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The extraordinary group of Russian composers who came together in St Petersburg in the 1860s - long known as 'The Mighty Handful', but, as the moguchaya kuchka, better translated as 'the great little heap' - gave rise to one of the most fascinating and colourful stories in all musical history. Stephen Walsh, author of a major biography of their direct successor, Stravinsky, has written an absorbing account of Musorgsky and his circle - Borodin, Cui, Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov. With little or no musical education they created works of lasting significance - Musorgsky's Boris Godunov, Borodin's Prince Igor and Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade. Written with deep understanding and panache, The Kuchka, is highly engaging and a significant contribution to cultural history.