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

ing one or another Slavonic nationality. Thus, the Great Russian element was represented by Glinka's Kamarinskaya, Little Russia by Dargomizhsky's Kasachok, the Czech element by Mr. Balakirev's Overture on Czech Themes, the Serbian by Mr. Rimsky-Korsakov's Overture on Serbian Themes, the Slovak by Liszt's Fantasia on Slovak (incorrectly called Hungarian) Themes, the Polish--by an aria from Mr. Moniuszko's opera57 . . .

We conclude our note with a wish: God grant that our Slavonic guests never forget today's concert, and God grant that they may preserve forever the memory of how much poetry, feeling, talent and ability is possessed by the small but already powerful little heap of Russian musicians.58


45. To NIKOLAI RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, [St. Petersburg?]

Minkino Farm.59 5 July '67

MY DEAR AND KIND KORSINKA,

On the twenty-third of June, on the eve of St. John's Day [Midsummer Day] was finished, with God's help, St. John's Night on Bald Mountain--a musical picture with the following program: (1) assembly of the witches, their chatter and gossip; (2) cortege of Satan; (3) unholy glorification of Satan; and (4) witches' sabbat. The score was written directly on white without a draft--it was begun on the tenth day of June, and by the twenty-third there was joy and triumph. The composition is dedicated to Mili, according to his own orders and, needless to say, with my personal pleasure.--You must imagine, my dear, the situation--doing one clean score without sketches of any kind, and my trepidation at forwarding the score to the binder. In my picture your favorite bits passed over into the orchestra very successfully. Besides this in the general development of the composition many new things have been done; in the unholy glorification, for example, there is a bit for which Cesar will sentence me to the conservatory. Here it is:

____________________
and Bohemian artists and writers then visiting St. Petersburg. Balakirev completed his contribution to this program while still in Prague (composing swiftly for the only time in his life), and sent themes and instructions on to Rimsky- Korsakov, for his Serbian Fantasy.
57
A gesture of contrition for unjust suspicions? There were two other vocal numbers on the program, Glinka "Midnight Review," sung by Petrov, and Balakirev's "Gold Fish," sung by Yulia Platonova.
58
This now famous term, moguchaya kuchka, was immediately seized from this article and used by both enemies and friends of "the little heap."
59
Philarète's estate. The brothers had sold Karevo.

-85-

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