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Mussorgsky: Songs and Dances of Death, Trepak

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: Death in winter. . .

The Russian winter is one of the most extreme seasons in the world. Sub-zero temperatures, icy landscapes and bitterly cold winds are typical during the very long winter months. Winter in Russia has been the inspiration for many of that country’s composers. Most of these compositions are idyllic paintings of a winter countryside, but Modest Mussorgsky chose to explore the darker side of winter. In his song cycle Songs and Dances of Death, Mussorgsky sets four poems about Death appearing in various scenes as people of all ages meet their end. In the third movement of this dark and dreary work, a drunken peasant stumbles outside into a fierce blizzard. Death arrives on the scene dances a trepak, a Russian dance, with the peasant as he slowly freezes to death in the bitter cold. Originally written for voice and piano, this recording features the famous Dmitri Shostakovich transcription for voice and full orchestra

Music Heard On This Episode

Modest Mussorgsky: Songs and Dances of Death: Trepak
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone; The Kirov Orchestra; Valery Gergiev, conductor — Dmitri Hvorostovsky – Songs and Dances of Death (Phillips, 2001)
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album cover
Modest Mussorgsky: Songs and Dances of Death: Trepak
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone; The Kirov Orchestra; Valery Gergiev, conductor — Dmitri Hvorostovsky – Songs and Dances of Death (Phillips, 2001)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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