Recorded on 06/29/2012, uploaded on 06/30/2012
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Modest Mussorgsky was born on March 9, 1839, in Karevo, a village near St. Petersburg, Russia. At six years old Modest began piano lessons with his mother, who encouraged his early efforts at composition. At the age of ten, Modest and his brother were taken to St. Petersburg to study piano at the elite Peterschule. Three years later Modest entered the Cadet School of the Guards. Music remained important to him, and at his father's expense he published his first piece, Porte Enseigne Polka for the piano.
In 1856, Mussorgsky joined the Preobrazhensky Imperial Guards Regiment. As a teenage officer, Mussorgsky met Alexander Borodin, a medical officer in the regiment. Several years later, along with Mily Balakirev, Cesar Cui, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, they would form The Five, a group of composers united to create nationalistic music that was distinctly Russian.
Mussorgsky died on March 16, 1881. His musical compositions have been an inspiration for many Russian composers. Some of his greatest accomplishments include the orchestral work Night on Bald Mountain, made famous when it appeared in Fantasia in 1940, and Pictures at an Exhibition, a collection of piano pieces which describe a set of 10 drawings and watercolor paintings.
In August 1873 saw the unexpected death of Moussorgsky's friend, ARCHITECT and PAINTER Victor Hartmann.
At the suggestion of a local art critic an exhibition was held the following year in memory of the artist. On visitng the exhibition, Moussorgsky was inspired to compose
Musical illustrations to some of the drawings and watercolors. The result was cycle the "Pictures at an Exhibition" It took Moussorgsky about three weeks to compose.
Before some of the pieces Moussorgsky includes himself walking around the exhibition.
"Moving now to the left now to the right, wandering aimlessly, now eagerly making for one of the pictures.
In spite of their great popularity "Pictures at an Exhibition" have seldom been heard in their original version. The editors of the work thought it wise not to print the harsh harmonies which would of sounded too daring for the time. I play the original version as Moussorgsky conceived it.
"Pictures at an Exhibition"
No. 1 "Gnomus"
No. 2 "Il vecchio castello" (The Old Castle)
No. 3 "Tuileries" (Dispute between Children at Play)
No. 4 "Bydło" (Polish, Cattle)
No. 5 Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks)
No. 6 Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuÿle)
No. 7 The Market at Limoges
Stasov comment: "French women quarreling violently in the market."
No. 8 "Catacombæ" (Sepulcrum romanum) and "Cum mortuis in lingua mortua"
No. 9 "The Hut on Fowl's Legs (Baba-Yagá)"
No. 10 The Bogatyr Gates (in the Capital in Kiev)
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