Boris Godunov Essay

1820 words - 7 pages

Boris Godunov is the most famous Russian opera of all time and gave its creator, Modest Mussorgsky, a permanent spot in Russian history. The opera is fundamentally Russian as it uses variations of Russian folk music, a heavy appearance of horns, and plays off famous historical context of the country. The political themes of the opera come full circle as they directly relates to the political state of Russia during Mussorgsky’s lifetime. The operas emotional conflicts dealing with guilt, love, lust, greed, and the struggle for power are what makes this opera universally relatable. This is why the opera is not only one of the most important pieces of Russian composition, but one of the most famous pieces in the world.
The young Modest Mussorgsky was born in 1839 in Russia. His mother was a virtuoso pianist, and gave Modest piano lessons since he was very young. By the age of seven he was already showing great promise, and could play some of Franz Liszt’s pieces. In 1849, at only ten years old, his father took Modest to St. Petersburg to the Peter-Paul School in preparation for a military career. His father also took into consideration Modest’s musical passions, his father entrusted Modest to Anton Gerke, who would later be a professor of music at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 1852 Mussorgsky entered the School for Cadets of the Guard. It was in the School for Cadets of the Guard that Mussorgsky composed his first piece, the Podpraporshchik. In his years in the army he met and learned from several of the men who later become members of The Five.
Beginning in 1856 Mussorgsky began visiting St. Petersburg to meet with The Five, which was made up of himself and four other Russian composers. Their aim was to create music that was authentically Russian and did not rely on the styles, or training of older European composers. They incorporated a lot of Russian Folk music into their works. However, Modest was often ridiculed by the other members for his work being too much like the European composers, and Modest was often bullied by them into altering things he had already been happy with in his pieces. Since devoting his life exclusively to music in 1858 he had become very poor. Mussorgsky was a landowner, since inheriting the lands his father left him after his death. In 1861, Tsar Alexander II freed the peasants of Russia from the system of serfdom. Because of this Mussorgsky was forced to give up a considerable amount of land to newly freed serfs, and sent him into poverty. He even had to seek help from moneylenders, which was much looked down upon in this time, especially for someone of higher social status like Mussorgsky.
By 1866 Modest Mussorgsky had created several remarkable songs whose inspiration was mostly about ordinary people. Some of these songs were “Darling Savishna,” “Hopak,” and “The Seminarist.” In 1869 he began his great work, Boris Godunov, to his own libretto based on the drama by Aleksandr Pushkin. His first draft was...

Find Another Essay On Boris Godunov

MUSSORGSKY’S PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION: Essay

2122 words - 8 pages commitment emerged primarily in opera. Concern for musical realism and sensitivity to broad social and moral issues appeared vividly in his songs of the 1860s, including "The Seminarian," "The Outcast," and "The Orphan Girl". These elements, however, gained cumulative power in his operas. In 1863-66 he set about adapting Gustave Flaubert's Salammbo, then turned to Nikolai Gogol's The Marriage, but completed neither. He started Boris Godunov in

Alexander Pushkin; the Father of Modern Russian Literature

1134 words - 5 pages in his work. While in exile he fell in love with the daughter of a count and made advances towards her which got him exiled to his mother’s estate of the other side of the country for another 2 years (Edmonds, 3). Due to his deep loneliness he began to find solace in reading Russian history and speaking with peasants and serfs employed on his mother’s estate, this led to two things; “Boris Godunov” his first attempt at historical fiction, and the

A Brief Biography of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

1064 words - 5 pages , Tchaikovsky had temporary jobs including giving piano lessons and copying sheet music. Tchaikovsky began working on an opera that was based on Pushkin’s drama entitled Boris Godunov. Unfortunately, he did not get too far in this opera. However, he did finish an overture to Alexander Ostrovsky’s The Hurricane. In 1865, Tchaikovsky composed music that was set to Schiller’s ode “An die Freude”, just like what Beethoven did in his ninth

Reality and Illusion in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Reality, Appearance and Deception

896 words - 4 pages Reality and Illusion in Hamlet   Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, begins with the appearance of a ghost, an apparition, possibly a hallucination. Thus, from the beginning, Shakespeare presents the air of uncertainty, of the unnatural, which drives the action of the play and develops in the protagonist as a struggle to clarify what only seems to be absolute and what is actually reality. Hamlet's mind, therefore, becomes the central force of the

Sub-plots in Hamlet

1118 words - 4 pages Sub-plots in Hamlet   There are many things that critics say make Hamlet a "Great Work," one of which is the way that Shakespeare masterfully incorporates so many sub-plots into the story, and ties them all into the main plot of Hamlet’s revenge of his father’s murder. By the end of Act I, not only is the main plot identified, but many other sub-plots are introduced. Among the sub-plots are trust in the Ghost of King Hamlet, Fortinbras, and

Hamlet as Victim and Hero

1301 words - 5 pages Hamlet as Victim and Hero      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Shakespearean tragedy, tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who gained the knowledge of a terrible incident that his kingdom had suffered. Claudius, the king of Denmark and Hamlet's uncle, had killed his own brother, the king, who was also the father of Hamlet, and married his brother's widow. Hamlet suffered these traumas to a severe degree, and his only relief was to defeat his

Essay on Light and Dark in Antigone

1188 words - 5 pages Use of Light and Dark in Antigone   The "Golden Age" of Greece is noted for its many contributions to the creative world, especially in its development of the play. These performances strived to emphasize Greek morals, and were produced principally for this purpose. Antigone, by Sophocles, is typical. The moral focused on in Antigone is the conflict between physis (nature) and nomos (law), with physis ultimately presiding over nomos

charant Creon as the Main Character of Antigone

1231 words - 5 pages Creon as the Main Character of Antigone   Throughout the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles, there exists a dispute as to who should receive the designation of main character. Antigone, the daughter of the cursed King Oedipus, as well as Creon, stately king of Thebes, both appear as the key figures in this historic play. I believe that Creon, king of Thebes, should be considered the main character in this work of Greek theater. Three

Free Macbeth Essays: Sleep and Sleeplessness

525 words - 2 pages The Sleep and Sleeplessness Motif in Macbeth We have consciences that function to tell us the difference between right and wrong. If we have clear consciences, we usually possess the ability to sleep. But when our consciences are full of guilt, we experience a state of sleeplessness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the sleep and sleeplessness motif to represent Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's consciences and the effect Macbeth's conscience has on

Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield

898 words - 4 pages Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield   Efficacy lies at the heart of human desires for immortality. Characters throughout literature and art are depicted as wanting to step aside and see what their world would be like without their individual contributions. The literary classic A Christmas Carol and the more recent, but ageless, film It’s Wonderful Life both use outside influences (three ghosts and Clarence the Angel

Essay on Identity in Song of Solomon

2172 words - 9 pages Searching for Identity in Song of Solomon         Abstract: Whether Africans really fly or just escape a monumental burden, perhaps only through death, is a decision Toni Morrison has apparently left to her readers. Never the less, no matter what you believe, within Song of Solomon, the suggestion is, that in order to "fly" you must go back to the beginning, back to your roots. You must learn the "art" from the old messages.   O

Similar Essays

Boris Godunov's Reign. Essay

925 words - 4 pages playing with his coevals. Tsarevich was still, he stuffered from fits and to give a Knife to the child was really criminal. It is possible that Godunov was involved in Dmitriy's death, as only to make the nurse let the sick child play with a Knife would be enough. January 6, 1598 the tsar Feodor died, and Febriary 17, The Zemsky Cathedral elected the new tsar, his brother-in-law - Boris Godunov. They supported him as his activity as a favorite

Chapter 18 Outline (World Civilizations) The Rise Of Russia. What The Book Misses And What's Wrong In It.

1254 words - 5 pages assassinated. It is unknown to this day who killed him. Boris Godunov was the primary suspect, since it was he who succeeded Dmitry. Dmitry's mother became a monk. Then real confusion began. Some Polish monk believed that he was Dmitry, who somehow escaped death. In history the monk is referred to as False Dmitry. Dmitry's mother "recognized" him as her son, for some odd reason, probably because she was afraid that the monk would kill her if she

The Russian Culture Essay

761 words - 4 pages conquered the bordering territories and colonized by Russians and had it defended by Cossacks. Once home, Ivan crushed the opposition of the great feudal nobles (the boyars) and set up an autocratic government. Ivan III died in 1584 and Feodor I took over as czar. When Feodor fell sick in 1598, the zemsky sobor (national council) elected Boris Godunov the new czar. The Time of Troubles began after Boris’s death in 1605. It marked a political crisis

Alexander Pushkins Essay

1968 words - 8 pages and 1825 at Mikhaylovskoe he finished "The Gypsies," wrote Boris Godunov , "Graf Nulin" and the second chapter of Eugene Onegin.When the Decembrist Uprising took place in Petersburg on December 14, 1825, Pushkin, still in Makhaylovskoe, was not a participant. But he soon learned that he was implicated, for all the Decembrists had copies of his early political poems. He destroyed his papers that might be dangerous for himself or others. In late