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

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217b. NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV to SEMYON KRUGLIKOV, Moscow

Petersburg. 4 February 1881

Yesterday the first concert of the Free School was given. The program was the following: (1) Antar--it went all right and was well received; (2) the chorus Destruction of Sennacherib by Musorgsky--it went well, but there wasn't a very satisfactory balance between chorus and orchestra, Musorgsky took a bow . . .


217c. MILI BALAKIREV to NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV [Extract]

February 10, 1881

. . . Send me Musorgsky's song [from The Fair at Sorochintzi], I'll orchestrate it soon, so that you won't be torn away from your work . . .


217d. NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV to MILI BALAKIREV [Extract]

. . . am sending you [the song from] Fair at Sorochintzi; Musorgsky orchestrated it up to the Allegro. If you have time, complete it. He used 4 horns in E-flat, 2 trombones in E-flat and tympani in G-flat and D-flat. In the Allegro he wants a tambourine and a triangle . . .

Farewell to Music

. . . It is very probable that everything was weighing on him--his spiritual excitements as well as his material privations. He was living in terrible poverty. One day [ February 11, 1881] he called on me in an extreme nervous, excited state, and said that he had no place to go, that nothing was left for him but to walk the streets, that he had no further resources and saw no way out of his situation. What was I to do? I tried to console him, saying that although I didn't have much, I would share what I had with him. This calmed him somewhat. On this very evening we were going together to General Sokhansky, whose daughter, our pupil, was to sing for the first time in her home to a large gathering. She sang very well and this, apparently, made an impression on Musorgsky. I noticed that his accompaniment was nervous. Everyone remarked that she was singing very well for such a short period of study. Everyone was pleased and her mother and father were very grateful to us. After the singing, dancing began, and I was invited to play cards. Suddenly Sokhansky's son rushed to me and asked me if Musorgsky suffered from fits. I assured him that as long as I had known him I had never heard of anything

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