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

committee,55 he told me, decided: if I find at the rehearsal that it could safely be performed in public--they will play it.--An instinct of self-preservation made me tell Stasov that the chorus is agitato and short, and to make the agitato effective, it would have to be preceded by an andante, even a short one, and for this reason I requested them to give it back to me. Perhaps this imbecile outfit really supposes that it can teach me.--I have my chorus back, and am heartily glad that a collision with Rubinstein has been averted.--Basta! I've had quite enough of the Society.--My brother kisses you, my dear, and maman bows and asks me to tell you that she's making jam for you.--Give me an answer, Mili, I'm sure that you will approve of my conduct. I kiss you warmly.

MODESTE

P.S. The Selivachevs56 are enchanted with you; I was at their place yesterday, and we had a nice talk with the students.


19. To MILI BALAKIREV

[Postmarked: 25 December, 1860 St. Petersburg]

Thanks, Mili, for letting me off the writing of another scherzo, all the more as just now I am in no scherzoish mood, but incline rather to a fine andante. I shall work at part writing, beginning with something in three voices [parts]. I intend to accomplish something really worth while, appropriate to the present occasion; it is a wholesome stimulant for me to think that my harmony looks like nonsense; this must not be, and enough for that. Don't be too vexed about your overture, don't forget it was my first attempt at transcription, as my ar

____________________
55
Dimitri Stasov was one of the organizers and moving spirits of the Imperial Russian Musical Society, whose concert committee was headed by Anton Rubinstein. This appears to be one of many skirmishes between "official" music, led by Anton Rubinstein and the Grand Duchess Yelena Pavlovna, and the "rebels," led by Balakirev and Vladimir Stasov. Rubinstein's firm fortifications--popular acceptance, his prolific composing talents, the conservatory, the Grand Duchess's financial support--worried the members of the Balakirev Circle into many desperate words and acts. They refer to him as "Dubinstein" (Dumbinstein) and "Tupinstein" (Dullinstein).
56
Selivachev eventually took twenty lessons from Balakirev. Graduating from the course of study left him no less a dilettante than when he started. Elsewhere, Musorgsky describes him as an "enfant gâté with seven Fridays a week."

-27-

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