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Modest Mussorgsky:
Music from Russian Operas

Many pieces of music from Russian operas have become much more famous in the concert hall than on the opera stage. Some of these pieces include Tchaikovsky's Waltz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin, Alexander Borodinís Polovstian Dances from Prince Igor, and Sergei Prokofievís march from The Love for Three Oranges.

Music heard in this episode:
Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov: Polonaise
Glinka: Ruslan and Ludmilla: Overture
Rimsky - Korsakov: Mlada: Procession of the Nobles
Prokofiev: Love for 3 Oranges: March
Tchaikovsky: Euguene Onegin: Waltz
Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov: Polonaise
Borodin: Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances
Rimsky - Korsakov: The Tale of Tsar Sultan: Flight of the Bumblebee

Other shows about Modest Mussorgsky:
About Modest Mussorgsky
The Mighty Handful
Pictures at an Exhibition

Download this month's activity sheet

About Modest Mussorgsky
3/21/1839 - 3/28/1881
Born in Russia

Modest Mussorgsky was born in the Russian village of Karevo. His mother gave him his first piano lessons, and it was clear early on that Mussorgsky was a very good pianist.

Modest went to military boarding school, and when he graduated, he joined the army as an officer. Then, Mussorgsky started studying music with Russian composer Mily Balakirev, and left the army to become a composer. He was part of a group of five Russian composers known as "The Five," or the "Mighty Handful."

But Mussorgsky had a hard time making a living as a composer, especially after his family lost all its money. So he got a government job, and continued to spend all his spare time composing.

In addition to his instrumental music, Mussorgsky wrote songs, and several operas. His operatic masterpiece is "Boris Godunov," about a Russian Tsar who lived in the 1500's.

See other composers born in Russia


This Week's Quiz:

1. Who is the father of Russian classical music?

Piotr Tchaikovsky

Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov

Modest Mussorgsky

Sergei Prokofiev

Mikhail Glinka

2.What fruit is in the title of a Prokofiev opera?






3. Alexander Borodin was a chemist who also wrote music. What is the name of Borodinís only opera?

Tsar Sultan

Eugene Onegin

Prince Igor

Russlan and Ludmilla

Boris Godunov


Modest Mussorgsky

Composed in 1874
Performed by Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra
Daviel Nazareth, conductor

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