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

his superior, he forgave Musorgsky absolutely anything, though the latter did no work and very often arrived in a state of intoxication after sleepless nights. Terti Ivanovich never reprimanded him for it, and admitting his indulgent attitude, said: "I am the servant of artists."--NIKOLAI LAVROV


198b. MILI BALAKIREV to VLADIMIR STASOV [Extract]

October 13, 1878

. . . Musorgsky is such a physical wreck that he can hardly become more of a corpse than he is at present . . .


199. To ARSENI GOLENISHCHEV-KUTUZOV

to Count Arseni Golenishchev-Kutuzov

from Modeste Musorgsky.

Coming just as your drama Tzar Vasili Shuisky is to be artistically embodied [in print], your friendly thought to dedicate this work of art to me, sinner that I am, caressed me. I now pester as I've never pestered before. Yesterday's séance has confirmed me in the justice of the cause. Your sincere relationship to historical events, your insight into the old chronicles, your sincerity, and the warmth and vitality that comes from this, embodying historical figures and events--all this moves me with great love for your powers.--It seems to me that your field for artistic work is--history, the chronicles of Russia. It looks as though, "in our time, when and so forth," as Dobroliubov loved to jest, the study of history, and its communication in artistic forms are jobs required both by the creative instinct of an artist and by Russian society. Understand: contemporary novels were written in a period when nothing was being undertaken, but we sinners live in the interval between the undertaking of certain measures and their repression. Is a modern novel possible where the relation of an individual towards human society et vice versa is one way today, and tomorrow--as They may decree? Only something permanent (to a certain time) can give an artist a certain figure out of a total of events; otherwise--this artistic figure, in order to be artistic, must portray something like a "tour de Babel."--If you, dear friend, should take up a new drama, a hitherto unheard-of subject--the life-campaign-

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