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

true that there has never been anything like it in music heretofore. However, you know that in originality and inventiveness Musoryanin outstrips everyone and is simply a genius. Even your idealist Balakirev, against whose grain Musoryanin's realistic music goes, agrees with this . . .


65. To ALEXANDRA and NADEZHDA PURGOLD, Pillnitz near Dresden

Petrograd 13 July 1870

To hostile Doña Anna-Laura and to the dear Orchestra who makes lunga pausa, greeting, notwithstanding, Doña Anna-Laura's and the dear Orchestra's imperturbable silence. Ludmila Ivanovna delivered to me in detail your fit of fury, Doña Anna-Laura, and here is my reply to it:

"I am an enemy of advice and a friend of conference."

I ask you to arrange the title-page of "The Seminarist" according to your own kind judgment, but preferably with simplicity--I love that as much as I love conference.

At present, when Prussia and others, and at this immediate present, when France without any others, intend to grapple with each other,30 the position of the "musical priestesses" intrigues me.

I imagine that the very dear, although capricious, "priestesses" are contemplating the unknown quantity--who will beat whom? And having such a thought, I do not doubt that the outcome of this question is slightly disturbing to the "priestesses" and disturbs because the "priestesses" are unable to determine the outcome, because, strictly speaking, no one, aside from those contenders, can decide it: I think I have deliberated truly.--You must be surrounded by the tragic scene of war preparations, a scene of "sacrificial victims" always as innocent as sheep, if these latter are really innocent.--Danger threatens the Vaterland, which means that the limbs of the Vaterland must be inflamed with the zeal to kill men--and the limbs are inflamed till amputation.--From the other side the grrrande nation [ France], stung by the wise Schönhausen serpent [ Bismarck] and the

____________________
30
If M. dated his letter by the Russian calendar, these stages of the Franco- Prussian crisis had already been reached: German mobilization on July 15, and French declaration of war on July 19. Russia's benevolent neutrality was guaranteed by Gorchakov.

-146-

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