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Mussorgsky Complete Piano WorksMussorgsky Complete Piano Works

Mussorgsky Complete Piano Works

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Product code: 3611787
The latest in the Kevin Mayhew Urtext performing edition range, containing all of Mussorgsky's piano works, from the well-known Pictures at an Exhibition suite, to the more obscure early works.


A child's scherzo - first version
A child's scherzo - second version
A tear
Childhood memory
Close to the southern shore of the Crimea - Capriccio
Fair scene (from Sorochintsy Fair)
Hopak of the merry young Ukrainians
(from Sorochintsy Fair)
Impromptu passionné - first version
Impromptu passionné - second version
Intermezzo in modo classico - first version
Intermezzo in modo classico - second version
In the village
La capricieuse
Nanny and me (from Memories of Childhood)
On the southern shore of the Crimea
Pictures at an exhibition
1. Gnome
2. The old castle
3. Tuileries - children's quarrel after playing
4. Bydlo - the oxcart
5. Ballet of the unhatched chicks
6. Two Jews, one rich and the other poor -
Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
7. The market place at limoges - the big news
8. Catacombs
Con mortuis in lingua mortua
9. The hut on hen's legs - Baba Yaga
10. The great gate at Kiev
Scherzo - first version
Scherzo - second version
The first punishment ( from Memories of Childhood)
The seamstress - Scherzino

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was born in 1839, the youngest son of a rich landowner. His paternal grandmother had been a serf and he was always strongly aware of his peasant ancestry. Something of a child prodigy, at the age of 9 he played a Field piano concerto to a large audience in his parent's home. However, he only began formal piano lessons a year later and knew little of musical theory. He did, however, greatly enjoy improvisation. His autobiography refers to his nanny: 'She gave me a deep knowledge of Russian
stories. This deep feeling for the soul of ordinary people became the main impulse for my improvisation.'
In 1852 Mussorgsky entered the Cadet School of the Imperial Guards and in 1856 he joined the Preobrazhensky Regiment of Guards. Although he had been one of the best students at the Cadet School he was still allowed to compose during his training. Balakirev taught him musical form and Borodin, who also met him in this period, described him as 'an elegant piano-playing dilettante'.
In 1858 Mussorgsky suffered severe nervous problems and resigned the Czar's commission. He resumed lessons with Balakirev and in 1860 again had a nervous breakdown. It was, however, during this period that he began to compose the music for which he became famous. Preliminary work began on the Witches' Sabbath scene from the Bare Mountain. He also became a member of the group of Russian composers known internationally as 'The Mighty Handful'.
Mussorgsky continued to experience nervous debilitation and the emancipation of the serfs in 1861 caused his family acute financial problems. These made him join the Civil Service in 1863 which he left in 1880. During this period he wrote the operas Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina. These marked him as a composer of rare originality and inspiration. However, he drank heavily and this greatly affected his work. He began to complain of 'fits of dementia'. Despite this, his Civil Service career flourished. He was also fortunate in his Director who gave him time off for his music, even allowing him to undertake a three-month concert tour in the Ukraine. In 1876 Mussorgsky wrote his famous Pictures at an Exhibition and in the same year Boris Godunov was premiered to great public acclamation.
Mussorgsky wrote many songs and stageworks, a lot of which were left unfinished. Little was published in his lifetime and Rimsky-Korsakov post-humously completed much of his work. He was scathing of Mussorgsky's lack of technical knowledge and, controversially, made many amendments to the original scores, sometimes entirely rewriting pieces.
On 15 February 1881 Mussorgsky appeared in public for the last time at a concert in which Rimsky-Korsakov conducted one of his works. A week later he fell into an alcoholic stupor and died, aged 42, on 28 March 1881.
Mussorgsky was a great composer who has finally achieved international recognition and popularity. He has given pleasure to millions and is recognised as a unique, if flawed, musical genius.
Colin Mawby

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