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The first symphony
``In one way or another, towards May 1862, the first movement, the Scherzo, and the Finale of the symphony had been composed and somehow orchestrated by me. The Finale in particular won general approval at the time. My attempts to write an Adagio met with no success, and it was useless to hope for any: in those days one was somehow ashamed to write a cantabile melody; the fear of dropping into the commonplace precluded any kind of sincerity. ...I succeeded in composing the Andante while we lay at anchor in England, and sent the score to Balakirev by mail. I wrote it without a piano (we had none); perhaps once or twice I managed to play the entire composition at a restaurant on shore.''


Rio de Janeiro
``What a striking place! The bay, shut in on all sides, but spacious, is surrounded by green-clad mountains topped by Corcovado, at whose foot the city lies stretched. It was June-- the winter month of the Southern Hemisphere. But what a wonderful winter under the Tropic of Capricorn! 77 F.... The New World, the Southern Hemisphere, a tropical winter in June! Everything was different, not the same as with us in Russia.''


Borodin
``Borodin was an exceedingly cordial and cultured man, pleasant and oddly witty to talk with. On visiting him I often found him working in the laboratory which adjoined his apartment. When he sat over his retorts filled with some colourless gas and distilled it by means of a tube from one vessel into another, I used to tell him that he was transfusing emptiness into vacancy.''


The appointment to the St. Petersburg Conservatory
``Realizing that I was totally unprepared for the proposed appointment, I gave no definite answer and promissed to think the matter over.... I the author of Sadko, Antar, and The Maid of Pskov, compositions that were coherent and well-sounding, compositions that the public and many musicians approved, I was dilettante and knew nothing, This I frankly confess and attest before the world.... I was young and self-confident; my self-confidence was encouraged by others and I joined the Conservatory. ...Thus having been undeservedly accepted at the Conservatory as a professor, I soon became one of its best and possibly its very best pupil, judging by the quantity and value of the information it gave me!''


Bird's songs in Snow Maiden
``Some songlets of birds were borrowed for the dance of the birds... One of the motives of Spring (in the Prologue and Act IV) is the altogether accurately reproduced song of a bullfinch which had lived rather long in our cage; only that our dear little bullfinch sang it in F-sharp major, while I took it a tone lower for the convenience of the violin harmonics.''


Moussorgsky's unfinished music
``If Moussorgsky's compositions are destined to live unfaded for fifty years after their author's death (when all his works will became the property of any and every publisher), such an archeologically accurate edition will always be possible, as the manuscripts went to the Public Library on leaving me. For the present, though, there was need of an edition for performances, for practical artistic purposes, for making his colossal talent known, and not for the mere studying of his personality and artistic sins.''

 

 

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