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Modest Mussorgsky

Already fascinated by music as a young officer, Mussorgsky first studied piano. Inspired by his acquaintance with Balakirev, a composer who was proclaiming a new kind of Russian music, Mussorgsky felt called upon as a composer to seek an innovative, specifically Russian musical language. Together with Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov and other young composers, Mussorgsky founded a composers’ group, mockingly called the "mighty handful”, which turned away from western traditions to draw the power of its compositional ideas from Russian folk music. Mussorgsky, the greatest talent of the group, succeeded in creating a pace-setting, naturalistic-declamatory compositional style, especially in the area of musical theatre and the art song. But the hoped-for success did not come about during his lifetime with his opera "Boris Godunov", and even less with his second opera, "Khavanshchina". More and more, in his final years, Mussorgsky succumbed to alcohol and died embittered and impoverished at the age of 42 in St. Petersburg. Many of his works, including "Boris Godunov" owe their popularity to the subsequent revision by Rimsky-Korsakov.

born on March 9/29, 1839 in Karevo near Velikiye Luki (Pskov District)

died on March 16/28, 1881 in St. Petersburg