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

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

go, and not some sort of concoction. Till we meet soon, my dear, send me some little message--you know how your talks strengthen me in the struggle and in work.

Your MUSORYANIN

My greeting to all of yours and to A. V. Meyer.


182a. VLADIMIR STASOV to MODESTE MUSORGSKY, Tzarskoye Selo

Nadezhd[inskaya St.] 9, August 16, '76

How altogether happy you made me today, Mu-sa-lya-nin--Horsie!!! You are truly sitting in "new places." And hiking for 100 versts, and writing such nice letters to me, and to Ludmila Ivanovna, about the things that you're again cooking up for your opera. Let's hold off your starting lessons in polyphony with Rimsky, and meanwhile, how like a lion you move ahead! I had a real holiday reading how you are now peering at your 2nd scene, and how you seek there not technique, not music, but a profound inner structure, historical painting of this sort must be on fresco imperishable from any fire, and each brush- stroke must smell of the eagle's talon. You've again gladdened me, and I'll wait even more impatiently than before for that minute when, after finishing off the rich pie and the fish-soup, we shall start our pacing up and down on Ludm. Ivan.'s parquet floor, attending to our business. Perhaps I can then succeed in offering you this or that of some use to you, but meanwhile listen to some of my preliminary considerations:

There is everything in abundance in your opera so far--nationality, and genuine historical coloring ("Is it so, children,"19 etc.), and opposed factions, and contrasting nations and peoples and opposed characters and tendencies, mean and good people, clean and dirty, serious and funny--everything, everything in abundance, only one thing is lacking: an active political element, undertaking something, aimed at some purpose. But your letter today seems to show me that you have felt this shortcoming and this lack of an important feature. If this is so, I implore you even more than before, and I would stretch out a hundred hands if, like some Indian god, I had them, to help. Yes, yes, I too always found a great gap here in the opera: it always seemed to me that despite all the perfection and unprecedented novelty of the por-

____________________
19
From Prince Ivan Khovansky's demagogic speech to the streltzi in Act I.

-344-

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