A Night on the Bare Mountain (Bald Mountain)
Modest Mussorgsky


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This Russian masterpiece climbs a phenomenal 110 places

It was as a teenager that the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky was first inspired to write his orchestral poem A Night on the Bare Mountain. He was an ambitious young man with dreams to compose a full-scale opera called St. John's Eve, which he said would include the scene of a witches' sabbath. Like so many of Mussorgsky's musical plans, though, this one never fully came to fruition.

One work that did survive this particular grand plan, though, was A Night on the Bare Mountain. It wasn't completed until nine years after his initial inspiration for St. John's Eve and, despite its great popularity today, the work never gained any semblance of a following in Mussorgsky's lifetime. It was only when Rimsky-Korsakov produced his own re-orchestrated version (five years after Mussorgsky's death) that the piece began to receive an appreciative audience. It's this version that we enjoy today.

Walt Disney created Chernabog, an intimidating horned creature, to represent the powerful music in his film Fantasia (1940).