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

Stokowski's Mussorgsky / Matthias Bamert, Bbc Philharmonic
Release Date: 06/18/1996   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 9445   Number of Discs: 1
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Bruckner, Brahms, Mussorgsky... / Gunter Wand
Release Date: 11/13/2012   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 12043   Number of Discs: 5
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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition / Järvi, Chicago So
Release Date: 10/28/1992   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 8849   Number of Discs: 1
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Opera In English - Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov (Highlights) / Daniel, Et Al
Release Date: 05/19/1998   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 3007   Number of Discs: 1
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Gunter Wand Edition Vol 20 - Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto; Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition
Release Date: 06/26/2012   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 9029   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Boris Godunov: Boris' Monologue

Browse 1-25 of 53 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Voices of Russian Opera
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 280342 Release Date: 07/16/2013   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Alexander Dargomizhsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin,  Marianne Tcherkasskaya,  Boris Christoff,  Mela Bougarinovitch  ... 
    Conductor:  Max Steimann,  Igor Markevitch,  Georgi Pozemkovsky,  Jerzy Semkow  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Lamoureux Concerts Association Orchestra,  Belgrade Opera Chorus  ... 
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  • 2.
    Great Russian Bass Roles
    Label: Regis   Catalog: 1196 Release Date: 07/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Boris Christoff
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  • 3.
    Icon - Boris Christoff [11-CD Set]
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 829372 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Alexander N. Serov  ... 
    Performer:  Boris Christoff,  Serge Zapolsky,  Alexandre Labinsky,  Gaston Marchésini  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens,  Féodor Potorjinsky,  Georges Tzipine,  Issay Dobrowen  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Féodor Potorjinsky Choir,  French National Radio Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $35.49
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  • 4.
    Popular Opera Arias
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300250 Release Date: 09/13/2011   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Gaetano Donizetti,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Hermann Prey,  Ruth-Margaret Pütz,  Franz Crass,  Annelies Burmeister  ... 
    Conductor:  Otmar Suitner,  Siegfried Kurz,  Giuseppe Patané,  Horst Stein  ... 
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  • 5.
    The Complete Vanni-marcoux
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 56001 Release Date: 01/24/2011   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Claude Debussy,  Henry Février,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Emile Vanni-Marcoux,  Odette Riquier,  Michel Cozette,  Piero Coppola
    Conductor:  Piero Coppola,  Edouard Bervily,  Henri Goublier,  Marcel Cariven
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra
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  • 6.
    André Pernet - Recordings 1928-1946
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10184 Release Date: 12/06/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Hector Berlioz,  Charles Gounod,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  André Pernet
    Conductor:  André Cluytens
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  • 7.
    Robert Radford - Recordings 1910-1926
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10190 Release Date: 11/22/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Henry Purcell,  Traditional,  Francis Korbay  ... 
    Performer:  Robert Radford,  Peter Dawson
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  • 8.
    Famous Voices Of The Past: George London, Vol. 3
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 93463 Release Date: 08/10/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Richard Wagner,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  George London,  Paul Ulanowsky
    Conductor:  Rudolf Moralt,  Jean Paul Morel
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  • 9.
    Firebirds In Paris - French & Belgian Singers In Russian Opera & Song
    Label: Marston   Catalog: 51008 Release Date: 06/09/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Anton Rubinstein  ... 
    Performer:  Germaine Cernay,  Gustav Cloëz,  Renée Doria,  Tasso Janopoulo  ... 
    Conductor:  Gustav Cloëz,  Florian Weiss,  Eugène Bigot,  Maurice Frigara  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Brussels Théâtre de la Monnaie Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Prima Voce - Boris Christoff
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7961 Release Date: 04/13/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Antonio Caldara,  Vincenzo Bellini,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Gerald Moore,  Boris Christoff
    Conductor:  Gui,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Herbert von Karajan,  Issay Dobroven  ... 
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  • 11.
    Nicolai Ghiaurov - Opera Gala
    Label: London/Decca Opera Gala Series   Catalog: 421872 Release Date: 04/08/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Arrigo Boito  ... 
    Performer:  Olivera Miljakovic,  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Edward Downes,  Sir Georg Solti,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra  ... 
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  • 12.
    The Art Of Feodor Chaliapin - Opera Scenes And Arias
    Label: Melodiya   Catalog: 1001345 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Alexander Dargomizhsky  ... 
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin
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  • 13.
    Paata Burchuladze - Boris Godunov, Don Carlos, Macbeth, Etc
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 414335 Release Date: 10/29/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Giuseppe Verdi
    Performer:  Paata Burchuladze
    Conductor:  Edward Downes
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Opera Chorus,  English Chamber Orchestra
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  • 14.
    Prima Voce - Alexander Kipnis
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7950 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Alexander Borodin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Kipnis,  Ilya Tamarin
    Conductor:  Nicolai Berezowsky
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  • 15.
    Heroes And Villains - Dmitri Hvorostovsky / Orbelian, Philharmonia Of Russia
    Label: Delos   Catalog: 3365 Release Date: 10/30/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Umberto Giordano,  Richard Wagner,  Anton Rubinstein,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Dmitri Hvorostovsky
    Conductor:  Constantine Orbelian
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia of Russia
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  • 16.
    Russian Opera Arias & Songs / Christoff, Et Al
    Label: Emi Great Recordings Of The Century   Catalog: 92052 Release Date: 09/18/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Traditional,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Boris Christoff,  Gerald Moore
    Conductor:  Issay Dobrowen,  Herbert von Karajan,  Nicolai Malko,  Wilhelm Schüchter
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
    CD: $12.99
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  • 17.
    Alexander Pirogow - Recordings 1936-1950
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10188 Release Date: 07/23/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Marian Viktorovich Koval,  Alexander Dargomizhsky,  Alexander Borodin  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Pirogov,  V. Kilchevsky,  Elena Smolenskaya
    Conductor:  Nikolai Golovanov,  Vassily Nebolssin,  Alexander Melik-Pashayev,  Samuel Samosud
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra
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  • 18.
    Nicola Rossi-Lemeni - Nabucco, La Forza, Ernani, etc
    Label: Hafg   Catalog: 10332 Release Date: 05/14/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Jacques Ibert,  Johannes Brahms,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Nicola Rossi-Lemeni,  Maria Callas,  Joan Hammond
    Conductor:  Tullio Serafin,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Tomaso Benintende-Neglia
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Mussorgsky: Pictures, Boris Gudonov (Excerpts) / Ormandy, George London
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 78747 Release Date: 06/06/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  George London,  Howard Fried,  Mildred Allen,  Stanley Kolk
    Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy,  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
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  • 20.
    Reopening Of The Vienna State Opera - 1955 / Goltz, Et Al
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90675 Release Date: 11/29/2005   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Carl Maria von Weber,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Giacomo Puccini  ... 
    Performer:  Emmy Loose,  Hilde Rössl-Majdan,  Karl Kamann,  Rudolf Lustig  ... 
    Conductor:  Otto Ackermann,  Meinhard Von Zallinger,  Herbert Kegel,  Wilhelm Schüchter  ... 
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  • 21.
    Verdi, Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky / Ghiaurov, Et Al
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 671051 Release Date: 11/29/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Giuseppe Verdi,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Gioachino Rossini  ... 
    Performer:  Nicolai Ghiaurov
    Conductor:  Miguel Gómez-Martinez,  Horst Stein,  Josef Krips,  Robert Satanowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus
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  • 22.
    Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov Highlights (In German) / Kegel
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 3262 Release Date: 10/01/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Theo Adam,  Siegfried Vogel,  Karl-Friedrich Hölzke,  Roswitha Trexler  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert Kegel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Leipzig Radio Chorus
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  • 23.
    London - George London, A Tribute
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4329 Release Date: 06/21/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Wagner,  Giacomo Puccini,  Richard Strauss,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Thomas Moser,  Nicolai Gedda,  Lucia Popp,  Sona Ghazarian  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna State Opera Chorus
    DVD: $33.99
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  • 24.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Raphaël Arié
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89610 Release Date: 05/31/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mikhail Glinka,  Gioachino Rossini,  Giacomo Puccini,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov  ... 
    Performer:  Raphäel Arié,  Tomaso Spataro
    Conductor:  Alberto Erede,  Josef Krips,  Isidore Karr
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre de la Société du Conservatoire Paris,  Suisse Romande Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 25.
    The Very Best Of Boris Christoff
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 86335 Release Date: 04/26/2005   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Alexander Borodin,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Boris Christoff,  Anna Alexieva,  Victoria de los Angeles,  Nicolai Gedda  ... 
    Conductor:  André Cluytens,  Jerzy Semkow,  Georges Tzipine,  Issay Dobroven  ... 
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