Those who have been with me so far know that I have a great love for music, especially classical music. One of my favorites being Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an exhibition". I embedded video's of several variotions of one movement out of this bigger piece. On the right you see the facsimile of the drawing "The Hut of Baba Yaga on Hen’s Legs" by Viktor Hartmann depicting a clock in the Russian style. This is the sketch that inspired Modest Mussorgsky to compose the movement.
To be honest, this clock does not by far do justice to what I saw when I first heard the movement and understood de background of the Baba Yaga figure! To me, this is just an old fashioned cuckoo clock. Not scary at all, while Baba Yaga is a very, terrifying figure indeed. To me from the very start she was the kind of witch you were afraid of as a kid. The witch in European folklore that is featured in the Grimm-brother's story Hans & Grietje (Hansel und Gretl) with her house build out of cake and candy, who wants to eat little childeren ...
In fact, the Baba Yaga stories are very similar to the folklore thats was gathered by the Grimm brothers. The main Baba Yaga story is Vasilisa the beautifull and tells of a beautifull young maiden that gets sent into the woods by her evil stepmother to find the hut on chickens legs. The scene is very eary, cold and fearsome. When she finds the hut and Baba Yage, she has to fullfill some assignments before she can go home with the light she was sent for. So Baba Yaga is the personification of all fears that we have to conquer before we can become enlightened of be set free.
I feel these enourmous, yet utterly human fear when the movement that Mussorgsky composed starts. It's low, dark tones that approach rappidly out of nowhere, dissonant chords and a harmony that makes you feel out of balance. But then suddenly, the dark subsides a little, seems to become ligher... Then, the dark returns and masters the light that was shimmering through. After the victory of the dark, the movement seamlessly goes into the next one: the great gates of Kiev. Free, free at last! While listening I can let go with a great sigh, the dark has been overcome as I faced my fears and step through the gate into the light.
Because I don't want to leave you with disturbance, and have said that facing your fears can also bring good to ones life, I also want to share another video. It is sweet and lacks all the disquieting qualities that usually accompany Baba Yaga. Above all, it shows that your Baba Yaga can be found anywhere and sometimes had to overcome a little fear herself.