. You know, friend, that your modest Modeste cannot help seeking out in the author whom he dares to reproduce musically, that which may elude the feeling and attention of a less modest musician. This isn't my first encounter with Gogol (Marriage) and, therefore,

____________________
39
It is Shestakova who is characterized as the "wretched old woman" by Shcherbachov, also, apparently, interested in Brédif's spiritualist manifestations.
40
This may be a new poem by Golenishchev-Kutuzov, or some of his work on the text of the "Tale of the Red Jacket," for Sorochintzi.
41
See Scenario on pp. 354-355.

-359-

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