My music must be an artistic reproduction of human speech in all its finest shades. That is, the sounds of human speech, as the external manifestations of thought and feeling must, without exaggeration or violence, become true, accurate music.
Letter to Lyudmila Shestakova, July 30, 1868; Jay Leyda and Sergei Bertensson The Musorgsky Reader (1947) p. 113.
In poetry there are two giants, rough Homer and fine Shakespere. In music likewise we have two giants, Beethoven, the thinker, and the superthinker Berlioz.Modest Mussorgsky
I regard the people as a great being, inspired by a single idea. This is my problem. I strove to solve it in this opera.Modest Mussorgsky
Mussorgsky, in his vocal efforts, appears wilfully eccentric. His style impresses the Western ear as barbarously ugly.Modest Mussorgsky