Rasskaz o brate
My Brother’s Story
Filaret Musorgsky (1836-1889) was the composer’s brother and the father of Taniushka and Goga Musorgsky. They are the dedicates of the song “S kukloi” (“Tiapa, bai”) [With the doll, (Sleep, Tiapa)], from Detskaia [The nursery]. These recollections are in the form of letters written to Stasov at his request when Stasov was preparing Musorgsky’s biography.
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While at the Cadet School, he continued to take lessons with Herke until 1854; however, in his last two years, i.e., in 1852 and 1853, he went for his lessons only once a week, on Saturdays.1 In school, he played the piano a lot, and he was constantly present at the lessons that Herke gave to the daughter of the Director of the Cadet School, General Sutgof. He often performed in the Director’s home; however, at that time, his only composition was the polka Porte-enseigne.
He was a very good student at the Cadet School: always among the top ten; he was very close to many of his comrades and was well liked by them. He would visit the homes of his comrades’ parents, such as the Evreinovs, the Kruglikovs, and the Smel’skiis.
He was an avid reader of history. He also enthusiastically read German philosophy and translated Lavater,2 but I do not know the location of that translation.
If my memory serves me well, Modest made the acquaintance of Dargomyzhsky through Vladimir Petrovich Opochinin, in 18603 I think, and through Dargomyzhsky he met the Shilovskiis. He often paid visits to the Shilovskiis, at their estate near Moscow, in Glebov. He was their guest for the summers of 1860 and 1861.
In boyhood and adolescence, and also when he was an adult, he always regarded everything that had to do with the people and the peasants with a special love; he considered the Russian peasant a real man (in this he was sadly mistaken). As a result of this attitude, he suffered material losses and hardship. It was precisely this love for the peasants that forced him to go to work, in 1863, for the Engineering Department, and because of a staff reduction, in 1868 he began to work for the Forestry Department of the State Ministry of Properties.4
During the years 1858 to 1863, he lived with different members of his family; until 1862 he lived with mother and me, and in the latter part of 1862 and 1863, with me and my wife.5 In 1864 and 1865 he lived in an artel with Levashev, the Loginovs and the Lobkovskiis,6 during this period he translated famous French and German criminal cases. In the fall of 1865, he fell seriously ill. It was the onset of a frightening disease (delirium tremens). As a result, my wife made Modest leave the artel and brought him home (against his will, at first). He lived with our family from 1865 through a part of 1868, at which date we left Petersburg for good. After 1868, I am unable to provide exact information on where and how Modest lived.
In general, Modest began to compose more-serious works when he took lessons with Balakirev. As for Herke, he had only taught him piano, nothing more. He taught him no musical theory; and Modest composed his first polka while he was still unaware of theory.