Hailed by the New York Times Book Review as a "no-holds-barred biography" and "a state-of-the-art guide to the composer's life and works," this superb volume in the Master Musicians series offers the first life-and-works study of this towering composer of nineteenth-century Russian music to appear in English for over a half century. David Brown shows how the largely untrained Modest Musorgsky emerged as a supreme musical dramatist in his first opera, Boris Godunov. Along with this impressive debut and his much-loved piano suite, Pictures at an Exhibition, Musorgsky produced some of the most startlingly novel music of the nineteenth century. He also displayed a prodigious gift for uncovering the emotional content of a text in his highly original song compositions. While illuminating Musorgsky's work, Brown paints a detailed portrait of a fitful composer who could apply himself with superhuman intensity when the inspiration was upon him, but who deteriorated into alcoholism and died tragically young.