Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839-1881)

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Episodes

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01*20091026

Charting the course from Mussorgsky's apprenticeship to the song cycle The Nursery.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Modest Mussorgsky.

He charts the course from Mussorgsky's fledgling, teenage venture onto the musical nursery slopes through his apprentice years with Mily Balakirev, his musical breakthrough with St John's Night on Bald Mountain, and his first stab at operatic realism in The Marriage, to his song cycle The Nursery - somewhat ironically, the first product of his musical maturity.

Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks (Pictures at an Exhibition)

James Crabb, Geir Draugsvoll (accordions)

EMI 5 69705 2 Tr 14

Porte-Enseigne Polka (1852)

Sylvie Carbonel (piano)

Adda 580052 Tr 17

Two early orchestral pieces (1858): Chorus of People in the Temple (Oedipus in Athens); Scherzo in B flat

London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

Claudio Abbado (conductor)

RCA RD70405 Trs 7, 4

St John's Night on Bald Mountain (1867)

National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine

Theodore Kuchar (conductor)

Naxos 8.555924 Tr 4

The Marriage (1868) - Sc 2

Podkolesin....Vladimir Khrulev

Fiokla Ivanovna....Ludmilla Kolmakova

USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra

Gennadi Rozhdestvensky (conductor)

Olympia OCD 145 Trs 31-36

The Nursery (1868-72)

Boris Christoff (baritone)

Alexandre Labinsky (piano)

EMI CHS 763025 2 CD 2 Trs 15-21.

02*20091027

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Modest Mussorgsky.

Donald concentrates on the ultimate Russian opera, Boris Godunov, a disturbing and profoundly moving psychological study of a deeply troubled individual, set against the broad canvas of the miserable plight of the oppressed masses - all accompanied by arguably some of the most thrilling music ever written.

Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks (Pictures at an Exhibition)

Kazuhito Yamashita (guitar)

RCA RCD14203 Tr 5

Boris Godunov (1872 version) - Prologue, Sc 2 (Coronation Scene)

Shuisky....Konstantin Pluzhnikov

Boris Godunov....Vladimir Vaneev

Kirov Chorus and Orchestra, St Petersburg

Valery Borisov (chorus master)

Valery Gergiev (conductor)

Philips 462 230-2 CD 3 Trs 5-7

Boris Godunov (1872 version) - Act 3, Sc 1

Marina Mnishek....Olga Borodina

Rangoni....Evgeny Nikitin

Philips 462 230-2 CD 4 Trs 14-19

Boris Godunov (1872 version) - Act 4, Sc 1 (excerpt)

Pimen....Nikokai Ohotnikov

Fyodor....Zlata Bulycheva

Philips 462 230-2 CD 5 Trs 3-8.

Donald Macleod explores the ultimate Russian opera - Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov.

03*20091028

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Modest Mussorgsky.

He concentrates on the fruits of a single year, which was perhaps Mussorgsky's most productive - 1874. In the summer of this year he composed two vastly different works: Sunless, a hauntingly beautiful, but bleakly pessimistic song cycle, and Pictures at an Exhibition, which ranks amongst his most positive, affirmative music.

Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks (Pictures at an Exhibition) - arr for Moog synthesiser

Tomita (keyboard)

RCA PD89381 Tr 9

Sunless (1874)

Marjana Lipovsek (mezzo-soprano)

Graham Johnson (piano)

Sony SK 66 858 Trs 8-13

Pictures at an Exhibition (1874)

Vladimir Ashkenazy (piano)

Decca 425 045-2 Trs 1-6.

Focusing on the year 1874, when Mussorgsky produced Pictures at an Exhibition.

04*20091029

Exploring Mussorgsky's song cycle, Songs and Dances of Death, and the opera Khovanshchina.

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Modest Mussorgsky.

He concentrates on two works from Mussorgsky's last decade - his final song cycle, Songs and Dances of Death, in which the grim reaper visits a varied cast of human characters in a variety of guises, always with the same end result; and his opera Khovanshchina, left unfinished at his own death in 1881.

Songs and Dances of Death (1875-7)

Aage Haugland (bass)

Paul Rosenbaum (piano)

Point PCD 5088 Trs 1-4

Joshua - also known as Jesus Navin (1874-7)

Elena Zaremba (mezzo-soprano)

Berlin Philharmonic

Prague Philharmonic Chorus

Claudio Abbado (conductor)

DG 445 238-2 Tr 5

Khovanschina (1872-80) - Act 4, Sc 1 (live recording)

Ivan Khovansky....Aage Haugland

A Confidant of Golitsyn....Bojidar Nikolov

Shaklovity....Anatolij Kotscherga

Concert Chorus of the Vienna State Opera

Slovak Philharmonic Choir, Bratislava

Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera

DG 429 758-2, CD 3 Trs 1-3

Khovanschina - close of Act 5 (live recording)

Dosifei....Paata Burchuladze

Andrei Khovansky....Vladimir Atlantov

Marfa....Marjana Lipovsek

DG 429 758-2 CD 3 Trs 9, 10.

05 LAST*20091030

Donald Macleod tells the unhappy story of Mussorgsky's final years.

Donald Macleod concludes his exploration of the life and work of Modest Mussorgsky.

He considers the composer's final years - a period which should have been his middle age, but was an unhappy ending.

His last opera, Sorochintsy Fair, was left in disembodied form, to be animated, by successive generations of composers.

The choice cuts of genuine Mussorgsky that have survived give a tantalising glimpse of what might have been.

Mephistopheles' Song in Auerbach's Cellar (Song of the Flea) - 1879

Paata Burchuladze (bass)

Ludmilla Ivanova (piano)

DG 419 239-2 Tr 13

Two piano pieces: On the southern shore of the Crimea - Gurzuf (1879); Near the southern shore of the Crimea: Baydarki Capriccio (1880)

Vovka Ashkenazy (piano)

Conifer 75605 51274 2 Trs 18, 19

Triumphal March (The Capture of Kars) - 1880

London Symphony Orchestra

Claudio Abbado (conductor)

BMG 09026 61354 2 Tr 9

Two Russian Folksongs (words by AK Tolstoy) - 1877: Misfortune; Softly the spirit flew up to heaven

Boris Christoff (baritone)

Alexandre Labinsky (piano)

EMI CHS 763025 2 CD 3 Trs 13, 14

Sorochintsy Fair (1874-80) - excerpt from Act 1

Parassia....L(ydia?) Chernikh

Tcherevik....V(ladimir?) Matorin

Gipsy....V Temichev

Gritzko....A(natoly?) Mishchevsky

Chorus and Orchestra of the Stanislavsky Theatre

V(ladimir?) Esipov (conductor)

Olympia OCD 114A+B CD 1 Trs 1-6

Sorochintsy Fair (excerpt from Act 2)

Khivria....L Zhakharenko

The Priest's Son....V(yacheslav?) Voinarovsky

Olympia OCD 114A+B CD 1 Trs 14-19

Sorochintsy Fair - concluding chorus of Act 3 (Hopak)

Olympia OCD 114A+B CD 2 Trs 5-6.