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Modest Mussorgsky
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Modest Mussorgsky

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (Моде́ст Петро́вич Му́соргский) (March 21, 1839 - March 28, 1881; sometimes spelt Modeste Moussorgsky), was a Russian composer.

He was a member of The Five, the group of composers under the leadership of Mily Balakirev dedicated to producing a distinctly Russian kind of music. Mussorgsky is best remembered today for his orchestral work St. John's Night on the Bare Mountain (commonly known as Night on Bald Mountain and popularized particularly by its appearance in Disney's Fantasia), and his cycle of piano pieces, Pictures at an Exhibition, written in commemoration of his friend, the architect Viktor Hartmann. (Years after Mussorgsky's death, a well known orchestral arrangement of the piece was made by Maurice Ravel.) Mussorgsky's opera, Boris Godunov is also well known.

Among his other works are a number of songs, including three song cycles: The Nursery (1872), Sunless (1874) and Songs & Dances of Death; (1877). Sunless lends its title to the 1982 film Sans Soleil by Chris Marker. The significance of the reference is not readily apparent, but the connection is acknowledged explicitly by Marker towards the end of the film.

Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky died on March 28, 1881 and was interred in Tikhvin Cemetery at the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, in St. Petersburg, Russia.