already grown powerfully in music. Balakirev wished to introduce me to the music of his Circle and, above all, to the symphony of the "absentee" (this was Rimsky-Korsakov, then a naval officer, just departed [October 20] on a lengthy cruise to North America). Musorgsky sat down with Balakirev at the piano ( Musorgsky at primo, Balakirev at secundo). The playing was not such as had been at our first two meetings. I was struck by the brilliance, the intelligence and energy of the performance as well as by the beauty of the piece. They played the finale of the symphony. It was here that Musorgsky found out that I also had some sort of inclination to compose music, and he began to ask me to show them something. I was terribly ashamed, and I categorically refused . . . 96--ALEXANDER BORODIN
February 26, 1863
. . . Won't you be able to drop in on me for the evening (1) in order to release me from too heavy a dose of Modinka, who threatens us from dinnertime on and (2) in order to hear what I've sketched on Richard97 . . . ?
April 22, 1863
. . . Modinka presented some sort of musical monstrosity to us-- supposedly a trio to his scherzo, a huge, awkward monstrosity. Here are some church chants of endless length and the usual Modinkian pedaling and so forth--all this is unclear, strange, awkward and by no means a trio . . .____________________