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Encyclopedia > Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (Russian: Моде́ст Петро́вич Му́соргский, Modest Petrovič Musorgskij, French: Modeste Moussorgsky) (March 9/21, 1839 – March 16/28, 1881), one of the Russian composers known as the Five, was an innovator of Russian music. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music. Like his literary contemporary Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Mussorgsky depicts in his music "the insulted and the injured" with all their passion and pain. He raises these characters to tragic heights until the grotesque and majestic coexist. Mussorgsky could accomplish this not simply out of compassion or guilt toward them, but because in his works he almost becomes them. Mussorgsky's music is vivid, confused, feverish and ultimately hypnotizing—again, like Dostoyevsky at his best.[1] Image File history File links Download high resolution version (459x654, 230 KB)Public Domain This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (459x654, 230 KB)Public Domain This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. ... 1839 (MDCCCXXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Year 1881 (MDCCCLXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The Mighty Handful (Moguchaya Kuchka / Могучая Кучка in Russian), better known as The Five in English-speaking countries, was a label applied in 1867 by the critic Vladimir Stasov to a loose collection of Russian classical composers brought together under... Russia is a large and extremely culturally diverse country, with dozens of ethnic groups, each with their own forms of folk music. ... Western music is the genres of music originating in the Western world (Europe and its former colonies) including Western classical music, American Jazz, Country and Western, pop music and rock and roll. ... Fyodor Dostoevsky. ...


Many of his major works were inspired by Russian history, Russian folklore, and other nationalist themes, including the opera Boris Godunov, the orchestral tone poem Night on the Bald Mountain, and the piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition. However, while Mussorgsky's music can be vivid and nationalistic, it does not glorify the powerful and is at times (such as in "The Field Martial") antimilitaristic. For this reason, it was perceived as being directed against the state and its composer "under suspicion." He, like the others in The Russian Five, were considered dangerous extremists by the emperor and his court. This may have been the reason Tsar Alexander III personally crossed off Boris Godounov from the list of proposed pieces for the imperial opera in 1888.[2] Произведения Ðœ.П.Мусоргского The following list of works by Modest Mussorgsky is, as of this writing, based on the Catalogue of Mussorgskys Works from the book Modest Mussorgsky by M.D. Calvocoressi (Rockliff, London 1956). ... The history of Russia begins with that of the East Slavs, the ethnic group that eventually split into the Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians. ... Russian mythical heros See Ilya Muromets, Dobrynya Nikitich, Alyosha Popovich, Svyatogor, Nightingale the Robber, Bogatyr, Bylina Spirits See Koschei, Baba Yaga, Leshiy, Domovoi Categories: Russia-related stubs ... Eugène Delacroixs Liberty Leading the People, symbolising French nationalism during the July Revolution 1830. ... This article is about Opera, the art form. ... I regard the people as a great being, inspired by a single idea. ... A symphonic poem or tone poem is a piece of orchestral music in one movement in which some extra-musical programme provides a narrative or illustrative element. ... Modest Mussorgsky A Night on Bald Mountain usually refers to one of two compositions – either a seldom performed early (1867) musical picture by Modest Mussorgsky, (Russian: , Ivanova noch na lïsoy gore), or a later (1886) and very popular fantasy for orchestra by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, A Night on the... In music, a suite is an organized set of instrumental or orchestral pieces normally performed at a single sitting, as a separate musical performance, not accompanying an opera, ballet, or theater-piece. ... Mussorgsky in 1874 This article refers to the original suite by Modest Mussorgsky. ... The Mighty Handful (Moguchaya Kuchka / Могучая Кучка in Russian), better known as The Five in English-speaking countries, was a label applied in 1867 by the critic Vladimir Stasov to a loose collection of Russian classical composers brought together under... Tsar (Bulgarian, Serbian and Macedonian цар, Russian  , in scientific transliteration respectively car and car ), occasionally spelled Czar or Tzar and sometimes Csar or Zar in English, is a Slavonic term designating certain monarchs. ... Alexander III Alexandrovich (10 March 1845 – 1 November 1894) (Russian: Александр III Александрович) reigned as Emperor of Russia from 14 March 1881 until his death in 1894. ...


For many years Mussorgsky's works were mainly known in versions revised or completed by other composers. Many of his most important compositions have recently come into their own in their original forms, and some of the original scores are now also available.

Contents

Life

Youth

Mussorgsky as a cadet in the Preobrazhensky Regiment of the Imperial Guards
Mussorgsky as a cadet in the Preobrazhensky Regiment of the Imperial Guards

Mussorgsky was born in Karevo in the province of Pskov, 400 kilometres south-south-east of St Petersburg. His wealthy and land-owning family, the noble family of Mussorgsky, is reputedly descended from the first Ruthenian ruler, Rurik, through the sovereign princes of Smolensk. At the age of six, Modest began receiving piano lessons from his mother; his progress was sufficiently rapid that he was able to perform a John Field concerto for family and friends just three years later. At ten, he and his brother were taken to St Petersburg to study at the elite Peterschule. While there, Modest studied the piano with the noted Anton Herke. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (474x1057, 57 KB) Summary This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (474x1057, 57 KB) Summary This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired in the United States and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less. ... The Trinity Cathedral (1682-99) is a symbol of Pskovs former might and independence. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and... Mussorgsky (Russian: Мусоргские, Musorgskiye), the name of an old Russian noble family, which is one of the branches of rich boyar family of Monastyrev, descendants of princes of Smolensk from Rurikid stock. ... Rurik or Riurik (Russian: , Old East Norse Rørik, meaning famous ruler) (ca 830 – ca 879) was a Varangian who gained control of Ladoga in 862 and built the Holmgard settlement (Ryurikovo Gorodishche) in Novgorod. ... A view of Smolensk in 1912. ... John Field John Field (July 26, 1782 – January 23, 1837) was an Irish composer and pianist. ...


Mussorgsky's intended career was as a military officer; and at thirteen, he entered the Cadet School of the Guards. Music remained important to him however, and at his father's expense a short (and utterly uncharacteristic) piano piece called the Porte-enseigne Polka was published in 1852, and the following year Alexander Borodin described the 17-year-old boy as an "elegant piano-playing dilettante". In 1856 Mussorgsky – who had developed a strong interest in history and studied German philosophy – successfully graduated from the Cadet School and received a commission with the Preobrazhensky Regiment of Guards, which was the foremost regiment of the Russian Imperial Guard. Alexander Porfiryevich Borodin (Russian: , Aleksandr Porfirevič Borodin) (31 Oct. ...


Maturity

In the next two years, Mussorgsky met several figures of importance in Russia's cultural life, Dargomyzhsky, Cui (a fellow officer), Stasov, and Balakirev among them. Having produced a few songs and piano pieces as well as a number of compositional exercises under Balakirev's tutelage, Mussorgsky resigned his commission in 1858 after suffering a painful crisis. This may have had a spiritual component (in a letter to Balakirev the young man referred to "mysticism and cynical thoughts about the Deity"), but its exact nature will probably never be known. In 1859, the 20-year-old gained valuable theatrical experience when he assisted in the preparation of a production of Glinka's opera A Life for the Tsar on the Glebovo estate of a former singer and her wealthy husband; he also met Lyadov and enjoyed a formative visit to Moscow – after which he professed a love of "everything Russian". Alexander Sergeyevich Dargomyzhsky Александр Сергеевич Даргомыжский (February 14, 1813–May 17, 1869) was a 19th century Russian composer. ... César Antonovich Cui (Russian: , Tsezar Antonovič Kjui) (January 6, 1835 (Old Style)-March 13, 1918) was a Russian of French and Lithuanian descent. ... Vladimir Stasovs portrait by Ilya Repin. ... Mily Alexeyevich Balakirev (Russian Милий Алексеевич Бала́кирев) (January 2, 1837 – May 29, 1910) was a Russian composer. ... Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (Михаи́л Ива́нович Гли́нка) (June 1, 1804 – February 15, 1857) was a Russian composer. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov (1855 - 1914) was a Russian composer and conductor. ...


In spite of this epiphany, Mussorgsky's music still leaned more towards foreign models: with Balakirev he was mostly studying German music (including the Beethoven symphonies), and a four-hand piano sonata which he produced in 1860 contains his only movement in sonata form. Nor is any 'nationalistic' impulse easily discernible in the operas Oedipus in Athens, on which he worked between the ages of 19 and 22 (and then abandoned unfinished), or in the Intermezzo in modo classico for piano solo (revised and orchestrated in 1867). The latter was the only important piece he composed between December 1860 and August 1863: the reasons for this probably lie in the painful re-emergence of his subjective crisis in 1860 and the purely objective difficulties which resulted from the 'Emancipation of the Serfs' the following year – as a result of which the family was deprived of half its estate, and Mussorgsky had to spend a good deal of time in Karevo unsuccessfully attempting to stave off their looming impoverishment. “Beethoven” redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... 1860 is the leap year starting on Sunday. ... Year 1863 (MDCCCLXIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The Emancipation reform of 1861 in Russia performed by tsar Alexander II of Russia amounted to liquidation of serf dependence of Russian peasants. ...


By this time, Mussorgsky had freed himself from the influence of Balakirev and was largely teaching himself. In 1863 he began another opera – Salammbô – on which he worked between 1863 and 1866 before losing interest in the project. During this period he had returned to St. Petersburg and was supporting himself as a low-grade civil-servant while living in a six-man 'commune'. In a heady artistic and intellectual atmosphere, he read and discussed a wide range of modern artistic and scientific ideas – including those of the provocative writer Chernyshevsky, known for the bold assertion that, in art, "form and content are opposites". Under such influences he came more and more to embrace the ideal of artistic 'realism' and all that it entailed, whether this concerned the responsibility to depict life 'as it is truly lived'; the preoccupation with the lower strata of society; or the rejection of repeating, symmetrical musical forms as insufficiently true to the unrepeating, unpredictable course of 'real life'. Modest Musorgsky Salammbô (The Libyan) – Russian:Саламбо (Ливиец) – is an unfinished opera in 4 acts by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky, to his own libretto based on the novel of the same title by Gustave Flaubert (1862), as well as poems by Alexander Polezhayev, Apollon Maikov and Vasily Zhukovsky. ... 1866 (MDCCCLXVI) is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky (1828 - 1889) was a Russian revolutionary democrat, materialist philosopher, critic, and socialist. ...


'Real life' impacted particularly painfully on Mussorgsky in 1865, when his mother died; it was at this point that the composer had his first serious bout of alcoholism. The 26-year-old was, however, on the point of writing his first 'realistic' songs (including 'Hopak' and 'Darling Savishna', both of them composed in 1866 and among his first 'real' publications the following year). 1867 was also the year in which he finished the original orchestral version of his A Night on the Bald Mountain (which, however, Balakirev criticised and refused to conduct, with the result that it was never performed during Mussorgsky's lifetime). 1865 (MDCCCLXV) is a common year starting on Sunday. ... Alcoholism is the consumption of, or preoccupation with, alcoholic beverages to the extent that this behavior interferes with the drinkers normal personal, family, social, or work life, and may lead to physical or mental harm. ... 1866 (MDCCCLXVI) is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Year 1867 (MDCCCLXVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Modest Mussorgsky A Night on Bald Mountain usually refers to one of two compositions – either a seldom performed early (1867) musical picture by Modest Mussorgsky, (Russian: , Ivanova noch na lïsoy gore), or a later (1886) and very popular fantasy for orchestra by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, A Night on the...


Peak

Mussorgsky's career as a civil servant was by no means stable or secure: though he was assigned to various posts and even received a promotion in these early years, in 1867 he was declared 'supernumerary' – remaining 'in service' but receiving no wages. Decisive developments were occurring in his artistic life, however. Although it was in 1867 that Stasov first referred to the 'kučka' of Russian composers loosely grouped around Balakirev, Mussorgsky was by then ceasing to seek Balakirev's approval and was moving closer to the older Alexander Dargomyzhsky . The Mighty Handful (Moguchaya Kuchka / Могучая Кучка in Russian), better known as The Five in English-speaking countries, was a label applied in 1867 by the critic Vladimir Stasov to a loose collection of Russian classical composers brought together under... Alexander Sergeyevich Dargomyzhsky Александр Сергеевич Даргомыжский (February 14, 1813–May 17, 1869) was a 19th century Russian composer. ...


Since 1866 Dargomïzhsky had been working on his opera The Stone Guest, a version of the Don Juan story with a Pushkin text that he declared would be set "just as it stands, so that the inner truth of the text should not be distorted", and in a manner that abolished the 'unrealistic' division between aria and recitative in favour of a continuous mode of syllabic but lyrically heightened declamation somewhere between the two. The Stone Guest is a poetic drama by Aleksandr Pushkin based on the Spanish legend of Don Juan. ... Don Juan with his sword in Don Giovanni, by Mozart Don Juan is a legendary fictional libertine, whose story has been told many times by different authors. ... Pushkin may refer to: People Aleksandr Pushkin - a famous Russian poet Apollo Mussin-Pushkin - chemist and plant collector Aleksei Musin-Pushkin - statesman, historian, art collector Other Pushkin, a town in Russia Pushkin Square - square in Moscow Pushkin Museum - fine arts museum in Moscow This is a disambiguation page — a... An aria (Italian for air; plural: arie or arias in common usage) in music was originally any expressive melody, usually, but not always, performed by a singer. ... Recitative, a form of composition often used in operas, oratorios, and cantatas (and occasionally in operettas and even musicals), is melodic speech set to music, or a descriptive narrative song in which the music follows the words. ...


Under the influence of this work (and the ideas of Georg Gottfried Gervinus, according to whom "the highest natural object of musical imitation is emotion, and the method of imitating emotion is to mimic speech"), Mussorgsky in 1868 rapidly set the first eleven scenes of Gogol's Zhenitba (The Marriage), with his priority being to render into music the natural accents and patterns of the play's naturalistic and deliberately humdrum dialogue. This work marked an extreme position in Mussorgsky's pursuit of naturalistic word-setting: he abandoned it unorchestrated after reaching the end of his 'Act 1', and though its characteristically 'Mussorgskyian' declamation is to be heard in all his later vocal music, the naturalistic mode of vocal writing more and more became merely one expressive element among many. Georg Gottfried Gervinus (May 20, 1805 - March 18, 1871), German literary and political historian, was born at Darmstadt. ... Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol (Russian: Николай Васильевич Гоголь) (March 31, 1809 - March 4, 1852) was a Ukrainian-born Russian writer. ... Zhenitba or Zhenitba (Russian: Женитьба – The Marriage) is an unfinished opera by Modest Mussorgsky to his own libretto based on Nikolai Gogols comedy (1842). ...


A few months after abandoning Zhenitba, the 29-year-old Mussorgsky was encouraged to write an opera on the story of Boris Godunov. This he did, assembling and shaping a text from Pushkin's play and Karamzin's history. He completed the large-scale score the following year while living with friends and working for the Forestry Department. In 1871, however, the finished opera was rejected for theatrical performance, apparently because of its lack of any 'prima donna' role. Mussorgsky set to work producing a revised and enlarged 'second version'. During the next year, which he spent sharing rooms with Rimsky-Korsakov, he made changes that actually went far beyond those requested by the theatre. In this version the opera was accepted, probably in May 1872, and three excerpts were staged at the Mariinsky Theatre in 1873. (It is often asserted that in 1872 the opera was rejected a second time, but no specific evidence for this exists.[citation needed]) Zhenitba or Zhenitba (Russian: Женитьба – The Marriage) is an unfinished opera by Modest Mussorgsky to his own libretto based on Nikolai Gogols comedy (1842). ... Tsar Boris I Boris Feodorovich Godunov (Бори́с Фёдорович Годуно́в) (c. ... Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin (December 1, 1766--1826) a Russian author credited with reforming the Russian literary language. ... 1871 (MDCCCLXXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Look up Prima donna in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (Russian: , Nikolaj Andreevič Rimskij-Korsakov), also Nikolay, Nicolai, and Rimsky-Korsakoff, (March 6 (N.S. March 18), 1844 – June 8 (N.S. June 21) 1908) was a Russian composer, one of five Russian composers known as The Five, and was later a... The Maryinsky (or Mariinsky) Theatre (or Theater), is the St Petersburg theatre where the Mariinsky Ballet is located. ...


By the time of the first production of Boris Godunov in February 1874, Mussorgsky had taken part in the ill-fated Mlada project (in the course of which he had made a choral version of his A Night on the Bald Mountain) and had begun Khovanshchina. Though far from being a critical success - and in spite of receiving only a dozen or so performances - the popular reaction in favour of Boris made this the peak of Mussorgsky's career. I regard the people as a great being, inspired by a single idea. ... Year 1874 (MDCCCLXXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link with display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Mlada was a projected 4-act opera-ballet which was planned in 1872 as a collaborative effort between four nineteenth-century Russian composers: Cui, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mussorgsky and Borodin were each supposed to compose an act. ... Modest Mussorgsky A Night on Bald Mountain usually refers to one of two compositions – either a seldom performed early (1867) musical picture by Modest Mussorgsky, (Russian: , Ivanova noch na lïsoy gore), or a later (1886) and very popular fantasy for orchestra by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, A Night on the... Modest Mussorgsky in 1876 Khovanshchina (Russian: , Hovánščina, sometimes rendered The Khovansky Affair) is an opera (subtitled a national music drama) in five acts by Modest Mussorgsky. ...


Decline

Ilya Repin's celebrated portrait of Mussorgsky, painted only a few days before the composer's death.

From this peak a pattern of decline becomes increasingly apparent. Already the Balakirev circle was disintegrating. Mussorgsky was especially bitter about this. He wrote to Vladimir Stasov, "[T]he mighty Koocha has degenerated into soulless traitors."[3] In drifting away from his old friends, Mussorgsky had been seen to fall victim to 'fits of madness' that could well have been alcoholism-related. In addition, his friend Viktor Hartmann had died, and his relative and recent room-mate Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov (who furnished the poems for the song-cycle Sunless and would go on to provide those for the Songs and Dances of Death) had moved away to get married. Download high resolution version (570x742, 215 KB)Detail of Repins portrait of Mussorgsky This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Download high resolution version (570x742, 215 KB)Detail of Repins portrait of Mussorgsky This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Ilyá Yefímovich Répin (Илья́ Ефи́мович Ре́пин) (August 5, 1844 (Julian calendar: July 24) – September 29, 1930) was a leading Russian painter and sculptor of the Peredvizhniki artistic... Stasov is a quintessential family of Russian intelligentsia. ... Viktor Hartmann Viktor Alexandrovich Hartmann (Russian: Виктор Александрович Гартман; b. ... Arseny Arkadyevich Golenishchev-Kutuzov (Russian: Арсений Аркадьевич Голенищев-Кутузов) (1848 - 1913), is a Russian poet known in part for writing the texts of Modest Mussorgskys two song cycles of the 1870s: Sunless and Songs and Dances of Death. ... Mussorgsky in 1874 Sunless (Russian: , Bez Solntsa, literally Without Sun) is a song cycle by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, written in 1874, to poems by Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov, a relative of the composer. ... Mussorgsky in 1876 Songs and Dances of Death (Russian: , Pesni y plyaski smerti) is a song cycle by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, written in the mid-1870s, to poems by Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov, a relative of the composer. ...


While alcoholism was Mussorgsky's personal weakness, it was also a behavior pattern considered typical for those of Mussorgsky's generation who wanted to oppose the establishment and protest through extreme forms of behavior.[4] One contemporary notes, "an intense worship of Bacchus was considered to be almost obligatory for a writer of that period. It was a showing off, a 'pose,' for the best people of the [eighteen-]sixties." Another writes, "Talented people in Russia who love the somple folk cannot but drink."[5] Mussorgsky spent day and night in a St. Petersburg tavern of low repute, the Maly Yaroslavets, accompanied by bohemian dropouts like himself. He and his fellow drinkers idealized their alcoholism, perhaps seeing it as ethical and aesthetic opposition. This bravado, however, led to little more than isolation and eventual self-destruction.[6]


For a time, however, Mussorgsky was able to maintain his creative output: his compositions from 1874 include Sunless, the Khovanschina Prelude, and the piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition (in memory of Hartmann); he also began work on another opera based on Gogol, Sorochintsy Fair (for which he produced another choral version of A Night on Bald Mountain). Mussorgsky in 1874 This article refers to the original suite by Modest Mussorgsky. ... The Fair at Sorochintsï (Сорочинская ярмарка in Cyrillic, Sorochinskaya yarmarka in transliteration) is an opera (in three acts) begun by Modest Mussorgsky. ... Modest Mussorgsky A Night on Bald Mountain usually refers to one of two compositions – either a seldom performed early (1867) musical picture by Modest Mussorgsky, (Russian: , Ivanova noch na lïsoy gore), or a later (1886) and very popular fantasy for orchestra by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, A Night on the...


In the years that followed, Mussorgsky's decline became increasingly steep. Although now part of a new circle of eminent personages that included singers, medical men and actors, he was increasingly unable to resist drinking, and a succession of deaths among his closest associates caused him great pain. At times, however, his alcoholism would seem to be in check, and among the most powerful works composed during his last 6 years are the four Songs and Dances of Death. His civil service career was made more precarious by his frequent 'illnesses' and absences, and he was fortunate to obtain a transfer to a post (in the Office of Government Control) where his music-loving superior treated him with great leniency – in 1879 even allowing him to spend 3 months touring 12 cities as a singer's accompanist.

Grave of Modest Mussorgsky in the Tikhvin Cemetery of the Aleksandr Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg.
Grave of Modest Mussorgsky in the Tikhvin Cemetery of the Aleksandr Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg.

The decline could not be halted, however. In 1880 he was finally dismissed from government service. Aware of his destitution, one group of friends organised a stipend designed to support the completion of Khovanschina; another group organised a similar fund to pay him to complete Sorochintsy Fair. Sadly, however, neither work was completed (although Khovanschina, in piano score with only two numbers uncomposed, came close to being finished). Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (819x1249, 205 KB) Summary Grave of en:Modest Mussorgsky Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Modest Mussorgsky Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (819x1249, 205 KB) Summary Grave of en:Modest Mussorgsky Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Modest Mussorgsky Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from... Tikhvin Cemetery (Тихвинское кладбище) is located at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, in St. ... View of the monastery in the early 19th century Alexander Nevsky Monastery was founded by Peter the Great in 1710 at the southern end of the Nevsky Prospekt in St Petersburg to house the relics of Alexander Nevsky, patron saint of the newly-founded Russian capital. ...


In early 1881 a desperate Mussorgsky declared to a friend that there was 'nothing left but begging', and suffered four seizures in rapid succession. Though he was found a comfortable room in a good hospital – and for several weeks even appeared to be rallying – the situation was hopeless. Repin painted the famous portrait in what were to be the last days of the composer's life: a week after his 42nd birthday, he was dead. Ilyá Yefímovich Répin (Илья́ Ефи́мович Ре́пин) (August 5, 1844 (Julian calendar: July 24) – September 29, 1930) was a leading Russian painter and sculptor of the Peredvizhniki artistic...


He was interred at the Tikhvin Cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery in Saint Petersburg. Tikhvin Cemetery (Тихвинское кладбище) is located at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, in St. ... View of the monastery in the early 19th century Alexander Nevsky Monastery was founded by Peter the Great in 1710 at the southern end of the Nevsky Prospect in St Petersburg to house the relics of Alexander Nevsky, patron saint of the newly-founded Russian capital. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and...


Works

Statue of Mussorgsky near his native village.
Statue of Mussorgsky near his native village.

Mussorgsky's works, while strikingly novel, are stylistically romantic and draw heavily on Russian musical themes. He has been the inspiration for many Russian composers, including most notably Dmitri Shostakovich (in his late symphonies) and Sergei Prokofiev (in his operas). In 1868/9 he composed the opera Boris Godunov, about the life of the Russian tsar, but it was rejected by the Mariinsky Opera. Mussorgsky thus edited the work, making a final version in 1874. The early version is considered darker and more concise than the later version, but also more crude. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov re-orchestrated the opera in 1896 and revised it in 1908. The opera has also been revised by other composers, notably Shostakovich, who made two versions, one for film and one for stage. Произведения Ðœ.П.Мусоргского The following list of works by Modest Mussorgsky is, as of this writing, based on the Catalogue of Mussorgskys Works from the book Modest Mussorgsky by M.D. Calvocoressi (Rockliff, London 1956). ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (520x700, 50 KB)Statue of Modest Mussorgsky near Velikie Luki. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (520x700, 50 KB)Statue of Modest Mussorgsky near Velikie Luki. ... Dmitri Shostakovich   (Russian: , Dmitrij Dmitrievič Å ostakovič) (September 25 [O.S. September 12] 1906–August 9, 1975) was a Russian composer of the Soviet period. ... Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev (Russian: , Sergej Sergejevič Prokofijev; April 27 (April 151 O.S.), 1891–March 5, 1953) was a Russian and Soviet composer who mastered numerous musical genres and came to be admired as one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. ... I regard the people as a great being, inspired by a single idea. ... Tsar (Bulgarian, Serbian and Macedonian цар, Russian  , in scientific transliteration respectively car and car ), occasionally spelled Czar or Tzar and sometimes Csar or Zar in English, is a Slavonic term designating certain monarchs. ... The Maryinsky (or Mariinsky) Theatre (or Theater), is the St Petersburg theatre where the Mariinsky Ballet is located. ... Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (Russian: , Nikolaj Andreevič Rimskij-Korsakov), also Nikolay, Nicolai, and Rimsky-Korsakoff, (March 6 (N.S. March 18), 1844 – June 8 (N.S. June 21) 1908) was a Russian composer, one of five Russian composers known as The Five, and was later a...


Khovanshchina a more obscure opera, was unfinished and unperformed when Mussorgsky died, but it was completed by Rimsky-Korsakov and received its premier in 1886 in St. Petersburg. This opera, too, was revised by Shostakovich. Mussorgsky left another opera, Sorochintsy Fair, incomplete at his death. However, a famous dance movement, the Gopak, is drawn therefrom. Modest Mussorgsky in 1876 Khovanshchina (Russian: , Hovánščina, sometimes rendered The Khovansky Affair) is an opera (subtitled a national music drama) in five acts by Modest Mussorgsky. ... Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг, English transliteration: Sankt-Peterburg), colloquially known as Питер (transliterated Piter), formerly known as Leningrad (Ленингра́д, 1924–1991) and... The Fair at Sorochintsï (Сорочинская ярмарка in Cyrillic, Sorochinskaya yarmarka in transliteration) is an opera (in three acts) begun by Modest Mussorgsky. ...


One of Mussorgsky's wildest and most barbaric pieces (as the contemporary critics put it) is the orchestral work St. John's Night on the Bald Mountain, which was made famous in the US by its appearance in Disney's Fantasia. Modest Mussorgsky A Night on Bald Mountain usually refers to one of two compositions – either a seldom performed early (1867) musical picture by Modest Mussorgsky, (Russian: , Ivanova noch na lïsoy gore), or a later (1886) and very popular fantasy for orchestra by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, A Night on the... Old logo from 1985-2006 Walt Disney Pictures refers to several different entities associated with The Walt Disney Company: Walt Disney Pictures, the film banner, was established as a designation in 1983, prior to which Disney films since the death of Walt Disney were released under the name of the... Fantasia is a 1940 motion picture, the third in the Disney animated features canon, which was a Walt Disney experiment in animation and music. ...


His most imaginative and frequently performed work is the cycle of piano pieces describing paintings in sound called Pictures at an Exhibition. This composition, best known through an orchestral arrangement by Maurice Ravel, was written in commemoration of his friend, the architect Viktor Hartmann. This piece also was made more famous than it already was by the British progressive rock trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer in their 1971 album of the same name, Pictures at an Exhibition. A short grand piano, with the top up. ... Mussorgsky in 1874 This article refers to the original suite by Modest Mussorgsky. ... Maurice Ravel. ... Viktor Hartmann Viktor Alexandrovich Hartmann (Russian: Виктор Александрович Гартман; b. ... ELP Logo Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP) were an English progressive rock group. ... Pictures at an Exhibition is an album by British progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in 1972 as a live album and re-released in 2001 as a remastered edition including both live and studio versions of Mussorgskys classical piece Pictures at an Exhibition. ...


Among his other works are a number of songs, including three song cycles: The Nursery (1872), Sunless (1874) and Songs and Dances of Death (1877). For other uses, see Song (disambiguation). ... A song cycle is a group of songs designed to be performed in sequence as a single entity. ... Musorgsky in 1870 The Nursery (Russian: , Detskaya, literally Childrens [Room]) is a song cycle by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, composed between 1868 and 1872, to his own lyrics. ... Year 1872 (MDCCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian Calendar (or a leap year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Mussorgsky in 1874 Sunless (Russian: , Bez Solntsa, literally Without Sun) is a song cycle by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, written in 1874, to poems by Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov, a relative of the composer. ... Year 1874 (MDCCCLXXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link with display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Mussorgsky in 1876 Songs and Dances of Death (Russian: , Pesni y plyaski smerti) is a song cycle by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky, written in the mid-1870s, to poems by Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov, a relative of the composer. ... 1877 (MDCCCLXXVII) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...


Gallery

Quotes

By Mussorgsky


From a letter to Vladimir Stasov Vladimir Stasovs portrait by Ilya Repin. ...

"Life, wherever it reveals itself; truth, no matter how bitter; bold, sincere speech with people–these are my leaven, these are what I want, this is where I am afraid of missing the mark."

From an autobiographical sketch:

"Art is a means of communicating with people, and not an aim in itself. This guiding principle has defined the whole of his [i.e., my] creative activity. Proceeding from the conviction that human speech is strictly controlled by musical laws (Virchow, Gervinus), he considers the function of art to be the reproduction in musical sounds not merely of feelings, but first and foremost of human speech." Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow (1821–1902). ... Georg Gottfried Gervinus (May 20, 1805 - March 18, 1871), German literary and political historian, was born at Darmstadt. ...

About Mussorgsky


An early (1863) opinion by Stasov, later Mussorgsky's staunchest supporter, in a letter to Balakirev:

"I have no use whatever for Mussorgsky. All in him is flabby and dull. He is, I think, a perfect idiot. Were he left to his own devices and no longer under your strict supervision, he would soon run to seed as all the others have done. There is nothing in him."

Balakirev's reply to the above assessment:

"Yes, Mussorgsky is little short of an idiot."

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, on Mussorgsky's manuscripts: Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov Nikolai Andreyevich Rimsky-Korsakov (Russian: , Nikolaj Andreevič Rimskij-Korsakov), also Nikolay, Nicolai, and Rimsky-Korsakoff, (March 6 (N.S. March 18), 1844 – June 8 (N.S. June 21) 1908) was a Russian composer, one of five Russian composers known as The Five, and was later a...

"They were very defective, teeming with clumsy, disconnected harmonies, shocking part-writing, amazingly illogical modulations or intolerably long stretches without ever a modulation, and bad scoring. ...what is needed is an edition for practical and artistic purposes, suitable for performances and for those who wish to admire Mussorgsky's genius, not to study his idiosyncrasies and sins against art."

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, in a letter to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meck: “Tchaikovsky” redirects here. ... Nadezhda von Meck. ...

"Mussorgsky you very rightly call a hopeless case. In talent he is perhaps superior to all the [other members of The Five], but his nature is narrow-minded, devoid of any urge towards self-perfection, blindly believing in the ridiculous theories of his circle and in his own genius. In addition, he has a certain base side to his nature which likes coarseness, uncouthness, roughness.... He flaunts ... his illiteracy, takes pride in his ignorance, mucks along anyhow, blindly believing in the infallibility of his genius. Yet he has flashes of talent which are, moreover, not devoid of originality.

Anatoly Lyadov: Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov (Анатолий Константинович Лядов), often transliterated Liadov, (May 11, 1855 - August 28, 1914) was a Russian composer, teacher and conductor. ...

"It is easy enough to correct Mussorgsky's irregularities. The only trouble is that when this is done, the character and originality of the music are done away with, and the composer's individuality vanishes."

Edward Dannreuther, in an early edition of The Oxford History of Music:

"Mussorgsky, in his vocal efforts, appears willfully eccentric. His style impresses the Western ear as barbarously ugly."

Gerald Abraham, musicologist, an authority on Mussorgsky:

"As a musical translator of words and all that can be expressed in words, of psychological states, and even physical movement, he is unsurpassed; as an absolute musician he was hopelessly limited, with remarkably little ability to construct pure music or even a purely musical texture."

Media

  • Pictures at an Exhibition, 1st movement
    Pictures at an Exhibition, 2nd movement
    Pictures at an Exhibition, 3rd movement
  • Problems playing the files? See media help.

Image File history File links Modest_Mussorgsky_-_Pictures_at_an_Exhibition,_movement_1. ... Image File history File links Modest_Mussorgsky_-_Pictures_at_an_Exhibition,_movement_2. ... Image File history File links Modest_Mussorgsky_-_Pictures_at_an_Exhibition,_movement_3. ...

Trivia

Three movements of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" are played in the animated music film Animusic


References

  1. ^ Volkov, St Petersburg: A Cultural History (New York: The Free Press, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1995), 85.
  2. '^ Volkov, St. Petersburg, 106-107.
  3. ^ Letter to Vladimir Stasov, October 9, 1875. As quoted in Rimsky-Korsakov, My Musical Life, 154-155, footnote 24.
  4. ^ Volkov, Solomon, tr. Bouis, Antonina W., St. Petersburg: A Cultural History (New York: The Free Press, 1995), 87.
  5. ^ Quoted in Sovietskaia muzyka (Soviet music), 9 (1980), 104. As quoted in Volkov, 87.
  6. ^ Volkov, 87.

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Modest Mussorgsky - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2263 words)
Mussorgsky was born in Karevo in the province of Pskov, 400 kilometres south-south-east of St Petersburg.
Mussorgsky's career as a civil servant was by no means stable or secure: though he was assigned to various posts and even received a promotion in these early years, in 1867 he was declared 'supernumerary' – remaining 'in service' but receiving no wages.
Grave of Modest Mussorgsky in the Tikhvin Cemetery of the Aleksandr Nevsky Monastery in St. Petersburg.
Pictures at an Exhibition - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1877 words)
Mussorgsky composed the work in commemoration of his friend, the artist and architect Viktor Hartmann, who was only 39 when he died in 1873; the original title for the suite was Hartmann.
It was probably in 1870 and through the highly influential critic Vladimir Stasov that Mussorgsky had met Hartmann, whose devotion to the cause of an intrinsically Russian art must have made him a congenial spirit.
This publication, moreover, was not a completely accurate representation of Mussorgsky's score, but presented an edited and revised text that had been subjected to a certain amount of 'polishing', as well as containing a substantial number of errors and misreadings.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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