Description by James Leonard Nearly a decade since he first conceived the idea, Lyadov, the Oblomov of Russian composers, finally completed his three-and-a-half-minute tone poem Baba-Yaga in 1904. The archetypal Russian witch, Baba-Yaga is a small, gnomish creature whom Mussorgsky had previously depicted in music in “The Hut on Hen’s Legs” from his Pictures at an Exhibition. Lyadov’s “Picture from a Russian Folk-Tale” is set for large, late Romantic orchestra with numerous winds, brass, strings, a vast percussion section, and of course, the contrabassoon taking the witch’s part. A pseudo-spooky evocation of the supernatural à la Dukas’ contemporaneous Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Lyadov’s Baba-Yaga is clearly the basis of many of Hollywood’s witches, but especially the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz with its shrieks in the woodwinds, its glissandos in the trombones, its chromatic runs in the strings, and its xylophone and bass drum.
Anatoly Liadov Baba-Yaga, for orchestra, Op. 56 (1905) USSR State Academy Orchestra conducted by Evgeny Svetlanov
Anatoly Konstantinovich Lyadov or Liadov was a Russian composer, teacher and conductor. WikipediaBorn: May 12, 1855, Saint Petersburg, RussiaDied: August 28, 1914, Borovichi, RussiaEducation: St. Petersburg Conservatory named after N.A. Rimsky-KorsakovAlbums: Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 & Liadov: The Enchanted Lake, MOREGenres: Classical, Romantic