Mn Mussorgsky "Night on Bald Mountain": history, video, interesting facts

Mn Mussorgsky "Night on Bald Mountain"

"For that, he would have been kicked out of the conservatory ..."

Fantasy for symphonic orchestra MP Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain", written on such an unusual plot, devoted to the coven of witches, was unfairly pushed by his contemporaries into the farthest corner of the history of music. How so?

The history of fantasy "Night on Bald Mountain" by Mussorgsky and many interesting facts read on our page.

History of creation

In 1860, M.P. Mussorgsky drew attention to the drama "The Witch" by Comrade GF. Mengdena, with whom he studied together. Initially, the composer decided to compose a vocal-stage composition with the participation of the choir, symphony orchestra and soloists. He immediately began writing and even managed to complete some fragments. Already in September of that year, Mussorgsky told his comrade Balakirev that he had received an amusing job, which must be done by summer. However, soon the idea itself was postponed for seven years. Later, the composer returned to this undertaking, but he already thought of the work only in the orchestral form, removing the vocal part.

Carefully following the program, Mussorgsky thought through not only the form, but also orchestrated the composition, knowing full well that not everyone would appreciate this compositional innovation. In addition, the composer very carefully studied the descriptions of the Sabbath in various sources in order to convey everything in detail.

As a result of painstaking work, a sample of amazing music and a no less beautiful idea turned out. The composer himself in a letter to N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov pinned great hopes on his creation and noted that "a thinking musician must make a satisfactory impression." But what in fact? The work was rejected not only by the public, but also by colleagues and close friends. Moreover, M. Balakirev, to whom the work was dedicated, recognized the music as unsuccessful and forbade performing at concerts. What is so "terrible" heard, or vice versa did not hear the audience?

Of course, M.P. Mussorgsky admitted that he applied a number of compositional innovations and, even before the concert, he knew that not everyone would accept them. Moreover, he noted that he would have been expelled from the conservatory for such an essay. The proposal of M. Balakirev to rewrite "Ivanov is night on bald mountain" the composer immediately rejected, not wanting to even listen to it. But the public still heard this masterpiece in the new version. A little later, Rimsky-Korsakov made a general edition of Mussorgsky's completely different works, but the program would be better attributed to Mlada, it was there that Chernobog appears among the actors.

Originally, the fantasy was created by Mussorgsky for piano and orchestra, and later he remade it for a symphony orchestra. After some time, Mussorgsky again decided to change the composition, this time making it part of the opera Mlada. For this, some edits were made and a chorus was added. Later, Mussorgsky presented this work to the public as an interlude for his opera Sorochinsky Fair, adding some fragments. All these attempts were not completed. Only N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov after the death of the author. He took the best of the preserved materials and completed the whole composition.

The editorship of Rimsky-Korsakov is significantly different from the author's work, even the composition of the orchestra at Mussorgsky is different. The new version lacks some tools. The orchestration of Rimsky-Korsakov can be called more transparent. By the way, the new version was a smashing success. The audience enjoyed the unusual plot of the work “Night on Bald Mountain” and fantastic music.

Interesting Facts

  • The name Bald Mountain comes from folklore. This is a fantastic place where all the mysterious power flies: witches, demons. A special day for them is the night of Ivan Kupala.
  • The score of the work was written by the composer in just 12 days. In a letter to Rimsky-Korsakov, he announced that the fantasy was completed on the eve of Ivanov's day.
  • The original source, the Mengden drama "The Witch", was lost over time.
  • The manuscript Mussorgsky left a mark that he conceived a fantasy in 1866, and began to write in 1867.
  • In the author's version, the fantasy was published only in 1968, the premiere of the original version was successfully held in England in 1972.
  • The version of Rimsky-Korsakov was first performed in 1886 as part of the Russian symphony concerts in St. Petersburg, conducted by Nikolai Andreevich. According to him, the audience very enthusiastically took the fantasy.


Despite the fact that contemporaries did not appreciate the work of Mussorgsky, later this work became quite popular and is now regularly performed by many groups. In 1918, A. Gorsky turned to fantasy and created the ballet of the same name. After the successful premiere, other directors also turned to Mussorgsky.

In 1933, animators-directors drew attention to "Ivanovo Night on Bald Mountain." Thus, an animated film was created on the basis of a symphonic work using the “needle screen” technique by A. Alekseev. A little later, in 1940, Walt Disney included Mussorgsky’s work in his cartoon, Fantasia.

"Night on Bald Mountain" in our time can be heard in two editions, the author himself - M.P. Mussorgsky and N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov. You have an amazing opportunity to listen to the original source and decide whether it was so terrible to work that it was rejected by all famous musicians of that time.

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