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

191. TO ARSENI GOLENISHCHEV-KUTUZOV

[ 5-6 June, 1877]

DEAR FRIEND ARSENI,

I can't come today, but tomorrow I'll come straight from the office, and not alone, but with our "field marshal."34

Your MUSORGSKY


192. To DIMITRI STASOV, St. Petersburg

Tzarskoye Selo. New Places Zhukovsky's dacha, No. 7 14-15 June, '77

Dearest Dimitri Vasilyevich, from the core of my brain to the ventricle of my heart am I grateful to you for your most kind sympathy for Modestus Musoryanin. And I, in order not to waste valuable time, armed myself with my pen and wrote No. 4 of the macabres, i.e., death as a field-marshal, and that's how I entitled it--"Field Marshal." And now, torn by the office, I gather my shreds together in the evening and write a Jewish chorus Jesus Navinus [Joshua],35 which if you recall--at one of the art soirées in your home, was acknowledged by the wonderful Mme. la Baronne Anna Hinzbourg [Gunzbourg] as authentique. And then my opera will also spring up. We shall fly to Zamanilovka; how could it be otherwise? God knows what would have happened if Musoryanin had not suddenly seen your dearest family in the dearest little nest and had not breathed, nor talked with you on fine topics in the Zamanilovka garden. By the end of June I will present the 4th macabre and perhaps by that time Jesus Navinus will have completely conquered the Canaanite so hated by him, and will also present himself for your judgment: si vous voulez bien me donner la permission.

____________________
34
A fourth number for the cycle, Songs and Dances of Death--dated "Tzarskoe Selo, 5 June, year 1877," the date of this letter, and dedicated to its author. Musorgsky had composed another song to a poem by him, "The Vision," dated "6 April, year 1877. S. Petersburg," and dedicated to Yelizaveta Andreyevna Gulevich, sister of Countess Golenishcheva-Kutuzova.
35
The chorus of Joshua is largely a reworking of the "War-Song of the Lybians" from Salammbô, with additions, chiefly a new middle section, based on Mâtho's lament in Act IV of Salammbô. This reworking was done in 1874-75 but the manuscript is dated "Tzarskoe Selo, 2 July 1877," and is dedicated to Nadezhda Rimskaya-Korsakova.

-356-

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