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Modest Mussorgsky

Biography

Mussorgsky (1839-1881) is certainly the best-known and arguably the greatest of the Mighty Five (Mussorgsky, Borodin, Balakirev, Cui and Rimsky-Korsakov), a maverick group of Russian composers during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. Dissatisfied with the existing state of musical training, these composers turned to Russian folk songs for inspiration. Although Mussorgsky rarely quotes these melodies directly, their tendency for repetition and unusual harmonies had a huge impact on his compositional style. Pieces such as the popular "Pictures at an Exhibition" for piano (later orchestrated by Ravel) reveal his concern with recurring themes and his remarkable ability for capturing single impressions. A true revolutionary, his unconventional vocabulary and seemingly simplistic progressions had an enormous impact on early Twentieth Century composers.
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