The Musorgsky Reader: A Life of Modeste Petrovich Musorgsky in Letters and Documents

By Jay Leyda; Sergei Bertensson et al. | Go to book overview

bumping into Vanka the Terrible.--Please write, little friend Korsinka, I thirst greatly for your missives.--Ludmila Ivanovna is ailing and feels sad--mauvais! I have been dropping in to see her, but it doesn't help: I think it's difficult now for her to write you. Mili had a consultation about his ear in Jericho, but now I think he is all right. I don't correspond with the chemical brigadier [Borodin] and I don't know where he now drinks his tea. I have news from the Purgolds-- the proofs of "The Seminarist" are already read; I have prepared the rest of the songs35 and the penny-paradise for the press.--Firmly kiss you, little friend. Write me.

MODESTE


66a. VLADIMIR STASOV to MODESTE MUSORGSKY

Tuesday, 26 July, '70

I send you a sketch of the libretto for Bobyl.36 I will be very glad if this thing proves useful to you. And it seems to me, that here are types, humor, and poetry, and even tragedy--enough of everything, and the tasks are exactly fitted to your nature. I'm going to Pargolovo on Friday evening or Saturday morning. This means that, if you find it necessary, you can let me know before then, personally or by letter, of any remarks or questions you may have. It seems to me that it would be best of all for you to stop in on Thursday evening: I shall be home with Meyer, your new and unexpected admirateur.37 But however, as you see fit. Till we meet.

Your V. S.

[The sketched scenario follows.]

____________________
35
In 1871, along with Penny Paradise, there were printed several of Musorgsky's songs which he had long since composed: "Cradle Song" ( 1865), "The Goat" ( 1867), "The Little Orphan Girl" ( 1868), "Children's Song" ( 1868), and "Yeremushka's Cradle Song" ( 1868).
36
A bobyl is a recluse--but not necessarily a hermit. In Stasov's libretto, his bobyl is accused of poaching on some private forest preserves. Did Stasov hope to catch the interest of a composer part of whose government job was the prosecution of poachers on state lands? The origin of this opera project is described by Stasov in the following extract.
37
Alexander Vasilyevich Meyer was a lively character in this era's intellectual life in spite of the fact that his only concrete claim to fame was as the brother of the doctor who was the original of the Dr. Werner in Lermontov Hero of Our Times, and in spite of being blind for his last thirty years of life. He was a friend of the whole Stasov family and he and Musorgsky became great friends.

Musorgsky once referred to him as "Alexander-Gottfried-Heinrich-Karl-Max-

-149-

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