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Modest Mussorgsky

Biography

Born: Mar 21, 1839; Russia   Died: Mar 28, 1881; Russia   Period: Romantic
His musical education was erratic, he toiled as a civil servant and wrote music only part-time, influenced few if any of his contemporaries, died early from alcoholism, and left a small body of work. Yet Modest Mussorgsky was a towering figure in nineteenth century Russian music. His works exhibit a daring, raw individuality, a unique sound that well-meaning associates tried to conventionalize and smooth over. He is best known for Night on Bald Read more Mountain (bowdlerized by Rimsky-Korsakov), Pictures at an Exhibition (a difficult piano suite orchestrated by Ravel), and the dark, declamatory opera Boris Godunov (polished by Rimsky-Korsakov) -- bastardized works all, yet each one full of arresting harmonies, disturbing colors, and grim celebrations of Russian nationalism.
Mussorgsky died in poverty, but he was born to a wealthy landowning family. Under his mother's tutelage, he developed a facility at the piano, but entered a cadet school in preparation for a military career. He joined a choir and discovered Russian church music, which would profoundly influence his later work.
Upon graduation in 1856, Mussorgsky entered the Russian Imperial Guard. That year he started to socialize with the composers Dargomizhsky and Cui, and through them Balakirev, with whom he began composition lessons. During this period he wrote small piano pieces and songs, and after an emotional crisis in 1858 resigned his commission with the intention of composing full-time. He began to go his own way as a composer in 1861, but was preoccupied helping to manage his family's estate. The decline in his family's fortunes led him to accept low-level civil service positions. He joined a commune with other intellectuals and became a proponent of musical Realism, applying the style to his songs. He had difficulty finishing works in larger formats, but his music circulated widely enough that by the late 1860s he was cast with Balakirev, Cui, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Borodin as part of Russia's "Mighty Handful."
Mussorgsky toiled many years at his masterpiece, Boris Godunov, which reflected in music the inflections of Russian speech and met with great success in 1874. That year he also produced his innovative piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition. Yet his heavy drinking led to his dismissal from government service in 1880. Friends offered some financial help and Mussorgsky occasionally accompanied singers at the piano, but his finances and mental state quickly deteriorated. He died in 1881, leaving it to posterity to sort through and complete his unfinished works of unruly genius. Read less
Mussorgsky Edition
Release Date: 09/24/2013   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94670   Number of Discs: 14
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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Prokofiev: Visions Fugitives, Sarcasms / Steven Osborne
Release Date: 02/12/2013   Label: Hyperion  
Catalog: 67896   Number of Discs: 1
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Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina / Abbado, Ghiaurov, Atlantov, Marusin
Release Date: 05/26/2009   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 42   Number of Discs: 2
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Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Nesterenko, Bolshoi Opera
Release Date: 09/27/2005   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 1138   Number of Discs: 1
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Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Nesterenko, Lazarev
Release Date: 11/22/2005   Label: Kultur Video  
Catalog: 2852   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Khovanshchina: Dawn on the Moscow River

Browse 1-25 of 59 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Leonard Bernstein Edition - Concertos & Orchestral Works
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 301330 Release Date: 10/27/2014   Number of Discs: 80
    Composer:  Samuel Barber,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  Isaac Stern,  Leonard Bernstein,  Harold Gomberg,  William Heim  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Seiji Ozawa,  Maurice Peress
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  New York Philharmonic members,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 2.
    Simon Rattle - Berlin Philharmoniker [blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 59734 Release Date: 04/29/2014   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Yefim Bronfman,  Lisa Batiashvili,  Truls Otterbech Mork
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $99.99
    Blu-ray Video: $77.49
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  • 3.
    Erato - 50 CD Collection
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 46441 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Pierre Pierlot,  Paul Hongne,  Jacques Chambon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jean-François Paillard,  Frigyes Sándor,  Kent Nagano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna Soloists  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
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  • 4.
    Label: Urania   Catalog: 22346 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    On sale! $15.98
    CD: $13.99
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  • 5.
    Mercury Living Presence - The Collector's Edition Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001831802 Release Date: 06/04/2013   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Anton Webern,  Alban Berg,  Ottorino Respighi  ... 
    Performer:  Helga Pilarczyk,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Mihaly Székely,  Olga Szönyi  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti,  Rafael Kubelik,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Frederick Fennell  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Hungarica  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 6.
    Philips Original Jackets Collection  [55-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001767702 Release Date: 12/04/2012   Number of Discs: 55
    Composer:  Max Bruch,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elisabeth Unger,  Claudio Arrau,  Thomas Zehetmair  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur,  Bernard Haitink,  Frans Brüggen,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beaux Arts Trio  ... 
    On sale! $169.98
    CD: $145.49
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  • 7.
    Solti - Journey Of A Lifetime
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 711708 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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    On sale! $24.99
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  • 8.
    Solti - Journey Of A Lifetime [blu-ray]
    Label: C Major   Catalog: 711804 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $39.99
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  • 9.
    Russian Treasures
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2572 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Mikhail Glinka  ... 
    Performer:  Mikhail Pletnev,  Natalie Dessay,  Dmitri Alexeev,  Jean-Yves Thibaudet  ... 
    Conductor:  Paavo Järvi,  André Cluytens,  Armin Jordan,  Sir Charles Mackerras  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 10.
    The Decca Sound [50-CD Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001619902 Release Date: 11/15/2011   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Manuel de Falla,  Claude Debussy,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Enrique Granados  ... 
    Performer:  Teresa Berganza,  Alfredo Campoli,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Cecilia Bartoli  ... 
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet,  Ataulfo Argenta,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Vladimir Ashkenazy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $175.49
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  • 11.
    Mravinsky Conducts The Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 698905 Release Date: 07/26/2011   Number of Discs: 12
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Glazunov,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Yevgeny Mravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 12.
    Rachmaninov: Aleko Suite, Hovhaness: Ukiyo, Floating World / Kostelanetz
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88999 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Alan Hovhaness,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Simon Estes
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra
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  • 13.
    Russian Overtures & Orchestral Works / Pletnev, Russian NO
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802037 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Borodin,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Borodin / Rattle [Blu-ray]
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2056794 Release Date: 08/30/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $39.99
    Blu-ray Video: $30.49
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  • 15.
    The Royal Edition - Russian Orchestral Music / Bernstein
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 47607 Release Date: 02/11/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic
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  • 16.
    Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky & Dvorak / Giulini, Chung, Berlin Philharmonic
    Label: Testament   Catalog: 1439 Release Date: 02/09/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Antonín Dvorák
    Performer:  Kyung-Wha Chung
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $41.98
    CD: $36.99
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  • 17.
    Waldbuhne Concert - St Petersburg Night
    Label: Kultur Video   Catalog: 4531 Release Date: 11/17/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Lincke,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Daniel Barenboim
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $19.99
    DVD: $11.99
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  • 18.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Borodin / Rattle
    Label: Euroarts   Catalog: 2056798 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Dmitri Shostakovich
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
    On sale! $24.99
    DVD: $22.99
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  • 19.
    Ultimate Classical Spectacular - The Essential Masterpieces
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001274702 Release Date: 04/21/2009   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Maurice Ravel,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Alan Loveday,  Christopher Warren-Green
    Conductor:  Esa-Pekka Salonen,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Vladimir Ashkenazy,  Charles Dutoit
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Dinner Classics - Breakfast In Bed
    Label: Cbs Masterworks   Catalog: 46356 Release Date: 12/04/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frederick Delius,  Georges Bizet,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Nathan Stutch
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Daniel Barenboim,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Toronto Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 21.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Night On The Bare Mountain, Etc / Ponti, Et Al
    Label: Pentatone   Catalog: 5186332 Release Date: 11/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Carlo Ponti,  Carlo Ponti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 22.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Night On Bald Mountain, Etc / Paavo Järvi, Cincinnati So
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80705 Release Date: 09/23/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Paavo Järvi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
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  • 23.
    Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 5;  Glinka, Mussorgsky / Solti, Cso
    Label: London/Decca Jubilee   Catalog: 417723 Release Date: 08/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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  • 24.
    Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Conlon
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 45596 Release Date: 04/18/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  James Conlon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 25.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition / Dutoit, Montréal Sym
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 417299 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Conductor:  Charles Dutoit
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Montreal Symphony Orchestra
    ArkivCD $16.99
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