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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; Liszt: Piano Concerto No 1
Release Date: 09/30/2008   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8570716   Number of Discs: 1
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Stokowski Transcriptions - Bach, Wagner, Mussorgsky / Serebrier, Bournemouth SO
Release Date: 04/27/2010   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8505086   Number of Discs: 5
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Kuchar, Et Al
Release Date: 04/15/2003   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8555924   Number of Discs: 1
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Serebrier
Release Date: 06/21/2005   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8557645   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Khovanshchina: Dawn on the Moscow River

Browse 51-59 of 59 Available Recordings
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  • 51.
    Sir Hamilton Harty Conducts Mussorksy, Balakirev, Et Al
    Label: Symposium   Catalog: 1169 Release Date: 08/25/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hector Berlioz,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Arnold Bax,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  Harold Williams,  Dennis Noble,  Robert Easton,  Dora Labette  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Hamilton Harty
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Hallé Orchestra Chorus,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 52.
    Mussorgsky: Night On Bare Mountain, Etc / Abbado, Berlin Po
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62034 Release Date: 09/02/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Anatoly Kotcherga,  Marianna Tarasova
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Chorus,  South Tirol Children's Choir
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  • 53.
    Heaven And Hell - Macal Conducts Mussorgsky / New Jersey
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3217 Release Date: 05/22/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Clayton Brainerd
    Conductor:  Zdenek Macal
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Westminster Choir,  New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
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  • 54.
    Borodin & Mussorgsky: Orchestral Works
    Label: Vox   Catalog: 7208 Release Date: 02/18/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin
    Conductor:  Leonard Slatkin
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Louis Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $9.99
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  • 55.
    The Tsar - Greatest Hits
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 62683 Release Date: 10/29/1996   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Glazunov,  Anonymous,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Jennie Tourel,  Allen Rogers,  Gary Karr
    Conductor:  Andre Kostelanetz,  Claudio Abbado,  Eugene Ormandy,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Andre Kostelanetz Orchestra,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 56.
    Inner Peace - Classics For The Spirit
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 61977 Release Date: 11/14/1995   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Gustav Holst,  Samuel Barber,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Oleg Malov,  Natalya Taldykina,  Nodar Gabunia,  Alexander Kiskachin  ... 
    Conductor:  Alexander Titov,  Vato Kahi,  Jahni Mardjani,  Stanislav Gorkovenko  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg New Classical Orchestra,  Georgian Festival Orchestra,  Georgian Festival Chorus  ... 
    CD: $4.99
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  • 57.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc
    Label: Sony Classical Infinity Digital   Catalog: 57233 Release Date: 10/04/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Jahni Mardjani
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Georgian Festival Orchestra
    CD: $4.99
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  • 58.
    Light Classics Volume 2 - Puccini, Offenbach, Mussorgsky
    Label: Chesky Records   Catalog: 108 Release Date: 02/17/1994   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jacques Offenbach,  Ronald Binge,  Dmitri Kabalevsky,  Antonín Dvorák  ... 
    Performer:  David Sellers
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Pops,  London Proms Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
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  • 59.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition / Levi, Atlanta So
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 80296 Release Date: 09/13/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Conductor:  Yoel Levi
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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