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
Brilliant Opera Collection - Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov / Dobrowen, Christoff
Release Date: 07/13/2010   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 93926   Number of Discs: 3
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Ravel: Daphnis Et Chloe, La Valse / Casadesus
Release Date: 05/10/2011   Label: Royal Philharmonic Masterworks  
Catalog: 28180   Number of Discs: 1
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Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina / Margaritov, Ghiuselev, Petkov, Kostov, Bodourov
Release Date: 09/27/2011   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94255   Number of Discs: 3
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Schumann: Kinderszenen / Gavrylyuk
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Pan Classics  
Catalog: 63   Number of Discs: 1
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Scriabin, Beethoven / Federico Colli
Release Date: 03/25/2014   Label: Champs Hill Records  
Catalog: 79   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Khovanshchina: Dawn on the Moscow River

Browse 26-50 of 64 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Night On Bare Mountain; Balakirev: Tamara / Ansermet, L?orchestre De La Suisse Romande
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4800047 Release Date: 07/14/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Mily Balakirev
    Conductor:  Ernest Ansermet
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Suisse Romande Orchestra
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  • 27.
    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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  • 28.
    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
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  • 29.
    Mussorgsky, Borodin, Glière, Etc / Stokowski, Et Al
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 546 Release Date: 09/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Reinhold Gliere,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Nicola Moscona
    Conductor:  Leopold Stokowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leopold Stokowski Orchestra,  Women's Chorus
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  • 30.
    Vaughan Williams, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky / Koussevitzky, BSO
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2324 Release Date: 09/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Conductor:  Serge Koussevitzky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Symphony Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Claudio Abbado Conducts Mussorgsky / London Symphony
    Label: Rca Victor Gold Seal   Catalog: 61354 Release Date: 07/26/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Zehava Gal
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
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  • 32.
    Russian Overtures / Pletnev, Russian National Orchestra
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 439892 Release Date: 04/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Borodin,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Conductor:  Mikhail Pletnev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian National Orchestra
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  • 33.
    Grace Bumbry In Concert
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4402 Release Date: 03/27/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Jules Massenet,  Giacomo Puccini,  Francesco Cilèa  ... 
    Performer:  Grace Bumbry
    Conductor:  Massimo Pradella
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Switzerland Radio/TV Orchestra
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  • 34.
    Shostakovich: Symphonies 13 & 15; Mussorgsky: Songs / Solti, Alexashkin
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4428235 Release Date: 02/12/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Sergei Alexashkin,  Sir Anthony Hopkins
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Chorus
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  • 35.
    Spring Moods
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 210054 Release Date: 09/01/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Jacob Van Eyck,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Marion Kokott,  Iona Brown,  Takako Nishizaki,  Jenö Jandó  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus-Peter Hahn,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eden-Stell Duo,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Moscow State Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Gemini - Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition / Jansons
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 50824 Release Date: 05/02/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
    Performer:  Joakim Svenheden
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 37.
    Spring Moods
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98223 Release Date: 02/14/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jan Jacob Van Eyck,  Domenico Scarlatti,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Marion Kokott,  Iona Brown,  Takako Nishizaki,  Jenö Jandó  ... 
    Conductor:  Klaus-Peter Hahn,  Sir Neville Marriner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eden-Stell Duo,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Moscow State Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra
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  • 38.
    Label: Northern Flowers   Catalog: 9906 Release Date: 10/25/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Eduard Serov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Volgograd Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 39.
    Dorati Conducts Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Gershwin, Et Al
    Label: Mercury Living Presence   Catalog: 000518902 Release Date: 09/27/2005   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Bedrich Smetana,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Conductor:  Antal Doráti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    On sale! $39.98
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  • 40.
    Classic Library - Mussorgsky: Pictures, Etc / Temirkanov
    Label: Rca Victor Red Seal   Catalog: 59423 Release Date: 04/20/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Sergei Leiferkus
    Conductor:  Yuri Temirkanov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 41.
    Expanded Edition - Mussorgsky, Rimsky-korsakov / Szell, Etc
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 93019 Release Date: 09/30/2003   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Anatole Liadov,  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
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  • 42.
    Chicago Symphony Orchestra - Historic Telecasts / George Szell
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4222 Release Date: 10/22/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Hector Berlioz,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Erica Morini
    Conductor:  George Szell
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
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  • 43.
    Mussorgsky: Night On The Bare Mountain, Etc / Saraste, Et Al
    Label: Apex   Catalog: 388432 Release Date: 07/16/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Jukka-Pekka Saraste
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toronto Symphony Orchestra
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  • 44.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Gergiev, Et Al
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 468526 Release Date: 05/14/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 45.
    Mussorgksy: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Gorenstein
    Label: Chant Du Monde   Catalog: 288168 Release Date: 10/09/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Mark Gorenstein
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian State Symphony Orchestra
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  • 46.
    The Monet Collection - Quiet Meditation
    Label: Lifestyles   Catalog: 315022 Release Date: 06/05/2001   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Claude Debussy,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Isidora Schwarzberg-Romanoff,  Eric Davoust,  Valentinas Gelgotas
    Conductor:  Jooyang Ahn,  Jansug Kakhidze,  Stanislav Gorkovenko,  Vakhtang Kakhidze  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra,  Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra,  Russian Radio/TV Orchestra of St. Petersburg  ... 
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  • 47.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Simon, Et Al
    Label: Cala Records   Catalog: 1030 Release Date: 11/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Tamas Ungar
    Conductor:  Geoffrey Simon
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 48.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Serov, Et Al
    Label: Amadis   Catalog: 7154 Release Date: 10/07/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Eduard Serov
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Volgograd Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 49.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Night On Bare Mountain / Karajan, Maazel
    Label: Dg Panorama   Catalog: 469169 Release Date: 09/26/2000   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Brigitte Fassbaender,  Sviatoslav Richter,  Galina Vishnevskaya,  Alexei Maslennikov  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Mikhail Pletnev  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 50.
    Adagio: Music For Relaxation
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 4681292 Release Date: 09/04/2000   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Edvard Grieg,  George Frideric Handel,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
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