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

showed fragments of Igor--much of it is genuine. You, they say, will soon come here, it will be better to explain everything when we meet, but all joking aside, one must joke, seriously: one must joke--that's the thing! In the amalgam of Borodin's dramatic creative power, and it's a very attractive one, too, sits a lecturing tendency: you, as an artist, can sense this in a twinkling. I hope you have understood me: Borodin commands his heroes to draw conclusions from a collision of facts and casual incidents--as you wish, it's all the same. With all the attractiveness of the composition the hearer has no way out, and there is only one: "Draw closer, gentlemen, look at the wild beast" and so on.

Well, when you come--you'll hear.

O, bronchitis!

Your

MODESTE

I beg you to give your dearest Countess-mamà my sincere greeting.

THE SAME MODESTE

They say, 3 October, '75.


153. To VLADIMIR STASOV

Vas. Ostr. 5th line, No. 10

14 October, '75

MY DEAR généralissime,

It's a nasty business. Bronchitis is winning. I've swallowed powders, and today I had a talk with Doctor Carrick. I'll have to swallow calomel--brrr!--this means it's an inflammation. Bronchitis has so choked me and continues to choke me, that all our affairs have come to a standstill, and I'm in some sort of struggle, between drowsiness and vitality; it's a pity Heil Dir im Siegerkranz, o Calomel mit Eulapa vermischt!38

How marvelous, I feel a little easier. The calomel has worked. I started this letter with a vile, melancholy feeling of some sort of long separation from you, my dear, and it looks as though you, généralissime, are the one who understands me. And then in this very minute

____________________
38

Heil Dir im Siegerkranz,
Herrscher des Vaterlands,
Heil König Dir
!

A German hymn with a melody borrowed from "God Save the King!"--a melody that also served as the Russian national anthem before Lvov God Save the Tzar.

-309-

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