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

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

this is the sort of ensemble that would be heretofore unheard anywhere. And at this very moment, after this ensemble, would be heard the chorus of dissenters in the distance, celebrating their first victory (far from completed). This might not be bad!!!

Throughout this entire act or scene Golitzin, in my opinion, must be knavish, foxy and cowardly, but he still counts on success, but behind the backs of the others, the strong ones.

Till Wednesday.

Your

V. S.


183. To LUDMILA SHESTAKOVA, St. Petersburg

Tzarskoye Selo. New Places

Zhukovsky's dacha NO. 7.

31 August, 1876

My dear little dove, Ludmila Ivanovna, just as I was going to have a little chat with you, you already scold me, my own, for my silence. And I wanted to write, not an ordinary letter, but one with a little surprise, that the infinitely disorderly Musinka has finished the 2nd act of Khovanshchina. Well, there's nothing to be done about it. Today I will complete the act, while my heart, or as much as I have left of it, tells me that only those who love can scold. Why should I conceal it from you, little dove? In each of your letters there is so much bright and invigorating sentiment, that with such moral support one would not mind acquiescing in the inhuman excrescences of modern society. How invariably good you are, little dove. Now I will tackle the completion of the third act of Khovanshchina. I have composed a gypsy for The Fair at Sorochintzi--and I am able to report to you that this gypsy is quite a dashing fellow and rogue. I've been dreaming about certain scenes at the fair, half graceful, half comic. Something hovers before me for the love scene between Parasya and the young peasants. And how much more I dream of doing! In music, my "eyes are bigger than my stomach."21

What is this perpetual mourning that pursues N. V. Stasov?22 Like a real beast, fate claws his heart to shreds. Horrible. And while you, little dove, with your loving soul, bring comfort to the wounded man, fate plagues you with the petty squabbles of petty people. Dear little

____________________
21
The Russian figure of speech is "priest's eyes."
22
Nikolai Stasov's family has suffered a series of illnesses and deaths.

-346-

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