Program Notes: Moussorgsky's first and only tone poem is based on an ancient Russian legend. and was first written in 1860 as music for a play, The Witch. Bald Mountain, near Kiev, was the gathering place of witches from all over Russia on the night before St. John's Day (June 23); they came to celebrate a Black Mass and dance insanely in wild revelry to gain Satan's favor. As the dance reaches its climax, the church bells toll the coming of the dawn, breaking the spell. A bird (solo oboe) sings of the fresh morning, while a peasant's song (solo flute) rises from the valley below. Good triumphs over evil, the sacred over the profane. This work received wide public exposure with its inclusion in Walt Disney's Fantasia, juxtaposed against the Ave Maria. It is also listed on several websites as one of the top 10 scariest classical pieces written along with Carmina Burana.