Mussorgsky — A Night on the Bare Mountain

About the piece

A Night on the Bare Mountain written by Modest Mussorgsky in 1867 tells us of a mountain packed full of trolls leading to a place where all things evil come out to play at midnight. This mysterious mountain is the meeting place for a wild and wicked party with witches and dancing. When the sun comes up, party time is over and all the creepy creatures vanish! This piece tells a short story in which St John sees a witches’ Sabbath on the Bald Mountain near Kiev in the old Russian Empire. But when the church bell chimes 6am and the sun comes up, the witches vanish, leaving the mountain in peace again. This night, 23rd June is now called St John’s Eve.

About the composer

Modest Mussorgsky was born in Russia (1839-1881). He started learning music as a young adult and was so curious about music that he taught himself to compose by surrounding himself with great musicians to learn from. He was particularly interested in trying out new sounds and in his own lifetime, his compositions were considered to be very wild and original.

Modest Mussorgsky on the Ten Pieces website

More resources for Modest Mussorgsky from the Ten Pieces pages on the BBC website.

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