Night on Bald Mountain refers to a series of compositions by Modest Mussorgsky (1839–1881). Inspired by Russian literary works and legend, Mussorgsky composed a “musical picture”, St. John’s Eve on Bald Mountain on the theme of a witches’ sabbath occurring on St. John’s Eve, which he completed on that very night, June 23, in 1867.
Get a free copy of the sheet music at IMSLP or buy it on amazon.com. There is also an easy version on amazon, with all the note names written in.
Interestingly, the original piece composed by Mussorgsky is not the version you typically hear. That was only published in 1968 and is performed very rarely. The piece we have come to know (and hear in places like Walt Disney’s Fantasia is an arrangement by Rimsky-Korsakov.
From Disney’s Fantasia
Piano version transcribed for solo piano by Konstantin Chernov (1865-1937).
The Ludwig Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Thomas Ludwig
• 1922 ~ Neal Hefti, Composer of TV’s Batman theme, The Odd Couple theme; Neal Hefti and His Orchestra performed on The Kate Smith Show
• 1925 ~ “Zoot” (John Haley) Sims, American jazz tenor and alto saxophonist and clarinetist. He played with the Benny Goodman Band, Woody Herman Orchestra, Stan Kenton, Gerry Mulligan, Birdland All-Stars, Jazz at Carnegie Hall
• 1926 ~ Jon Vickers, Canadian tenor
• 1930 ~ The tune, It Must Be True, was recorded on Victor by Bing Crosby, who sang with Gus Arnheim and his orchestra.
• 1944 ~ Denny Laine (Brian Hines), Guitarist, singer with The Moody Blues
• 1944 ~ The Martha Graham dance company performed a famous contemporary composition called “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland. This debut performance was staged at the Library of Congress.
• 1945 ~ Melba Moore, Singer and actress
• 1946 ~ Peter Green, Guitarist with Fleetwood Mac
• 1947 ~ Richard Dreyfuss, Academy Award-winning actor in The Goodbye Girl (1977) and Mr. Holland’s Opus
• 1953 ~ William Kapell, American pianist and recording artist, died in a plane crash at the age of 31
• 1961 ~ Randy (Steven Randall) Jackson, Singer with The Jackson Five, brother of Michael, Jermaine, Janet, LaToya, Tito, etc.
• 1961 ~ The top, pop song on the charts belonged to Dion (DiMucci). Runaround Sue was in its second week at the tiptop of the top~tune tabulation (it was in the top 40 for three months).
• 1970 ~ Neil Diamond received a gold record for the hit, Cracklin’ Rosie.
• 1981 ~ Loretta Lynn received a gold record for her album, “Greatest Hits, Vol. 2”.
• 1983 ~ After four weeks at #1 on the pop music charts, Bonnie Tyler’sTotal Eclipse of the Heart slipped to #2. It was replaced by Islands in the Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.
• 1987 ~ Woody Herman, American jazz clarinetist, alto and soprano saxophonist, singer, and big band leader passed away
• 2001 ~ Henry Berthold “Spike” Robinson, a Britain-based American saxophonist admired for his liquid tone and lyrical verve, died at the age of 71. Robinson was born in Wisconsin and came to Britain as a U.S. Navy bandsman after World War II. In his spare, he time played with British bebop pioneers such as Ronnie Scott, John Dankworth and Victor Feldman, making a series of recordings for the Esquire label. He returned to the United States and completed an engineering degree, continuing to play in jazz clubs while working for Honeywell Corp. He returned to music full-time in 1981 after recording an album of Harry Warren compositions featuring Feldman and bassist Ray Brown. In 1989 Robinson moved to England. Despite poor health, he played steadily throughout Europe and the United States. He also recorded for the Edinburgh- based Hep label.