Night on Bare (Bald) Mountain – Modest Mussorgsky

As a Bassist, I loved playing this marvelous Mussorgsky piece.

Video published on Mar 3, 2013 by Dinu Lipati.

(his notes below)

Night on The Bare Mountain (Russian: Ночь на лысой горе, Noch’ na lïsoy gore) by Modest Mussorgsky (1839–1881). Inspired by Russian literary works and legend, Mussorgsky made a witches’ sabbath the theme of a ‘musical picture’ titled St. John’s Night on the Bare Mountain.

A Night on the Bare Mountain was never performed in any form during Mussorgsky’s lifetime. The Rimsky-Korsakov edition premiered in 1886 in Saint Petersburg, and has become a concert favorite. The original tone poem by Mussorgsky was not published until 1968, and although it is seldom heard, it is gradually gaining exposure and popularity.

Many listeners became acquainted with Night on Bald Mountain through the Disney animated film Fantasia (1940), which used an arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s edition made by Leopold Stokowski. An arrangement (by David Shire) of the composition was included in the tremendously successful original soundtrack of the movie Saturday Night Fever.

(The Russian word “лысая” (lïsaya) literally means “bald”, but is used in this case figuratively for a mountain supposedly barren of trees. In the United Kingdom the title is rendered Night on the Bare Mountain.)

However, the work achieved fame and is still best known in Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov’s edition, a ‘fantasy for orchestra’ titled A Night on the Bare Mountain (1886), composed five years after Mussorgsky’s death:

Instrumentation: Strings: violins I & II, violas, cellos, double basses Woodwinds: 1 piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons Brass: 4 French horns, 2 cornets, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba Percussion: timpani, bass drum, snare drum, triangle, tambourine, cymbals, tam-tam


Russian legend tells of a witches’ sabbath taking place on St. John’s Night (June 23–24) on the Lysa Hora (Bald Mountain), near Kiev.


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