Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881)
Night on Bald Mountain (Arr Rimsky-Korsakov)
We begin this selection of rare and familiar Mussorgsky with one of his best-known works. In the composer's hands it went through several transformations, beginning life in 1867 as an orchestral fantasy depicting the orgiastic revels of Satan and the Spirits of Darkness on the Bald Mountain, near Kiev.
Although the composer's own original version has in recent years been published and performed, Rimsky-Korsakov's expert, highly colourful re-working of Mussorgsky's rough-hewn score remains deservedly popular. This work was given added stimulus by its inclusion in Walt Disney's classic animation feature Fantasia where it was vividly realised in visual terms that closely mirrored the musical narrative.