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Mussorgsky composed the work in commemoration of his friend, the artist and architect Viktor Hartmann, who was only 39 when he suffered an aneurysm and died in 1873. The working title for the suite was Hartmann: "Hartmann is seething as Boris was," Mussorgsky wrote to Stasov in June, 1874. "Sounds and ideas float in the air and my scribbling can hardly keep pace with them."[1] It was probably in 1870, and through the highly influential critic Vladimir Stasov, that Mussorgsky had met Hartmann, whose devotion to the cause of an intrinsically Russian art must have made him a congenial spirit. It was at Stasov’s instigation that a posthumous exhibition of over 400 of the artist’s works was mounted in the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, in February and March 1874. Pictures at an Exhibition takes the form of an imaginary musical tour around such a collection. Despite his alcoholism, Mussorgsky finished this masterpiece a month and a half after having viewed the tribute to Hartmann. A sufferer of delirium tremens, Mussorgsky would die at age forty-two, just seven years after composing Pictures.

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As the pictorial basis for his musical exhibition, Mussorgsky mostly selected drawings and watercolours that Hartmann had produced during his travels abroad. Sadly, we cannot in all cases be certain which Hartmann work Mussorgsky was alluding to, because not all the paintings and drawings have survived. In an article in The Musical Quarterly in 1939, Alfred Frankenstein claimed to have identified seven pictures by catalogue number of the eleven: Two Jews: Rich, and Poor (two separate drawings became the source of Samuel Goldenberg und Schmuyle), Gnomus, Tuileries (now lost), Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks, Samuel Goldenberg und Schmuyle, Catacombae, The Hut on Hen’s Legs (Baba Yaga), and The Bogatyr Gates.

Remarkably, Mussorgsky structures the suite in a manner that actually allows him to represent his own progress through the exhibition. This he does by means of the opening Promenade and the four interludes (only the last of which is also labelled "Promenade") that are clear variations of its material: "My physiognomy can be seen in the interludes," he wrote in a letter to Stasov. More remarkable still, however, is the fact that by the end of the work the Promenade theme has stopped functioning as a merely linking device and instead started to appear within the actual "pictures" themselves: The theme features prominently in the movements Cum mortuis in lingua mortua and The Bogatyr Gates, mysterious in one, celebratory in the other.

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Slike sa izložbe

Modest Musorgski (Modest Petrovič Mussorgsky) bio je ruski kompozitor i član čuvene “Ruske petorke”. Veliki broj njegovih dela bio je inspirisan ruskom istorijom i folklorom.

Njegove najpoznatije kompozicije su opera “Boris Godunov”, orkestarska poema “Noć na golom brdu”, kao i klavirska svita “Slike sa izložbe”. Ova svita posvećena je prijatelju Musorgskog, slikaru Viktoru Hartmanu, koji je umro u 39-toj godini. Sastoji se iz deset manjih komada, inspirisanih Hartmanovim slikama, i predstavlja jednu od najboljih kompozicija koje je Musorgski napisao za solo klavir. Moris Ravel je kasnije ovu svitu preradio za orkestar.

Musorgski je umro u 42-goj godini, 28. marta 1881. godine.

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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

Ravel: Valses nobles et sentimentales

Ivo Pogorelic, piano

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Album : Pictures at an Exhibition

Composer(s) : Moussorgsky

Performer : Ivo Pogorelic

Release date : 1997

Label : Deutsche Grammophon

Number of discs : 1

Total size : 75,2 MB

Total time : 01:01:49


01. Pictures at an Exhibition – Promenade [1:42]

02. Pictures at an Exhibition - I. Gnomus [2:58]

03. Pictures at an Exhibition – Promenade [1:02]

04. Pictures at an Exhibition - II. Il vecchio castello [5:29]

05. Pictures at an Exhibition – Promenade [0:35]

06. Pictures at an Exhibition - III. Les Tuileries [1:06]

07. Pictures at an Exhibition - IV. Bydlo [4:19]

08. Pictures at an Exhibition – Promenade [1:02]

09. Pictures at an Exhibition - V. Ballet des poussins dans leur coque [1:46]

10. Pictures at an Exhibition - VI. Samuel Goldenberg und Schmuyle [2:45]

11. Pictures at an Exhibition – Promenade [1:43]

12. Pictures at an Exhibition - VII. Limoges - le marché [1:22]

13. Pictures at an Exhibition - VIII. Catacombae- Sepulcrum romanum [2:18]

14. Pictures at an Exhibition - Con mortuis in lingua mortua [3:54]

15. Pictures at an Exhibition - IX. La Cabane sur des pattes de poule [4:10]

16. Pictures at an Exhibition - X. La Porte des Bohatyrs de Kiev [6:07]

17. Valses nobles et sentimentales - I. Modéré - très franc [1:39]

18. Valses nobles et sentimentales - II. Assez lent, avec une expression intense [3:00]

19. Valses nobles et sentimentales - III. Modéré [2:45]

20. Valses nobles et sentimentales - IV. Assez animé [1:33]

21. Valses nobles et sentimentales - V. Presque lent, dans un sentiment intime [2:03]

22. Valses nobles et sentimentales - VI. Vif [0:30]

23. Valses nobles et sentimentales - VII. Moins vif []3:24]

24. Valses nobles et sentimentales - VIII. Epilogue- Lent [4:37]

@ 320 Kbit/s mp3

From Amazon.com

Ivo Pogorelich is determined to leave his personal imprint on every note he plays. Here, however, his ideas are less unconventional than they are way off base. The pianist takes 42 minutes to get through Pictures at an Exhibition, compared to the standard half hour, and adds five extra minutes to most performances of the Ravel. This is because Pogorelich's frequent lingerings and expansions of phrase are rarely counterbalanced with a steady, referential pulse. Subsequently, the music swoons into disconnected phrases and dies on the vine. Seek out Sviatoslav Richter's more stylish--yet every bit as individualistic--Mussorgsky, or Artur Rubinstein's dashing, emotionally healthy Ravel. Keyboard fanciers, however, will understandably wish to savor Pogorelich's remarkable pianism.

--Jed Distler


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Mussorgsky, Modest: Pictures at an Exhibition, Night on Bald Mountain

Lorin Maazel, The Cleveland Orchestra

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Artist:  Lorin Maazel, The Cleveland Orchestra

CD title:  Pictures at an Exhibition

Release date: 1979

Number of Discs: 1

Genre:  Classical

Time: 00:40:49

Total size:  52,2 MB


01. Mussorgsky: Night On Bald Mountain [00:10:28]

02. Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition [00:30:20]

@ 192 Kbit/s mp3


The CD issue of Telarc's famous Mussorgsky coupling deserves a special accolade. It represents the high-water mark of this small american company's extraordinarily confident creation of a highly-spectacular and yet natural orchestral balance, with the use of simple microphone techniques. Jack Renner, the company's President, was well aware of his debt to the late Bob Fine of Mercury, responsible for the pioneering series of mono recordings of the fifties and stereo recordings of the sixties, using at first one and then two or three microphones; also the impressive late fifties RCA stereo recordings achieved with similar techniques, recording Reiner in Chicago and Munch in Boston. Yet the Telarc digital recordings, following in this same tradition achieved new standards, especially in the glowing acoustic of Severance Hall, Cleveland. The series made with the Cleveland Symphonic Winds under Fennell and the full Cleveland Orchestra under Maazel create a vivid impression of realism, of the full panoply of wind or orchestral tone spread out in a natural perspective before the listener, the only quirk of balance being an occasionally over-insistent bass drum.

The coupling of Pictures and Night on the Bare Mountain dates from 1979 (the year of Decca's digital LP Debut with Boskovsky's New Year Strauss family concert) but is in my view in advance of anything that the multi-national companies were achieving digitally at that time. The sonic splendour of the closing picture, ''The Great Gate of Kiev'', with brass and strings converging in a glorious amplitude of tone, capped by the cymbals, is one of the most exciting climaxes I have heard on a disc. It richness is anticipated at the very beginning of Night on the Bare Mountain (it comes first) which is arresting from the opening bars. Both performances are fine ones . . . . Abbado (DG) and especially Solti on Decca (where the clarity is clinical) offer rather sharper detail, but the Telarc climaxes are special.

-- Ivan March, Gramophone


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Kazuhito Yamashita

Pictures at an Exhibition (Mussorgsky)

The Firebird Suite (Strawinsky)

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Artist:  Kazuhito Yamashita

CD title:  Pictures at an Exhibition

Release date: 1999

Number of Discs: 1

Genre:  Classical

Type:  MP3 format sound

Quality:  224 Kbit

Time:  00:55:11

Total size:  89 MB


Pictures at an Exhibition

1. I  Promenade ; Gnomes [00:04:17]

2. II Promenade ; Il Vecchio Castello [00:05:59]

3. III Promenade ; The Tuileries [00:01:26]

4. IV  Bydlo [00:02:58]

5. V Promenade ; Ballet of the Little Chickens [00:02:10]

6. VI Samuel Goldenberg und Schmuyle [00:02:29]

7. VII A Market Place in Limoges [00:01:17]

8. VIII Catacombae ; Con mortuis in lingua mortua [00:05:08]

9. IX The Hut of Baba-Yaga [00:03:04]

10. X The Bahatyr Gate of Kiev [00:06:59]

The Firebird Suite

11. I Introduction [00:03:25]

12. II The Firebird and It's Dance [00:00:20]

13. III Variations of the Firebird [00:01:16]

14. IV The Round of the Princesses [00:04:11]

15. V Infernal Dance of King Kastchei [00:04:05]

16. VI Lullaby [00:02:56]

17. VII Finale [00:03:01]

Background information:

Just as Franz Liszt created new repertoire and technique for the piano by transcribing Symphonies and Operas and then developing new techniques with which to play them, Kazuhito Yamashita took a similar path in the early 1980's and so revolutionised the world of possibilities on the guitar.

By transcribing well known pieces of orchestral music for solo guitar he has encouraged a trend which could make classical guitar much more appealing and accessible to concert programmers and the general concert going audience.


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