Night On Bald Mountain

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Night on Bald Mountain by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky (1867) was written in 1867 during the Romantic period. This orchestral tone poem was inspired by Nikolay Gogol’s short story “St. John’s Eve” which chronicles the witches’ pilgrim to Bald Mountain to await the arrival of their lord, Satan. Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain is a very dark piece which uses several musical elements such as dramatic contrast of dynamics, pitch, chromatic harmonies and discords to create an exciting and twisted story. It is a beautiful work that depicts the style and characteristics of 19th century Romantic music. This orchestral composition is a skillful combination of these elements that makes this classical piece one of my favorites. The instrumentation…show more content…
From beginning to end, I am captivated by the music. Each element brings a unique character to the overall piece. The music takes the listener on a suspenseful journey. The arrangement of the song gives me a visual of someone stumbling upon a dark forest and begins to hear the fast-approaching movement of something behind them. The pairing of several melodic phrases throughout the composition adds to the sense of chaos and turbulence. The dramatic contrast of dynamics between themes, pitch, chromatic harmonies and discords used in Night on Bald Mountain are still used in musical scores for horror movies. I remember hearing this music in Disney’s Fantasia and thinking, “Boy, do I need to run.” It still has that same effect. In the movie, Chernabog, the evil god, appears in the final segment of the film and summons spirits around the mountain. There’s not another score of music that could perfectly illustrate the final scene of Disney’s Fantasia than Night of Bald Mountain. This was the epitome of the framework of a nightmare for a young boy who was afraid of his own shadow. I can remember hiding under the arm of my mother but somehow could not tear myself away from the big screen. Watching Fantasia as an adult it still brings about some anxiety when I reach the scene at Bald Mountain. The musical score is actually synonymous with that fear but seems to keep me in my seat; making it the favorite part of the entire
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