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

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

recuperation of her husband and she wanted to write to you today. I await your articles impatiently. I went in to the business-office of Novoye Vremya, took those issues that were on hand with articles of yours and requested that each issue in which an article of yours appears would be put aside for me. For now this seems to be all.48

Your

L. SHEST[AKOVA]


198a. LUDMILA SHESTAKOVA to VLADIMIR STASOV, Paris [Extract]

August 9, 1878

. . . In conclusion let us speak of a man close to you--that is, Musorgsky. All this while I was silent about him--because I did not want to distress you. For several days last week, almost continuously, he appeared at my house looking dreadful and stayed quite a long while; seeing that things were getting worse, I felt I had to do something, and in order to save him and to protect myself, I wrote him a letter, asking him not to call on me when suffering from his nervous irritation (as he calls it); I wrote him everything in the letter, but of course I put it as gently as I could, and so, yesterday evening, my dear Musinka appeared in complete order, and gave me his word never to distress me again. We shall see how things go, but for some time at least, I am certain that he will keep himself in hand. He asked me to tell you that he has composed a small scene in Khovanshchina between Marfa and Andrei which, he reckons, will satisfy you. It's too bad about Musorgsky, he's such a wonderful person! If there were only some way to pull him away from Naumov, I think he might be rescued definitely . . .

A Servant of Artists

A close friend of Balakirev's, Government Comptroller T[erti] I. Filippov, formerly a great expert on Russian folk-songs,49 saved Musorgsky from starvation by getting him a post [on October 1, 1878) in the Government Control,50 at which he [ Filippov] became indulgent to the point of being unfair and even compromising himself, and as

____________________
48
The close of Fyodor's parrot story in Boris.
49
Forty Russian folk-songs recorded by Rimsky-Korsakov from Filippov's memory were harmonized by Rimsky-Korsakov and published in 1882.
50
On the notice of Musorgsky's transfer from the Forestry Department to Government Control, there is a scribbled remark by his former chief: "Very glad!"

-371-

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