Pianist and composer, Mussorgsky was an innovator of Russian music. He strove to achieve a uniquely Russian musical identity, often in deliberate defiance of the established conventions of Western music. Mussorgsky depicts in his music "the insulted and the injured" with all their passion and pain. Many of his major works were inspired by Russian folklore and other nationalist themes, including the piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition. However, while Mussorgsky's music can be vivid and nationalistic, it does not glorify the powerful and is at times antimilitaristic. For this reason, he were considered dangerous extremists by the emperor and his court. For many years Mussorgsky's works were mainly known in versions revised or completed by other composers. Many of his most important compositions have recently come into their own in their original forms, and some of the original scores are now also available.
A Night on Bald Mountain
Inspired by an ancient Russian legend according to which on the night of S. Giovanni (June 23-24) a witch's sabbath ritually occurs, Mussorgsky wrote a first orchestral version of the piece in 1867 and another for chorus and orchestra in 1872. The opera that we know today in the Ravel’s symphonic version is, in reality, a posthumous re-elaboration by Rimskj Korsakov principally based on the score of 1872 but without the chorus. Paolo Marzocchi carried out his remarkable concert transcription basing it on this apocryphal piece.