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

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

But who's this Caesar, this Cui,
Who has turned columnist,
In order to throw burning words
To delight novices?
Like William Ratcliff, he spreads fear:
For even ancient Bach
And Beethoven, nothing to him,
Stand in the prisoners' dock.
He wastes little love on Russians:
O, how many he's worsted!
Why, Edwards, your sword's all gory,
For famous blood thirsted?. . .

[ 1875]


167. To LUDMILA SHESTAKOVA

17 January, 1876 [Saturday]

Little dove Ludmila Ivanovna, here's what I ask you. Borodin and I should like to come to you on Thursday 22 January at 8:00 P.M., with the object of seeing you and of examining Borodin's heroic [second] symphony. If this is not inconvenient for you, little dove, do allow us--you see, all good musical matters start at your home and are done there: like a tomcat, I'm getting used to the house. Borodin will submit a petition to you on his own.

I saw grandpa [ Petrov] at the beginning of the week--everything's all right. I expect he'll be on his feet in a few days, and then I'll go directly to place the letter in the petition box.2 I think that if our Thursday date holds, I'll report on everything to you in person. Only, if possible, no one on Thursday besides the two of us. I feel sorry for people who are leaving "this vale of tears and sorrow,"3 but if they find this necessary, there's nothing to be said, nothing I can do. Of that terrible thing [?] of which you write, little dove, no one knows anything, so thinking about it is quite unnecessary--and to no purpose. Guard yourself from individuals--society needs you, do not yield to exhausting feelings; flap your little wings like a bold little birdie and cry: "We won't allow it."4 This is how it is, my dear little dove; remember, you are needed by our art, you are thrice dear to us. Take care of yourself.

MUSINKA

____________________
2
Asking Trepov to approve the planned festivities for Petrov.
3
From the mass for the dead.
4
Varlaam's words in the Kromy scene of Boris.

-326-

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