Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Two Birthdays

Yes indeed, TWO birthdays. For all these years I've been celebrating J.S. Bach's birthday here at Roy's World, but this year it dawned on me that it's also Modest Mussorgsky's (Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bald Mountain, among others). He was firmly in the Russian Romantic school and was considered a major inspiration for later generations of Russian composers, including Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev.

Interestingly enough, Walt Disney Studios used works by both Bach and Mussorgsky in the 1940 animation tour-de-force Fantasia. The movie starts off with Leopold Stokowski conducting the Philedelphia Orchestra in his own orchestration of Bach's most famous organ piece - the Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565.

And Fantasia ends with Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain, although Disney and Stokowski decided to segue into Schubert's Ave Maria to create a stylistic contrast at the end. In any event, here it is. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Papa Johann and Modest!