Portrait of Musorgsky, Ilya Repin
This late nineteenth century opera, Boris Godunov, looked back at Russias first great time of troubles in the early seventeenth century. As soaring tenors and sopranos anchored Western operas, the sonorous bass voice and unaccompanied chorus were the key elements for Musorgsky just as they had been in the worship services of the Russian Orthodox Church. There had been no instrumental music in the Church and no music at all for the masses outside of the sung liturgy itself.
In Musorgsky we have a wonderful combination of our own Russian national musical tradition with that of Western Europe. In a way Musorgsky is the musical symbol of Russia: Russia with her own distinct character and Russia that is open to the world outside.[Metropolitan Cyril of Smolensk and Kaliningrad]
Hear Kyril of Smolensk and Mstislav Rostropovich discussing Modest Musorgsky. (RealAudio)