Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (for Orchestra & Solo Piano)

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Artist: Gewandhausorchester Leizig, Igor Markevitch (conductor), Alexander Warenberg (piano)

The drunken sot who glares out at us from Ilya Repin’s celebrated portrait looks more like a tramp than a composer, and Mussorgsky’s music has a similarly uncompromising expressive power, music that seems to work despite rather than
because of itself. Pianists have wrestled with the unpianistic corners of his most famous work since he composed it in 1874 in memory of his friend, the painter Viktor Hartmann, who had died the previous year.

Mussorgsky portrayed some of Hartmann’s pictures in music when they were displayed at an exhibition in Saint Petersburg. The cycle of ten individual paintings is linked by the famous ‘promenade’, symbolizing the viewer of the pictures wandering through the exhibition. Hartmann’s bold and puzzling vignettes find their perfect analogue in Mussorgsky’s pianistic reimagining, but fellow composers could hardly leave the orchestral potential of this
often‐awkward music alone. Ravel wasn’t the first to mix his orchestral palette with Mussorgsky’s colours, but his version has justly stood the test of time, and stands alone for its sensitivity to the pungent, folkloristic flavour of the original.

Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” is one of the most famous and most frequently performed romantic piano cycles of the entire repertoire. It contains colourful, highly original and gripping musical depictions of a series of painting by Mussorgsky’s friend Hartmann. This release offers both the original piano version and the Ravel orchestration, filled up with the orchestral “A Night on Bare Mountain” and the more modest, but no less impressive piano cycle by Tchaikovsky: The Seasons.

00:00:00 Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade 1
00:01:29 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 1, Gnomus
00:04:04 Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade 2
00:05:02 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 2, Il vecchio castello
00:08:38 Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade 3
00:09:06 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 3, Tuileries
00:10:21 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 4, Bydlo
00:13:21 Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade 4
00:14:06 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 5, Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
00:15:24 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 6, Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
00:18:06 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 7, Limoges. The Market
00:19:29 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 8, Catacombae. Sepulcrum romanum – Con mortuis in lingua mortua
00:23:22 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 9, The Hut on Fowl’s Legs
00:27:08 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 10, The Great Gate of Kiev
00:32:37 Night on Bare Mountain
00:43:01 Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade 1 – No. 1, Gnomus
00:46:58 Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade 2 – No. 2, Il vecchio castello
00:52:07 Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade 3 – No. 3, Tuileries
00:53:38 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 4, Bydlo
00:56:49 Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade 4 – No. 5, Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
00:58:45 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 6, Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
01:00:38 Pictures at an Exhibition: Promenade 5 – No. 7, Limoges. The Market
01:03:38 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 8, Catacombae. Sepulcrum romanum – Con mortuis in lingua mortua
01:07:17 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 9, The Hut on Fowl’s Legs
01:10:22 Pictures at an Exhibition: No. 10, The Great Gate of Kiev
01:15:57 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 1, January. By the Fireside
01:20:47 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 2, February. Shrovetide Festival
01:23:41 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 3, March. Song of the Lark
01:25:21 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 4, April. Snowdrop
01:27:30 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 5, May. White Nights
01:31:44 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 6, June. Barcarolle
01:35:27 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 7, July. Song of the Reaper
01:37:10 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 8, August. Harvest
01:40:18 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 9, September. The Hunt
01:43:14 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 10, October. Autumn Song
01:46:38 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 11, November. Troika
01:49:16 The Seasons, Op. 37a: No. 12, December. Yuletide

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