The Nursery

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Musorgsky in 1870

The Nursery (Russian: Детская, Detskaya, literally Children's [Room]) is a song cycle by Modest Mussorgsky set to his own lyrics, composed between 1868 and 1872. The cycle was published in two series. Only the first two songs survive of the second series.

Song Data[edit]

Series Title Translation Date Dedication Pub. Date Publisher
Детская 1 С няней With Nanny 1868-04-26 Aleksandr Dargomyzhsky 1872 Bessel
Детская 2 В углу In the Corner 1870-09-30 Viktor Gartman 1872 Bessel
Детская 3 Жук The Beetle 1870-10-18 Vladimir Stasov 1872 Bessel
Детская 4 С куклой With the Doll 1870-12-18 Tanyushka and Goga Musorgsky 1872 Bessel
Детская 5 На сон грядущий At Bedtime 1870-12-18 Sasha Cui 1872 Bessel
На Даче 1 Поехал на палочке Ride on a Hobby Horse 1872-09-14 1882 Bessel
На Даче 2 Кот Матрос The Cat 'Sailor' 1872-08-15 1882 Bessel
На Даче 3 Сон Dream Projected
На Даче 4 [Unknown] [Unknown] Projected


Series 1: The Nursery[edit]

1. With Nanny (B-flat major)
A child begs the nurse to tell a story, first about the awful bogey-man who carries naughty children into the forest and devours them, and later about a fairy-tale Tsar and Tsaritsa who live in a rich palace by the sea.
2. In the Corner (F major)
The nurse berates Mishenka for spoiling her knitting and sends him to the corner.
3. The Beetle (F major)
A child relates to the nurse an encounter with a large beetle.
4. With the Doll (A-flat major)
A child sings a lullaby to her doll.
5. At Bedtime (A-flat major)
A child recites his prayers.

Series 2: At the Dacha[edit]

The two surviving songs of Series 2 (Russian: «На Даче», Na Dache, At the Dacha) along with new edition of the five songs of Series 1, were published by V. Bessel and Co. in 1908.

1. Ride on a Hobby Horse (D-flat major)
A child relating his imaginary journey to Yukki on a stick (hobby horse) falls, injures himself, and resumes his journey.
2. The Cat 'Sailor' (A major)
A child foils the attempt by Matros ("Sailor") the cat to catch the family canary.
3. Dream
A child's fantastic dream
4. [Unknown title]
A quarrel between two children


An orchestral (no voice) version was arranged by Peter Breiner and recorded in 2012 by him with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra on Naxos.


  • Calvocoressi, M.D., Abraham, G., Mussorgsky, 'Master Musicians' Series, London: J.M.Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1974
  • Calvocoressi, M.D., Modest Mussorgsky: His Life and Works, London: Rockliff, 1956
  • Orlova, A., Mussorgsky Remembered, translated by Zaytsev, V. and Morrison, F., Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991
  • Unknown compiler, notes to Moussorgsky: Integrale des Melodies CD recording by Boris Christoff, EMI Records Ltd, 1989

External links[edit]