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

61a. LUDMILA SHESTAKOVA to VLADIMIR NIKOLSKY [Extract]

June 1. 1870

. . . On Sunday evening I was at the Purgolds, where it was not at all boring, and I was taken home from there at one o'clock in the morning, not only by our company but also by the hosts and their guests; there were almost twenty of us and, truly, hearing the talk and laughter, the residents along those streets must have thought us a crowd of drunks. Yesterday I had the two Purgolds, Korsinka, Mili, Bach, your dyainka [ Musorgsky], Paleček and Petrov. There was lots of music and singing and I felt fine. But it was too bad that you didn't hear . . . what your dyainka was doing with the Purgolds, what he said, was simply awful; and later in mezza voce in their presence he whispers to me quietly (in Bach's manner): "You can do anything you want with these people. They won't understand"; he was awfully prankish, he simply astonished me; I had never seen him like this before . . .


62. To ALEXANDRA and NADEZHDA PURGOLD, Pillnitz near Dresden

18 June 1870 Petrograd On the very Thursday

To Doña Anna-Laura and to the charming Orchestra, greetings. He is grateful, he writes, he sends17--he long since risked his neck, because risk is necessary.--Thus the Seminarist is abandoned to the printer's sacrificial altar.--So be it!

He is very grateful--he asks the dear Orchestra to keep the proofreading in mind; he asks this especially because he is assured of the Orchestra's good and even excellent memory--of her musical memory.

He is extremely grateful and asks to take care of the sending of the sacrificed "Seminarist" to his address, notwithstanding the censor, because in the above-mentioned "Seminarist" there is nothing forbid-

____________________
17
Note on the envelope: Einliegend fünfzehn Thaler. This was to pay for the printing abroad of Musorgsky song "The Seminarist," which the Purgold sisters were to watch over during their trip abroad that summer. The printer was to be W. Beinicke, in Leipzig. The manuscript of "The Seminarist" is dated "27 Sept. 1866," and the dedication is to Ludmila Ivanovna Shestakova. On one of the rare copies of the censored first edition, a presentation inscription to Arseni Golenishchev-Kutuzov contains this remark: "I did this one morning as I woke, in '66, beginning only with the rhythm."

-136-

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