"1. Gathering of the witches and their chatter, 2. Satan's procession, 3. Disgusting glorification of Satan and 4. Sabbath." This is how Modest Mussorgsky described the subject of his diabolical tone poem «Night on Bald Mountain», which was written in a week and a half in the summer of 1867 on the Minkovo estate. Inspired by Mikhail Chotinsky's magical appearances and by the horror drama «The Witch of a Certain Baron Georgi Mengden», it has been sugested that even Nikolai Gogol's story populated by demons «St. John's Night» may also have served as a source. “If my composition is performed,” says Mussorgsky, “I would like to have the content on the program to make it clear to the listener. The form and character of my work are Russian and original. The general mood is hot-blooded and debauched. I have given different headings to each episode to give a clearer picture of the musical form since it is new."
Without warning, the listener is confronted with a roar and rage in which folk dance themes set the hellish beat, with continuous developments being replaced by abrupt changes in color and mood, which give the work the character of a collage. It was only after his death in 1881 that Rimsky-Korsakov decided to "put together a pure orchestral composition from the available material, retaining the best and most organic sections from the composer's pen and using as few of his own ingredients as possible." The latter, however, is not the truth, because it is a completely new version in which Rimsky-Korsakov bundled the collage-like, jagged original in a sonata form including a recapitulation and a conciliatory coda. Eric Gauthier has now made it the basis of his new dance piece of the same name.
ABOUT ERIC GAUTHIER
Eric Gauthier has garnered attention as the “rock star of ballet.” In 2006 he founded the Gauthier Dance//Dance Company Theaterhaus Stuttgart, which has worked with internationally renowned choreographers in recent years and thereby gained notoriety. The success of the company, which is celebrated by audiences and critics alike, is not only due to Gauthier's charismatic charm, but also to his direct way of addressing the audience and presenting dance evenings that never fail to delight.
Premiere on April 14, 2024 as part of a matinee by the Heinz-Bosl-Foundation at the National Theater in Munich