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

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

good you see in it, I can't make out! I've no sympathy whatever with your innovators, and now I may have to suffer for them!"

"The more honor to you, Your Excellency," I replied: "that not having any personal sympathy for this opera, you so energetically protect the interests of Russian composers."

Everything was now arranged, apparently. But no, a new obstacle: Mr. Napravnik, shrinking and inwardly furious, represented to the Director that he had no time to take the rehearsals as he had so much to do otherwise. Then we arranged to have private rehearsals at my house, conducted by Musorgsky himself. The chorus, by order of the Director, was to be trained by Pomazansky. And thus it was. We set to work full of zeal, studying with love the music which had enraptured us, and in one month we were ready. We presented ourselves to our conductor Napravnik and demanded rehearsal with the orchestra. He scowled, but undertook the task and of course, with his usual conscientiousness did his duty admirably . . . --YULIA PLATONOVA1


114. To FRANZ LISZT, Pesth (A Collective Telegram)

[ October 28, 1873]

A circle of Russians, devoted to art, believing in its eternal forward- moving activity and aspiring to participate in this activity, warmly greet you on the day of your jubilee.2 As a genius composer and executant who has broadened the boundaries of art, as a great leader in the struggle against ancient routine, as an indefatigable artist before whose colossal and lasting activity we bow.

BALAKIREV, BESSEL, BORODIN, CUI, MUSORGSKY, RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, SHCHERBACHOV, STASOV.


115. To LUBOV KARMALINA3

In Petrograd, 5 December '73

MY DEAR LADY LUBOV IVANOVNA,

You flashed across our musical family. I understood you. You are leaving for afar. As a farewell, hear my request: in your leisure hours

____________________
1
Platonova wrote this well-known account of Boris's authorization twelve years after the event (in a letter to Stasov, November 27, 1885), so we may excuse her slightly romanticized freedom of detail in its telling. Her letter to Gedeonov ( April 11, 1873) did not actually demand Boris Godunov as she claims. She asked merely for "a new opera," and furthermore, her contract, as finally signed, omits this condition altogether.
2
In November 1873 there were celebrations in Budapest on the fiftieth anniversary of Liszt's musical career.
3
An intelligent soprano who had studied voice under Lomakin and Italian

-254-

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