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

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

215. To VLADIMIR STASOV, St. Petersburg

Oranienbaum, house of Leonova

27-28 Aug. '80

My dear généralissime, with all my heart and all my understanding I am glad about the return of dearest Dimitri Vasilyevich:28 Glory be to God! the good, hospitable family can be at peace (that family so beloved by me). I am completely overjoyed. As for the sinful Musoryanin I can only say that at this very second, at night, he has done the fair scene of Sorochintzi--as for Khovanshchina it is on the eve of completion: but the instrumentation--O gods!--time . . .! Perhaps Musoryanin will be faithful to that of which he always spoke: a new, untrodden path, and he stops before it? Not so. Dare!

Ever, with all my soul, Your MUSORYANIN

Green Soap

. . . The last time I saw him before his illness was at the "Maly Yaroslavetz" restaurant, where I, Laroche and Glazunov29 had gone in order to see him. We found him in a completely irresponsible condition. As soon as he saw me he immediately, as if habitually, burst out against Rubinstein, Balakirev, and Rimsky-Korsakov for their erudition and repeated several times: "Must create, create" and then became silent. Then he raised his sleepy eyes to me and asked unexpectedly: "And with what do you remove spots from your cut- away?"--"I try not to make any, M.P.," I answered. "And you know, I do it with green soap," said he, "it takes them out very nicely, very nicely." And he became completely silent. On this our conversation with him ended . . . --MIKHAIL IPPOLITOV-IVANOV


215a. NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV to SEMYON KRUGLIKOV, Moscow [Extract]

November 9, 1880

. . . One can learn by oneself; sometimes one needs advice, but one has to learn, that is, one must not neglect harmony and counterpoint

____________________
28
Dimitri Stasov must have defended one revolutionary too many, for he himself was "restricted" to Tula in March, being allowed to return to St. Petersburg at the end of August.
29
The fifteen-year-old Alexander Glazunov had begun private lessons in elementary theory of composition with Rimsky-Korsakov in December, 1879.

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