Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
On March 2, 1881, an unusual visitor with a canvas in his hands entered the doors of the capital Nikolaev Military Hospital located on Elephant Street in Peski. He went to the ward of his old friend, who was brought two weeks earlier with delirium tremens and nervous exhaustion. Putting the canvas on the table, opening the brushes and paints, Repin peered into the familiar tired and exhausted face. Four days later, the only lifetime portrait of a Russian genius was ready. Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky admired his image only 9 days and died. He was defiantly brave and one of the most fatal musical creators of the XIX century. A brilliant person, an innovator who was ahead of his time and had a significant impact on the development of not only Russian, but also European music. The life of Mussorgsky, as well as the fate of his works, was complex, but the fame of the composer will be eternal, because his music is imbued with love for the Russian land and the people who live on it.
A brief biography of Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky and many interesting facts about the composer can be found on our page.
Short biography of Mussorgsky
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was born on March 9, 1839. The estate in the Pskov Region, where he lived for up to 10 years, became his patrimonial nest. The proximity of peasant life, folk songs and a simple rural way of life formed in him that worldview, which later became the main theme of his work. Under the guidance of his mother, he began to play the piano early. The boy had a developed imagination and, listening to the nanny's fairy tales, sometimes could not sleep all night from the shock. These emotions were expressed in piano improvisations.
According to Mussorgsky's biography in connection with the relocation to St. Petersburg in 1849, his musical studies were combined with training in a gymnasium, and then at the School of Guards Warrant Officers. From the walls of the last Modest Petrovich came out not only as an officer, but also as a great pianist. After a brief military service in 1858, he retired to concentrate fully on composing. Such a decision was facilitated by the acquaintance with MA Balakirev, who taught him the basics of composition. With the arrival of Mussorgsky, the final composition of the "Mighty Handful" is formed.
The composer works a lot, the premiere of the first opera makes him famous, but other works do not find understanding even among the cadets. There is a split in the group. Shortly before that, due to his extreme need, Mussorgsky returned to service in various departments, but his health began to fail. Manifestations of a "nervous disease" are combined with an addiction to alcohol. He spends several years in the estate of his brother. In St. Petersburg, being in constant monetary difficulty, lives with various acquaintances. Only once, in 1879, he managed to break out on a trip to the southern regions of the Empire with the singer D. Leonova as her accompanist. The enthusiasm from this trip, alas, did not last long. Mussorgsky returned to the capital, was expelled from the service and again plunged into apathy and drunkenness. He was a subtle, generous, but deeply lonely man. On the day when he was expelled from a rented apartment for non-payment, he was hit. Another month Modest Petrovich spent in the hospital, where he died early in the morning on March 16, 1881.
Interesting facts about Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
- Mentioning two versions of "Boris Godunov", we mean - the author. But there are also “editors” of other composers. There are at least 7 of them! ON. Rimsky-Korsakov, who lived with Mussorgsky in the same apartment at the time of the creation of the opera, had such an individual vision of this musical material that his two versions remained unchanged a few bars of the original source. Their instrumentation clavier created E. Melngailis, PA. Lamm, D.D. Shostakovich, K. Rathauz, D. Lloyd-Jones.
- Sometimes, to complete the reproduction of the author's intention and original music in the 1872 version, they add a scene at St. Basil's Cathedral from the first edition.
- For obvious reasons, Khovanshchina also befell numerous editors - Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Ravel. Version dd Shostakovich is considered the closest to the original.
- Conductor Claudio Abbado for the Khovanshchina of 1989 at the Vienna Opera made his own compilation of music: he restored some episodes in author's orchestration, crossed out by Rimsky-Korsakov, based on the editors D. Shostakovich and the final ("Final Choir") created by I. Stravinsky . Since then, this combination has been repeated several times in European productions of opera.
- Despite the fact that both Pushkin and Mussorgsky in their works presented Boris Godunov as a child-killer, there is no direct historical evidence that Tsarevich Dimitrii was killed by his order. The younger son of Ivan the Terrible suffered from epilepsy and, according to the testimony of eyewitnesses and the official investigation, he died from an accident while playing with a sharp object. The version of the contract killing was supported by the mother of Prince Mary Nagaya. Probably, in revenge on Godunov, she recognized her son in False Dmitry I, although she later repudiated her words. Interestingly, Vasily Shuisky was in charge of the investigation of Dimitri's case, who later became king, changed his point of view, stating unequivocally that the boy was killed on the instructions of Boris Godunov. This opinion is shared by N.M. Karamzin in the "History of the Russian State".
- Sister M.I. Glinka L.I. Shestakova gave Mussorgsky the edition of "Boris Godunov" by A.S. Pushkin with glued blank sheets. It is on them that the composer noted the date of commencement of work on the opera.
- Tickets for the premiere of "Boris Godunov" bought for 4 days, despite their price, three times higher than usual.
- Foreign premieres of "Boris Godunov" and "Khovanshchina" were held in Paris - in 1908 and 1913, respectively.
- Apart from the works of Tchaikovsky, "Boris Godunov" is the most famous Russian opera, repeatedly staged on the biggest stages.
- The famous Bulgarian opera singer Boris Khristov on the recording of "Boris Godunov" in 1952 performed three parts at once: Boris, Varlaam and Pimen.
- Mussorgsky - favorite composer F.I. Shalyapin.
- The pre-revolutionary performances of "Boris Godunov" were few and short-lived, in three of them the title role was performed by F.I. Shalyapin. Truly appreciated the work only in Soviet times. Since 1947, the opera goes to the Bolshoi Theater, from 1928 - to the Mariinsky, and, in the current repertoire of the theater, both versions are.
- Grandmother Modest Petrovich, Irina Egorovna, was a serf. Alexey Grigorievich Mussorgsky married her, having already three joint children, among whom was the father of the composer.
- Modi's parents wanted him to become a soldier. His grandfather and great-grandfather were Guards officers, and his father, Peter Alekseevich, also dreamed about it. But because of the dubious origin of the military career was not available to him.
- Mussorgsky - Smolensk branch of the royal family of Rurik.
- Probably, the basis of the internal conflict that had tormented Mussorgsky all his life was a class contradiction: coming from a wealthy noble family, he spent his childhood among the peasants of his estate, and the blood of serf people flowed in his own veins. It is the people - the main character of both major operas of the composer. This is the only character to whom he relates with absolute sympathy and compassion.
- From the biography of Mussorgsky, we know that the composer remained a bachelor all his life, even his friends left no evidence of the amorous adventures of the composer. There were rumors that in his youth he lived with a pub singer, who ran away with another, cruelly broke his heart. But it is not known for certain whether this story really was. Also remained unconfirmed version of the composer's love for Nadezhda Petrovna Opochinina, who was 18 years older than him, and to which he dedicated many of his works ...
- Mussorgsky is the third performing Russian opera composer.
- "Boris Godunov" goes to the theaters of the world more often than "Werther" Massenet, "Manon Lesko" by Puccini or any opera by Wagner's "The Nibelung Ring".
- It was Mussorgsky’s creative work that inspired I. Stravinsky, who, as a student of N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov, did not recognize his edits in the "Boris Godunov".
- Among the foreign followers of the composer - C. Debussy and M. Ravel.
- The trash man is a nickname that the composer carried with friends. He was also called Modinka.
- In Russia, "Khovanshchina" was first performed in 1897, performed by the Russian private opera by S.I. Mammoth. And only in 1912 it was staged at the Bolshoi and Mariinsky Theaters.
- In Soviet times, the Mikhailovsky Theater of St. Petersburg bore the name of M.P. Mussorgsky. After the reconstruction and return of the historical name, as a ring in the theater, a few bars from the introduction to Khovanshchina (Dawn on the Moscow River) sound like a tribute to the great composer.
- Both Mussorgsky's operas require the performance of a significantly expanded orchestra to accurately convey the expressiveness of the music.
- "Sorochinsky Fair" graduated from C. Cui. This production was the last opera premiere of the Russian Empire 12 days before the revolution.
- The first serious attack of delirium tremens overtook the composer already in 1865. Tatyana Pavlovna Mussorgskaya, the wife of Brother Filaret, insisted that Modest Petrovich move to their estate. He left, but he never fully recovered from his illness. Leaving his relatives in St. Petersburg, without which he could not live, the composer did not leave his pernicious addiction.
- Mussorgsky died 16 days later than Emperor Alexander II, who was killed by terrorists in St. Petersburg.
- The composer bequeathed the rights to publish his works to the famous patron T.I. Filippov, who repeatedly helped him. It was he who paid and worthy the funeral of Modest Petrovich at the Tikhvin cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery.
Creativity Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
First published work - polka "ensign" - saw the light when its author was only 13 years old. At 17 he wrote two scherzos, the sketches of further works of a large form did not develop into full-fledged works. Since 1857, Mussorgsky has written songs and romances, most of which are on folk themes. It was unusual for a secular musician of those years. The first attempts to write operas remained unfinished - this andSalambo"according to G. Flaubert, and"Marriage"after N.V. Gogol. Music for" Salambo "will be fully included in the only opera completed by the composer - Boris Godunov."
The biography of Mussorgsky states that Mussorgsky began his work in 1868. The libretto of all his large-scale works he wrote himself, the text of “Godunov” was based on the tragedy of A.S. Pushkin, and the authenticity of the events was verified with N.M. Karamzin. According to Modest Petrovich, in the original idea of the opera there were two main characters - the people and the king. During the year the work was completed and presented to the court directors of the imperial theaters. The composer’s innovative, non-academic and in many ways revolutionary work shocked the members of the Kapelmeister Committee. Formal reason for refusal of setting "Boris Godunov"was in the absence of a central women's party. So a wonderful precedent was born in the history of opera - two editions, and in meaning - two operas for one plot.
The second edition was ready by 1872, a bright female character appeared in it - Marina Mnishek, a magnificent party for mezzo-soprano, a Polish act and a love line of False Dmitry and Marina were added, and the final was reworked. Despite this, the Mariinsky Theater again rejected the opera. The situation was ambiguous - many excerpts from "Boris Godunov" were already performed by singers at concerts, the public was well received by this music, and theatrical leadership remained indifferent. Thanks to the support of the Mariinsky Opera Company, in particular, the singer Y.F. Platonov, insisting on the performance of the work in her benefit performance, the opera saw the light of the ramp on January 27, 1874.
The main party was made by I.A. Melnikov, one of the outstanding vocalists of his time. The audience went on a rampage and caused the composer to bow about 20 times, the criticism was expressed with both restraint and negative. In particular, Mussorgsky was accused of portraying the people as an unruly crowd of drunk, oppressed and desperate people, absolutely stupid, simple and worthless people. For 8 years of the repertoire of life, the opera was shown only 15 times.
In 1867, for 12 days, Modest Petrovich wrote the musical picture “Ivanovo Night on Bald Mountain”, which was never performed during his lifetime and was reworked many times. In the 1870s, the author turned to instrumental and vocal compositions. So were born the "Pictures from the Exhibition", "Songs and Dances of Death", the cycle "Without the Sun".
His second historical opera, folk musical drama "Khovanshchina“Mussorgsky began writing before the premiere of Boris Godunov. The libretto was completely created by the composer himself, without relying on literary sources. It is based on real events of 1682, when Russian history also experienced a crucial period: there was a split not only in political but in and in spiritual spheres. Opera characters - and the Streltsy chief, Ivan Khovansky, with his mischievous son, and the favorite of Princess Sophia, Prince Golitsyn, and Old Believers - schismatics. Characters are burned with passions - love, power lust and drunkenness. The work stretched out for many years - illnesses, depression, periods of hard drinking ... "Khovanshchina" was already added by NA Rimsky-Korsakov immediately after the death of its author. In 1883 he offered it to the Mariinsky Theater, but received a categorical refusal. Mussorgsky's masterpiece was performed in the amateur music circle ...
Along with "Khovanshchina" composer wrote the opera "Sorochinsky Fair", which remained only in drafts. The last of his compositions were several pieces for piano.
Mussorgsky's music at the cinema
The melodies of "Nights on Bald Mountain" and "Pictures from an Exhibition" are popular all over the world and are often used in cinema. Among the famous films, where the music of M.P. Mussorgsky:
- The Simpsons television series (2007-2016)
- The Tree of Life (2011)
- “Burn After Reading” (2008)
- "The client is always dead", the television series (2003)
- Dracula 2000 (2000)
- "The Big Lebowski" (1998)
- "Lolita" (1997)
- "Natural Born Killers" (1994)
- "Death in Venice" (1971)
Biographical film There is only one about geniuses - G. Mushorgsky Roshal, released in 1950. In the post-war decade, several films were shot about the great Russian composers, this one can be called the most successful. Magnificent in the title role of A.F. Borisov. He managed to create the image of Mussorgsky as described by his contemporaries - generous, open, subtly feeling, inconstant, keen on. This role was awarded the USSR State Prize. V.V. Stasov in the film was played by N. Cherkasov, and Platonov’s singer - L. Orlova.
Among the screenings of the composer's operas and recordings of theatrical performances, we note:
- "Khovanshchina", staged by L. Baratov at the Mariinsky Theater, recorded in 2012, starring S. Aleksashkin, V. Galuzin, V. Vaneev, O. Borodina;
- "Boris Godunov", staged by A. Tarkovsky at the Covent Garden Theater, recorded in 1990, starring R. Lloyd, O. Borodina, A. Steblyanko;
- "Khovanshchina", staged by B. Large in the Vienna Opera, recorded in 1989, in roles: N. Gyaurov, V. Atlantov, P. Burchuladze, L. Semchuk;
- "Boris Godunov," directed by L. Baratov at the Bolshoi Theater, recorded in 1978, starring E. Nesterenko, V. Piavko, V. Yaroslavtsev, I. Arkhipova;
- "Khovanshchina", an opera film by V. Stroyev, 1959, in roles: A. Krivchenya, A. Grigoriev, M. Reisen, C. Leonova;
- "Boris Godunov", opera film V. Stroyev, 1954, starring A. Pirogov, G. Nelepp, M. Mikhailov, L. Avdeeva.
About the innovative nature of his music M.P. Mussorgsky repeatedly mentioned in letters. Time proved the validity of this definition: in the 20th century, composers began to use the same methods that once seemed anti-musical even to his contemporaries like Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov. Modest Petrovich was a genius. But the genius of Russian - with the blues, nervous exhaustion and the search for comfort at the bottom of the bottle. His work brought the history, character and songs of the Russian people to the world's best scenes, affirming their absolute cultural authority.