Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “St. John’s Eve on Bald Mountain” — Modest Mussorgsky (1867)

 Saint John’s Eve on Bare Mountain. Or “Night On Bald Mountain” as it is most commonly known in English.

Already it sounds creepifying, but this orchestral fantasy/musical picture by Modest Mossorgsky (and Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov) vividly details a terrifying picture of witches and demonic hordes racing through the Slavic night, terrorizing villages in the shadow of the titular mountain. It’s a frenetic, oppressively antagonistic, and evocative piece that screams the horrors of the supernatural and the powerful dark magic of Satanic ritual.

Mossorgsky himself characterized the content of the music as “1. Assembly of the witches, their talk and gossip; 2. Satan’s journey; 3. Obscene praises of Satan; and 4. Sabbath…” Throw in the Black God himself, the Chernobog, watching over all the proceedings as a demonic vision of unfiltered evil, and you know exactly where this piece is taking you: as Pvt. Hudson put it, the Express Train To Hell.

Walt Disney so loved this composition, he used it during the finale of his 1940 masterpiece Fantasia, and it remains probably the finest piece of handcrafted animation that Walt Disney Animation ever produced.

Kill the lights, especially on a windy, stormy, thundering evening, and play this. Then tell me the Ancient Gods aren’t making their horrifying presences known. And they’re PISSED…

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