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: Pictures at an Exhibition / Dudamel, Vienna Philharmonic
Release Date: 12/02/2016   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 002588502   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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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 / Nazareth
Release Date: 06/30/1992   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550051   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: Boris Godunov: Boris' Monologue

Browse 26-37 of 37 Available Recordings
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  • 26.
    Opera Recital - Stefan Elenkov
    Label: Gega New   Catalog: 235 Release Date: 10/29/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Stefan Elenkov
    Conductor:  Boris Hinchev,  Ivan Anguelov,  Mark Ermler,  Assen Naidenov  ... 
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  • 27.
    Moussorgsky: Boris Godounov (Highlights) / Chaliapin, Et Al
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2206 Release Date: 04/30/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Feodor Chaliapin,  Angelo Bada,  Nicola Moscona,  Aristide Baracchi  ... 
    Conductor:  Vincenzo Bellezza
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
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  • 28.
    The Great Polish Bass In Opera & Song / Marian Nowakowski
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 152 Release Date: 09/25/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  George Gershwin,  Jules Massenet,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  Marian Nowakowski
    Conductor:  Philip Green,  Anatole Fistoulari,  Warwick Braithwaite,  J Kolaczowski
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 29.
    A Tribute To Martti Talvela
    Label: Ondine   Catalog: 945 Release Date: 11/16/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Yrjö Kilpinen,  Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Joonas Kokkonen  ... 
    Performer:  Eero Heinonen,  Martti Talvela,  Hertha Klust
    Conductor:  Leif Segerstam,  Okko Kamu,  Jussi Jalas,  Paavo Berglund
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $17.99
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  • 30.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Leo Schützendorf
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89186 Release Date: 10/05/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Peter Cornelius,  Karl Millöcker,  Johann Strauss Jr.  ... 
    Performer:  Leo Schützendorf,  Josef Kalenberg,  Michael Bohnen
    Conductor:  Selmar Meyrowitz,  Frieder Weissmann,  Bruno Weyersberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin State Opera Orchestra,  Berlin City Opera Orchestra,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 31.
    Grosse Sänger Unseres Jahrhunderts - Hans Hotter
    Label: Orfeo D'or   Catalog: 501991 Release Date: 04/01/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Richard Strauss,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Hans Hotter
    Conductor:  Rudolf Albert,  Meinhard Von Zallinger,  Eugen Jochum
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    CD: $19.99
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  • 32.
    Lebendige Vergangenheit - Alexander Kipnis Vol 4
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 89166 Release Date: 03/02/1999   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Cornelius,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Lev Knipper,  Feodor Koeneman  ... 
    Performer:  Alexander Kipnis,  Paul Reinicke,  Fritz Wolff
    Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud,  Fritz Reiner,  Joseph Stopak,  Siegfried Wagner
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Frankfurt Radio Orchestra,  Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra  ... 
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  • 33.
    Joseph Greindl
    Label: Preiser Records   Catalog: 90124 Release Date: 07/04/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Charles Gounod,  Richard Wagner,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Josef Greindl
    Conductor:  Fritz Lehmann,  Fritz Rieger,  Ferdinand Leitner,  Leopold Ludwig
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Philharmonic Orchestra,  Bavarian State Opera Chorus,  Württemberg State Orchestra  ... 
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  • 34.
    Opera In English - Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov (Highlights) / Daniel, Et Al
    Label: Chandos   Catalog: 3007 Release Date: 05/19/1998   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
    Performer:  Susan Parry,  Yvonne Howard,  Mark Curtis,  Matthew Best  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Daniel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Northern Philharmonia,  Opera North Chorus,  Leeds Parish Church Chorus
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  • 35.
    George London - Of Gods And Demons
    Label: Sony Classical Masterworks   Catalog: 62758 Release Date: 01/14/1997   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anton Rubinstein,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Louis Gruenberg,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Performer:  George London
    Conductor:  Kurt Herbert Adler,  Rudolf Moralt,  Jean Paul Morel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,  Vienna Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Orchestra
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  • 36.
    Opera Scenes From Savonlinna
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 373 Release Date: 09/23/1994   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Wagner,  Modest Mussorgsky  ... 
    Performer:  Jorma Silvasti,  Satu Vihavainen,  Jaako Ryhänan,  Jorma Falck  ... 
    Conductor:  Kyösti Haatanen,  Ulf Söderblom,  Ilpo Mansnerus,  Leif Segerstam
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Savonlinna Opera Festival Chorus,  Savonlinna Opera Festival Orchestra
    CD: $44.49
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  • 37.
    Prima Voce - Chaliapin
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 7823 Release Date: 12/02/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky,  Jacques Ibert,  Alexander Grechaninov,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  George Godzinsky,  Feodor Chaliapin,  Cedric Sharpe,  Ivor Newton  ... 
    Conductor:  Jacques Ibert,  Nicolai Afonsky,  Max Steimann,  Lawrence Collingwood  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Russian Metropolitan Church Choir Paris,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Paris Opera Orchestra  ... 
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