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Alexander Raskatov’s orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Songs and Dances of Death” Given Japanese Premiere

The Russian composer Alexander Raskatov has orchestrated the famous “Songs and Dances of Death” by Modest Mussorgsky and added intermezzos. The work will be given its Japanese premiere by Simon Bailey (bass) and the Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Martyn Brabbins on 24 July 2015 during the course of the event “The 426th Subscription Concert” at the Aichi Prefectural Art Theatre in Nagoya.

The world premiere of this version was presented on 15 June 2007 in Amsterdam, performed by the Radio Kamer Filharmonie Hilversum under the direction of Reinbert de Leeuw.

Modest Mussorgsky’s “Songs and Dances of Death” were composed during the years 1875 to 1877. During his lifetime, Mussorgsky found no possibility of publishing his cycle, which he himself once called “Totentanzlieder.” The text is by Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov, of whom Mussorgsky was a personal friend.

Alexander Raskatov confesses that he has always found Mussorgsky’s “Songs and Dances of Death” to be a kind of “musical Bible.” For each composer who attempts a new instrumentation of the work, it becomes increasingly difficult to add new aspects when following up on these great paragons. He, however, has especially concentrated on the many nuances still to be found in the texts.

There will be a further performance on the following day, 25 July 2015 (4 PM), at Aichi Prefectural Art Theater.

24 July 2015
Aichi Prefectural Art Theater, Concert Hall, 6:45 PM
Japanese premiere: Modest Mussorgsky / Alexander Raskatov
“Songs and Dances of Death” for bass and orchestra (with intermezzos)
Simon Bailey (bass)
Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra
Martyn Brabbins (direction)


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