Mussorgsky – Two complete performances of Pictures at an exhibition


This is the third record in my collection with Mussorgsky’s descriptive work Pictures at an exhibition from 1874. He wrote it because of the untimely death of the artist Viktor Hartmann. The two were good friends. Mussorgsky wrote ten pieces where he paints the atmosphere of them in music. Sometimes but not always these short vignettes are followed by a thematic piece, the promenade.

Most of the painting are lost now, and we can wonder if much was lost to the world of art with their loss. We’re not talking high quality here. It is the music that has made them famous.

This record features the original piano version, played by Vladimir Ashkenazy. The b-side has the orchestration created in 1922 by Maurice Ravel. In it, Ravel has done some clever orchestral colouring to enhance the strengths of the pieces. It is highly unusual to have the same basic work in two different versions on one record.

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