Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky claimed to have been inspired by the confession of a witch who was burned at the stake in the 1660s. Bare Mountain is in fact Mount Triglav near Kiev, and the music depicts the legendary Sabbath celebrations of Russian witches held on the eve of St. John’s Feast. Preliminary sketches for the piece date back as early 1858 when he was planning an opera on Gogel’s tale. However, in 1867 he completed a work he called St. John’s Eve of St. John’s Night on Bare Mountain.
Following Mussorgsky’s death in 1881, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov reimagined the work and gave it the name we know today as Night on Bare Mountain.
Difficulty: First Section and above