A New, New <i>Boris</i>?

Richard Taruskin

in On Russian Music

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249790
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942806 | DOI:
A New, New Boris?

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This chapter explores the reasons why Modest Musorgsky's Boris Godunov was introduced with a new orchestration by Igor Buketoff to supersede the composer's original scoring and the life of Modest Musorgsky. He died suddenly and tragically, with both his later operas unfinished and Boris in limbo, unexportable to any other house than St. Petersburg's Mariyinsky Theater. Musorgsky's friend Rimsky-Korsakov then stepped in, completing and revising his works, assuring their survival and, in the case of Boris, eventual triumph the world over. It meant acknowledging the deficiencies of his technique and the necessity of revision, thus implicitly ratifying the value, and final victory, of the traditions Musorgsky had once so proudly flouted. An immediate result was the republication of the original Russian vocal score, followed by the first publication anywhere of the 1872 orchestral score as edited by the outstanding Soviet musicologist Pavel Lamm.

Keywords: Modest Musorgsky's; Boris Godunov; Rimsky-Korsakov; Soviet musicologist; Pavel Lamm

Chapter.  2258 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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