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

pletely; but when one thinks that a competent Russian has undertaken such a blessed matter, then one becomes joyful and consoled. Don't forget, that in scientific matters, the bringing together of nationalities is an axiom, their mutual cognition is also an axiom. In the civilized family of nations it is impossible to be naked--one must be clothed. If each one brings a tiny thread for his necessary clothing, thanks to him; but you, friend, are contributing an entire costume. That's so. You have no time, yes and it's time for me to sleep. I embrace you, friend.

To your dearest lady and to the kiddies, my cordial greeting.

MODESTE

15-16 May--night

1876


176a. VLADIMIR STASOV to MODESTE MUSORGSKY

Tuesday, 18 May, '76

Mu-sya-lya-nin, yesterday I was disturbed first by the "second advent" of the admiral [ Rimsky-Korsakov] and then by the "first" of A. N. Engelhardt, and I didn't have time to express even a quarter of what I intended to say. So I shut up at once and in my heart decided: to put it all on paper at a time when no one would interrupt by bowing himself into the room or by sitting silently in the corner like our spectacled commodore.

So, sir, this is what I must tell you; but only remember, for God's sake, that all this is neither a demand nor an admonition (which you, least of all, need), but simply question-marks placed here by a man from the public, madly devoted to you and to your affairs.

I repeat: in its present form your opera has too many choruses and too little activity of individual personalities, characters. I dare say that your warmest partisans (not to mention your opponents), hearing your opera on the stage, admiring the gifts and originality of the music, would ask: "But why are the characters of Golitzin, Marfa, etc. in the opera! Throw them out and the opera would lose nothing-- these characters are purely inserted ones, superfluous to all the action, and not in the least interwoven into either the motivation or the denouement of the plot." I also am ready to ask this question, but at the same time I realize how this jerkiness and external episodic quality happened: because the previous plan had to be slightly changed be-

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