Pictures at an Exhibition is Modeste Mussorgsky’s musical portrayal of a memorial exhibit of artwork by Victor Hartmann, an artist, designer, architect and close friend. In the spring of 1874, Russian critic Vladimir Stasov organised an exhibition of Hartmann’s work in St. Petersburg, which Mussorgsky attended. Within a few months Mussorgsky transformed ten of Hartmann’s works into music as a further tribute to his friend. Mussorgsky also inserted his own presence via the Promenade , which recurs periodically throughout.
This brass quintet adaptation has six of the original ten movements.The irregular rhythm of the Premenade portrays Mussorgsky, a man of considerable size, ambling through the exhibit, sometimes pausing before a particular picture that caught his interest. It leads directly to the first picture, Gnomus (Gnome), Hartmann’s design for a nutcracker, a macabre, wizened creature. The return of the Promenade , in shortened form, brings us to The Old Castle , which depicts a troubadour singing and strumming a guitar in front of a medieval castle. The Promenade returns but stops abruptly in front of the next picture, Tuileries (Dispute between children at play). Bydlo (Cattle) portrays plodding oxen drawing a heavy cart. A brief Promenade leads us to the ominous music of The Hut on Fowls’ Legs which epicts the witch Baba Yaga of Russian folklore, whose house stood on chicken’s feet. In the final movement, Mussorgsky captures the grandeur of The Great Gate of Kiev , although the actual gates were never built, The Great Gate of Kiev stands as a permanent musical tribute to the city and its rich history.
Item Code: TPBE-019