9780521485074

The Life of Musorgsky

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780521485074

  • ISBN10:

    052148507X

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1999-10-13
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Supplemental Materials

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Summary

Modest Musorgsky is Russia's greatest musical dramatist. When he died in 1881 in St Petersburg at the age of forty-two, in poverty and relative obscurity, he was known for a single opera, Boris Godunov and a handful of eccentric 'realistic' songs set to prosaic Russian texts. He had no institutional connections, no 'degree', no family of his own, not even a permanent address. Except for Franz Liszt, no composer of stature knew of him outside Russia. Through the loyal (if controversial) intervention of his friends, his works survived in various editings into the early twentieth century, when revivals and evolving musical tastes restored him to new life. This account of his life emphasizes the psychological and economic factors that contributed to the composer's remarkable rise and tragic, premature end and is the first brief biography in English to make use of materials published in the new, de-Sovietized Russian academic climate.

Author Biography

Caryl Emerson is A. Watson Armour III University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations
vi
Note on sources and translations viii
Acknowledgments ix
Preface xi
Childhood and youth, 1839--1856
1(25)
Apprenticeship in St. Petersburg, 1850s--1860s: composers' evenings and the commune
26(29)
Conservatories, ``circles,'' and Musorgsky at the far musical edge
55(26)
1868--1874: Musorgsky and Russian history
81(31)
The 1870s: Musorgsky and death
112(24)
Beyond tragedy: the final years
136(43)
Epilogue: the Musorgsky problem, then and now
157(12)
Musical postlude: Appraising the artistic product
169(10)
David Geppert
Notes 179(9)
Selected bibliography 188(2)
Index 190

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