Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
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1839-03-21
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/c1380b12-3909-47d8-a5fd-d20e76123310
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky

Biography

Born into a prosperous land-owning family on a country estate 300 miles south of St Petersburg, Modest Musorgsky first appeared on the Russian musical scene as an elegant 17-year-old army offcer with a dilettantish interest in the arts. A year ...

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Biography

Born into a prosperous land-owning family on a country estate 300 miles south of St Petersburg, Modest Musorgsky first appeared on the Russian musical scene as an elegant 17-year-old army offcer with a dilettantish interest in the arts. A year later, in 1857, he was taken under the wing of Mily Balakirev, an ardent proponent of a genuinely Russian art as well as a fanatical admirer of Berlioz and Liszt. Like the other composers who joined Balakirev’s circle and became known collectively as ‘The Mighty Handful’ (moguchaya kuchka) – Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin and César Cui – Musorgsky gained from the master’s enthusiasms yet missed out on a systematic training in harmony and counterpoint, a defciency which his idiosyncratic genius turned to good use but which was always to be held against him.

Musorgsky’s early works, written under Balakirev’s influence, already show a striking ability to give a visual image a strong musical form: the Intermezzo in modo classico for piano of 1862, later orchestrated, was inspired by a winter scene with a group of peasants plunging and tumbling through snow drifts. Yet it was not until he came in contact with other artists from non-musical spheres that Musorgsky began to focus his thoughts upon creating ‘an independent Russian product, free from German profundity and routine … grown on our country’s soil and nurtured on Russian bread’. He regarded his 1866–7 tone-poem A Night on the Bare Mountain as exactly that, although both Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov found it too unorthodox.

Even more significant was Musorgsky’s determination to render an artistic reproduction of Russian speech and intonation. It began with a highly original sequence of songs, progressed with his unfinished attempt to set every word of Gogol’s play The Marriage as an opera and reached its high water mark in the original 1868–9 version of Boris Godunov; a thorough revision of Boris in 1871–2 inclined more to conventional modes of operatic song and aria, making it more acceptable for presentation on the Imperial Russian stage.

With the successful premiere of Boris Godunov in 1874, Musorgsky’s future might have seemed assured. Yet the heavy drinking that dated back to his army days, severe bouts of depression and an impoverished lifestyle following the loss of the family fortunes with the emancipation of the serfs militated against a steady output.

His highly original piano tribute to an architect friend who died in 1873, Pictures at an Exhibition, was a masterpiece unacknowledged in his lifetime. He also took his individual art of song-writing to new heights with the cycles Sunless (1874) and Songs and Dances of Death (1875–7); but his operatic ambitions were compromised by a desire to relax with another Gogol comedy, Sorochintsy Fair (1874–80), alongside work on another ‘national music drama’, Khovanshchina (1872–80). Neither was completed by the time of a fatal stroke in February 1881.

Just before his death Ilya Repin painted the tragic image that we always associate with Musorgsky; the works, whether in their incomparably vivid original form or in the well-meaning revisions by Rimsky-Korsakov and others, tell a different story.

Profile © David Nice

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Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Maurice Ravel, China Philharmonic Orchestra & Long Yu
Pictures at an Exhibition (orchestrated by Ravel)
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Pictures at an Exhibition (orchestrated by Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition (orchestrated by Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition (orchestrated by Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition (orchestrated by Ravel)
Margaret Fingerhut & Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
Une Larme [A tear] for piano
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Une Larme [A tear] for piano Une Larme [A tear] for piano Une Larme [A tear] for piano Une Larme [A tear] for piano
Модест Петрович Мусоргский, Samo Hubad & Simfonični orkester RTV Slovenija
Khovanschina - overture
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Khovanschina - overture Khovanschina - overture Khovanschina - overture Khovanschina - overture
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Leopold Stokowski, Leopold Stokowski & London Symphony Orchestra
A Night on the Bare Mountain
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A Night on the Bare Mountain A Night on the Bare Mountain A Night on the Bare Mountain A Night on the Bare Mountain
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Dmitri Shostakovich, Sofia Symphony Orchestra & Ivan Marinov
Prelude and Dance of the Persian Slaves from Khovanschina
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Prelude and Dance of the Persian Slaves from Khovanschina Prelude and Dance of the Persian Slaves from Khovanschina Prelude and Dance of the Persian Slaves from Khovanschina Prelude and Dance of the Persian Slaves from Khovanschina
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Valery Gergiev & Wiener Philharmoniker
A Night on the bare mountain ed. Rimsky-Korsakov
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A Night on the bare mountain ed. Rimsky-Korsakov A Night on the bare mountain ed. Rimsky-Korsakov A Night on the bare mountain ed. Rimsky-Korsakov A Night on the bare mountain ed. Rimsky-Korsakov
Margaret Fingerhut & Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
Children's games [Ein Kinderscherz] - Scherzino for piano
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Children's games [Ein Kinderscherz] - Scherzino for piano Children's games [Ein Kinderscherz] - Scherzino for piano Children's games [Ein Kinderscherz] - Scherzino for piano Children's games [Ein Kinderscherz] - Scherzino for piano
James Crabb, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Geir Draugsvoll & James Crabb & Geir Draugsvoll
Pictures at an Exhibition - The Great Gate of Kiev (arr. for 2 accordions)
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Pictures at an Exhibition - The Great Gate of Kiev (arr. for 2 accordions) Pictures at an Exhibition - The Great Gate of Kiev (arr. for 2 accordions) Pictures at an Exhibition - The Great Gate of Kiev (arr. for 2 accordions) Pictures at an Exhibition - The Great Gate of Kiev (arr. for 2 accordions)
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, Charles Dutoit & Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov
Khovanshchina - Prelude to Act 1...
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Khovanshchina - Prelude to Act 1... Khovanshchina - Prelude to Act 1... Khovanshchina - Prelude to Act 1... Khovanshchina - Prelude to Act 1...
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, London Symphony Orchestra & Jacek Kaspszyk
Pictures from an Exhibition orch.Ravel - La Grande porte de Kiev
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Pictures from an Exhibition orch.Ravel - La Grande porte de Kiev Pictures from an Exhibition orch.Ravel - La Grande porte de Kiev Pictures from an Exhibition orch.Ravel - La Grande porte de Kiev Pictures from an Exhibition orch.Ravel - La Grande porte de Kiev
BBC Philharmonic, Модест Петрович Мусоргский, Yan Pascal Tortelier & Maurice Ravel
Pictures at an Exhibition (orig for piano orch Ravel)
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Pictures at an Exhibition (orig for piano orch Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition (orig for piano orch Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition (orig for piano orch Ravel) Pictures at an Exhibition (orig for piano orch Ravel)
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & Howard Shelley
Hopak from Sorochinsky Fair
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Hopak from Sorochinsky Fair Hopak from Sorochinsky Fair Hopak from Sorochinsky Fair Hopak from Sorochinsky Fair
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Berliner Philharmoniker, Claudio Abbado, Anatoly Kocherga, Berlin Radio Choir & South Tyrol Children’s Choir
St John’s Night on the Bare Mountain
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St John’s Night on the Bare Mountain St John’s Night on the Bare Mountain St John’s Night on the Bare Mountain St John’s Night on the Bare Mountain
Steven Osborne & Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
Pictures from an Exhibition
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Pictures from an Exhibition Pictures from an Exhibition Pictures from an Exhibition Pictures from an Exhibition
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Maurice Ravel, The Philadelphia Orchestra & Eugene Ormandy
Pictures at an Exhibition: Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
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Pictures at an Exhibition: Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks Pictures at an Exhibition: Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks Pictures at an Exhibition: Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks Pictures at an Exhibition: Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
Konstantin Pluzhnikov, Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Theatre Chorus, Nikolai Putilin, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & KIV Orchestra
Boris Godounov: Coronation Scene
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Boris Godounov: Coronation Scene Boris Godounov: Coronation Scene Boris Godounov: Coronation Scene Boris Godounov: Coronation Scene
Модест Петрович Мусоргский, Detroit Symphony Orchestra & Neeme Järvi
Gopak from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka' orch. Lyadov
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Gopak  from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka'  orch. Lyadov Gopak  from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka'  orch. Lyadov Gopak  from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka'  orch. Lyadov Gopak  from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka'  orch. Lyadov
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Evgeny Fyodorovich Svetlanov & Russian State S O
Sorochinskaya yarmarka [Sorochintsy fair] - comic opera, compl. Lyadov, V.G.Karatigin and others
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Sorochinskaya yarmarka [Sorochintsy fair] - comic opera, compl. Lyadov, V.G.Karatigin and others Sorochinskaya yarmarka [Sorochintsy fair] - comic opera, compl. Lyadov, V.G.Karatigin and others Sorochinskaya yarmarka [Sorochintsy fair] - comic opera, compl. Lyadov, V.G.Karatigin and others Sorochinskaya yarmarka [Sorochintsy fair] - comic opera, compl. Lyadov, V.G.Karatigin and others

Sorochinskaya yarmarka [Sorochintsy fair] - comic opera, compl. Lyadov, V.G.Karatigin and others

Performer
Last played on
Wolfram Igor Derntl, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Marian Talaba, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Caroline Wenborne, Lydia Rathkolb, Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper, Benedikt Kobel, Christopher Ventris, Semyon Bychkov, Elena Maximova, Herbert Lippert, Andrzej Dobber, norbert Ernst, Marcus Pelz, Chor der Wiener Staatsoper & Ain Anger
Khovanshchina Act 5
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Khovanshchina Act 5 Khovanshchina Act 5 Khovanshchina Act 5 Khovanshchina Act 5

Khovanshchina Act 5

Performer
Wolfram Igor Derntl
Singer
Marian Talaba
Ferruccio Furlanetto
Caroline Wenborne
Lydia Rathkolb
Benedikt Kobel
Christopher Ventris
Elena Maximova
Herbert Lippert
Andrzej Dobber
norbert Ernst
Marcus Pelz
Ain Anger
Wolfram Igor Derntl, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Marian Talaba, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Caroline Wenborne, Lydia Rathkolb, Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper, Benedikt Kobel, Christopher Ventris, Semyon Bychkov, Elena Maximova, Herbert Lippert, Andrzej Dobber, norbert Ernst, Marcus Pelz, Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor & Ain Anger
Khovanshchina Act 4
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Khovanshchina Act 4 Khovanshchina Act 4 Khovanshchina Act 4 Khovanshchina Act 4

Khovanshchina Act 4

Performer
Wolfram Igor Derntl
Singer
Marian Talaba
Ferruccio Furlanetto
Caroline Wenborne
Lydia Rathkolb
Benedikt Kobel
Christopher Ventris
Elena Maximova
Herbert Lippert
Andrzej Dobber
norbert Ernst
Marcus Pelz
Ain Anger
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & Howard Shelley
Hopak from 'Sorochinskaya Fair' transc. Rachmaninov for piano
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Hopak from 'Sorochinskaya Fair' transc. Rachmaninov for piano Hopak from 'Sorochinskaya Fair' transc. Rachmaninov for piano Hopak from 'Sorochinskaya Fair' transc. Rachmaninov for piano Hopak from 'Sorochinskaya Fair' transc. Rachmaninov for piano
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Ilan Volkov, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra & Yuri Vorobiev
Songs and Dances of Death
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Songs and Dances of Death Songs and Dances of Death Songs and Dances of Death Songs and Dances of Death
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & Sunwook Kim
Pictures at an Exhibition
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Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition
Tomita & Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
Ballet of the chicks in their shells from Pictures at an Exhibition
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Ballet of the chicks in their shells from Pictures at an Exhibition Ballet of the chicks in their shells from Pictures at an Exhibition Ballet of the chicks in their shells from Pictures at an Exhibition Ballet of the chicks in their shells from Pictures at an Exhibition
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & Mekong Delta
Interlude and Tuileries drom Pictures at an Exhibition
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Interlude and Tuileries drom Pictures at an Exhibition Interlude and Tuileries drom Pictures at an Exhibition Interlude and Tuileries drom Pictures at an Exhibition Interlude and Tuileries drom Pictures at an Exhibition
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & Emerson, Lake & Palmer
The Hut of Baba Yaga from Pictures at an Exhibition
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The Hut of Baba Yaga from Pictures at an Exhibition The Hut of Baba Yaga from Pictures at an Exhibition The Hut of Baba Yaga from Pictures at an Exhibition The Hut of Baba Yaga from Pictures at an Exhibition
James Crabb & Geir Draugsvoll, Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & James Crabb & Geir Draugsvoll
Catacombs from Pictures at an Exhibition
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Catacombs from Pictures at an Exhibition Catacombs from Pictures at an Exhibition Catacombs from Pictures at an Exhibition Catacombs from Pictures at an Exhibition
The Swingle Singers
Le Marche de Limoges
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Le Marche de Limoges Le Marche de Limoges Le Marche de Limoges Le Marche de Limoges
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & Sinfonia Lahti Cello and Bass Ensemble
Promenade and Gnomus from Pictures at an Exhibition
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Promenade and Gnomus from Pictures at an Exhibition Promenade and Gnomus from Pictures at an Exhibition Promenade and Gnomus from Pictures at an Exhibition Promenade and Gnomus from Pictures at an Exhibition

Promenade and Gnomus from Pictures at an Exhibition

Ensemble
Sinfonia Lahti Cello and Bass Ensemble
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Valery Gergiev & Mariinsky Orchestra
Ballet of the unhatched chicks (from Pictures at an Exhibition)
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Ballet of the unhatched chicks (from Pictures at an Exhibition) Ballet of the unhatched chicks (from Pictures at an Exhibition) Ballet of the unhatched chicks (from Pictures at an Exhibition) Ballet of the unhatched chicks (from Pictures at an Exhibition)

Ballet of the unhatched chicks (from Pictures at an Exhibition)

Orchestra
Mariinsky Orchestra
Last played on
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & Paul Lewis
Pictures from an exhibition for piano: Promenade [1]; Gnomus
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Pictures from an exhibition for piano: Promenade [1]; Gnomus Pictures from an exhibition for piano: Promenade [1]; Gnomus Pictures from an exhibition for piano: Promenade [1]; Gnomus Pictures from an exhibition for piano: Promenade [1]; Gnomus
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Valery Gergiev & Симфонический оркестр Мариинского театра
Pictures from an exhibition, orch. Ravel: Promenade [1]; Gnomus
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Pictures from an exhibition, orch. Ravel: Promenade [1]; Gnomus Pictures from an exhibition, orch. Ravel: Promenade [1]; Gnomus Pictures from an exhibition, orch. Ravel: Promenade [1]; Gnomus Pictures from an exhibition, orch. Ravel: Promenade [1]; Gnomus
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Leopold Stokowski, Leopold Stokowski & Philharmonia Orchestra
Pictures at an Exhibition
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Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition
Paul Lewis & Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
Pictures from an exhibition - Ballet of the unhatched chicks
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Pictures from an exhibition - Ballet of the unhatched chicks Pictures from an exhibition - Ballet of the unhatched chicks Pictures from an exhibition - Ballet of the unhatched chicks Pictures from an exhibition - Ballet of the unhatched chicks
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Valery Gergiev, Kirov Orchestra & Kirov Theatre Chorus
Khovanshchina - opera, compl. & orch Shostakovich
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Khovanshchina - opera, compl. & orch Shostakovich Khovanshchina - opera, compl. & orch Shostakovich Khovanshchina - opera, compl. & orch Shostakovich Khovanshchina - opera, compl. & orch Shostakovich

Khovanshchina - opera, compl. & orch Shostakovich

Performer
Valery Gergiev
Kirov Orchestra
Kirov Theatre Chorus
Last played on
Steven Osborne & Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
Pictures from an exhibition for piano; Promenade & Gnomus
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Pictures from an exhibition for piano; Promenade & Gnomus Pictures from an exhibition for piano; Promenade & Gnomus Pictures from an exhibition for piano; Promenade & Gnomus Pictures from an exhibition for piano; Promenade & Gnomus
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, BBC SSO & Ilan Volkov
Songs and Dances of Death
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Songs and Dances of Death Songs and Dances of Death Songs and Dances of Death Songs and Dances of Death
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Vladimir Krainev & Eugene Nestrenko
Songs and Dances of Death
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Songs and Dances of Death Songs and Dances of Death Songs and Dances of Death Songs and Dances of Death
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, Charles Dutoit & Symphony Orchestra of Montreal
Pictures From An Exhibition, Promenade and Il Vecchio Castello
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Pictures From An Exhibition, Promenade and Il Vecchio Castello Pictures From An Exhibition, Promenade and Il Vecchio Castello Pictures From An Exhibition, Promenade and Il Vecchio Castello Pictures From An Exhibition, Promenade and Il Vecchio Castello

Pictures From An Exhibition, Promenade and Il Vecchio Castello

Performer
Charles Dutoit
Symphony Orchestra of Montreal
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & Alessio Bax
Hopak [from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka'], arr. for piano
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Hopak [from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka'], arr. for piano Hopak [from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka'], arr. for piano Hopak [from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka'], arr. for piano Hopak [from 'Sorochinskaya yarmarka'], arr. for piano
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
Pictures at an Exhibition
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Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition Pictures at an Exhibition
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky & National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Theodore Kuchar (conductor)
Night on the Bare Mountain (Rimsky-Korsakov version)
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Night on the Bare Mountain (Rimsky-Korsakov version) Night on the Bare Mountain (Rimsky-Korsakov version) Night on the Bare Mountain (Rimsky-Korsakov version) Night on the Bare Mountain (Rimsky-Korsakov version)

Night on the Bare Mountain (Rimsky-Korsakov version)

Performer
National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine, Theodore Kuchar (conductor)
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