Modest Musorgsky is considered a composer of masterful vocal, symphonic, and piano works. His songs and song cycles distinguish themselves as evocative of the broad spectrum of Russian experience. However, Musorgsky's early songs have not received as much attention as his larger works, such as Boris Godunov or Pictures at an Exhibition. Musorgsky's early songs, from 1857-1867, show the composer's affinity for lyrical expression, be it brightly melodious, impassioned, or within a comical or satirical vein. He portrays Russian life through a mixture of different genres such as the Russian romance, the ballad, the operatic aria, and also vaudeville. This study focuses on Musorgsky's choice of texts, his penning of several of them, and the way he incorporates them within each song.
The purpose and scope of this paper is to discuss the emergence of the individual in the eleventh and twelfth centuries in light of the societal changes occurring at the time, and to establish the fact that this beginning of individualism can be seen particularly in the arts of the time. The evidence presented gives rise to the supposition that the society of the eleventh and twelfth centuries can be defined as humanistic, given that humanism implies a concern with and a concentration upon life on earth as opposed to life in heaven.