Modest Mussorgsky

From Wind Repertory Project
Modest Mussorgsky


Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (21 March 1839, Karevo, Russia – 28 March 1881, St. Petersburg) was a Russian composer, one of the group known as "The Five". He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music.

Mussorgsky was tutored by his mother on the piano, and before he was nine he played the important works of Liszt and a concerto by Field. His original ambition, however, was military, and he eventually joined the Preobrajensky Regiment. His attitude toward music was that of an amateur until 1857, when he met Dargomijsky. Through him Mussorgsky was brought into contact with the members of the New Russian School.

Many of his works were inspired by Russian history, Russian folklore, and other nationalist themes. Such works include the opera Boris Godunov, the orchestral tone poem Night on Bald Mountain, and the piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition.

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.

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