Night on Bald Mountain

Mussorgsky

Juan Pablo ( Tuvalu Tuvalu )

“Night on Bald Mountain” concert by Mussorgsky – Juan Pablo’s goosebump moment

(text video)


“Hello, my name is Juan Pablo and I come from Tuvalu, and my goosebump moment was when I went to see a live orchestra where they played “Night on Bald Mountain” by Mussorgsky, a really great composer. That night was the first time I went to see a live orchestra and it was really, really amazing. It was an outer world experience actually, I can’t believe, can’t believe how many emotions that gave to me at that moment. I had never experienced something like that. I really recommend going to see one live, because that night hearing all the instruments playing together all this things were really emotive for me and I really loved that sensation, it was great.”

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Night on Bald Mountain

“Night on Bald Mountain” is an orchestral work by the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky that was completed in June 1867. The work had not been performed in public at the time of the composer’s death in 1881; it was revised by his colleagues and still later by other generations of composers and conductors. Not until it was used in the penultimate scene of the Walt Disney movie “Fantasia” (1940) did it garner a wider audience. For a Western public, it remains largely associated with that movie and with the celebration of Halloween.

What inspired Mussorgsky to write “Night on Bald Mountain”?

Modest Mussorgsky tried many times to write the music we know today as “Night on Bald Mountain”, and never succeeded satisfactorily. He got the idea for this music in 1860, when at the age of 21 he thought of writing an opera based on Gogol’s short story, St. John ‘s Eve. Soon this turned into plans for a one-act opera based on Baron Mengden’s play, The Witches, and at the center of both was to be a horrific witches’ sabbath.

Renowned Russian composer of the 19th century

The modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was a renowned Russian composer of the 19th century, one of the members of the group of outstanding composers known as “The Five”. He was born into a noble family. Following his family tradition, he joined the Imperial Guard at the age of seventeen but resigned two years later to devote his life to music.

By then, he had begun studying music with Balakirev, and had also become close to Stasov, Cesar Cui and Rimsky-Korsakov. Although he respected Western music, his ambition was to achieve a Russian identity, and he often drew inspiration from Russian history, folklore, and other nationalistic themes, slowly evolving an original and bold style. Unfortunately, due to an intense addiction to alcohol and recurrent nervous breakdowns, he was only able to leave a small body of work, some of which was realized in his lifetime.

After his death at the age of forty-two, many of his well-meaning friends edited and performed his works and for many years Mussorgsky’s works were known only in those edited versions. Later, many of his important works were discovered in their original form and published in a collected edition in 1928.

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