| Classical One |
| Pictures at an Exhibition |
By: Lauren Jones
We open this season’s magnificent Davidson Classical Series with a matched pair of masterworks. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, in its virtuoso orchestration by Maurice Ravel, opens the program, followed by Carmina Burana, Carl Orff’s gripping rendition of poetry.
Pictures at an Exhibition was originally a solo piano piece composed by Modest Mussorgsky. It was inspired by a visit to an art exhibition showcasing the work of his close friend, Viktor Hartmann, who died suddenly in 1873 at age 39 of an aneurysm.
Shortly after the artist’s death, Mussorgsky felt the need to capture his exhibit in music. Pictures at an Exhibition was composed in June of 1874, when Mussorgsky’s career and health were in decline. This music – compelling and evocative, enchanting and terrifying by turns – was a private memorial shared among friends, and the piece would go unpublished during the composer’s lifetime.
In 1922, its orchestration was commissioned by the famous Russian conductor Serge Koussevitzky in 1922. Koussevitzky asked the French composer Maurice Ravel to do the orchestration.
We will be hearing much more about Ravel for our Classical Two concert on November 3, 2017.
Pictures at an Exhibition combines Mussorgsky’s imaginative music with Ravel’s genius orchestration.
Although some “pictures” have been lost, this website [http://korschmin.com/pictures-at-an-exhibition/ ] details many of the works from the Hartmann exhibition.
Written by Lauren Jones, HSO Marketing & Development Associate, with information provided by Nicholas Pappone, Principal, Violin II
Meet the Author:
Lauren Jones is the the Marketing & Development Associate for the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra. Lauren is responsible for managing our social media accounts across all platforms, tracking marketing functions for all marketing campaigns, and coordinating and confirming special event details. Lauren’s background is in broadcasting and communications.