Musorgsky Remembered

Alexandra Orlova, Editor, Frederick Morrison, Translator, Veronique Zaytzeff, Translator Indiana University Press $11.95 (186p) ISBN 978-0-253-34264-5
Orlova, a musicologist who specializes in Russian composers, here assembles 36 reminiscences by Mussorgsky's contemporaries, following the composer, born in 1839, from his student days to his death in 1881. Included are recollections by critics, pupils, performers, friends who helped him through alcoholism, poverty and illness, and such composers as Rimsky-Korsakov and other members of the Balakirev circle, the group of musicians with whom Mussorgsky was intimate. Overall, readers learn more about the composer's appearance, personal relationships, brilliance as a pianist and pathetic inability to cope with the world than about his compositions. Certain of the memoirs, particularly that of Golenishchev-Kutuzov, on whose poems Mussorgsky based a number of compositions, are biased and unreliable, according to Orlova, who provides extensive endnotes in an attempt to establish the facts. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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