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

By Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky; Jay Leyda et al. | Go to book overview

vinced of this truth. Such beggars and swindlers are here as the light has never shone upon. Such strange manners, such bustling struck me especially.--In general Moscow transported me to another world-- an ancient world (a world that, although filthy, attracts me pleasantly for some reason) and it made a very pleasant impression upon me. You know, I have been a cosmopolite, but now I feel a certain regeneration; everything Russian seems suddenly near to me, and I would be annoyed if Russia should be treated without ceremony; at the present time I believe I am really beginning to love it. Ach, I forgot: in the Arsenal Hall stands the stagecoach of Tzar Al[exei] Mikh[ailovich], manufactured abroad--an enormous thing. Inside on a European seat was installed an armchair (a sort of porte-chaise). As I looked in I 〈remembered〉 imagined to myself the figure of Al. Mikh., issuing his orders to the voyevodes whom he is sending to Little Russia.39

Till we meet, Mili, Your MODESTE


11. TO MILI BALAKIREV

20 Sept., 1859, 10:30 P.M.

MILI,

The four-hand arrangement of your overture40 is baked. I am contented with the transcription; all the tutti sections (in the orchestra) turned out very successfully, the interwoven imitative passages play easily, and in short everything is in order! Come early tomorrow, around six (while we can be alone) so that we can go through the overture together and can correct it where necessary. Come Mili, now I want to finish this quickly.

Your MODESTE

P.S. The Cuis expect you tomorrow.

____________________
39
Little Russia is the rather derogatory name which was used in the Russian Empire to designate the Ukraine. Musorgsky uses both terms.
40
Overture to King Lear. One of the successes of this theater season was a German production of King Lear in which the title role was enacted in English by the famous Negro actor, Ira Aldridge. Attracted by this production, Balakirev's plan was to do a complete incidental score for this play. Vladimir Stasov encouraged this, hunting up and coyping old English tunes for him to use. It is also possible to identify the transcribed overture as Balakirev Overture on Three Russian Themes; Musorgsky's manuscript transcription is undated.

-18-

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