Tag Archives: Mussorgsky

Exit – via The Great Gate of Kiev

 We’ve come to the end of the Exhibition, and Mussorgsky has saved the grandest musical picture to the last. It’s usually known as The Great Gate of Kiev, but the original title was The Bohatyr-Gate of Kiev; all who viewed this … Continue reading

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The Hut on Fowl’s Legs. Baba Yaga – the Russian witch

Just as Red Riding Hood has a wolf, Narnia has the White Witch, Harry Potter has Voldemort  and everywhere has a bogeyman, fairy tales and children’s stories the world over have a villain, and Russian folktales are no exception. In Russian … Continue reading

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Two Paintings – one Picture. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle

Again we are privileged to be able to view the two paintings which inspired the next piece in Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.  They belonged to Mussorgsky; Hartmann himself had presented them to him, and Mussorgsky lent them to the exhibition. … Continue reading

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Cattle and chickens: Bydlo, Promenade, The Ballet of the Unhatched Chickens in their Shells

We’re roughly thrust across countries, classes and cultures into a world of harsh brutality in the next piece, ‘Bydlo’, the Polish word for cattle. The painting, now lost, showed a Polish cart on huge wooden wheels, drawn by oxen. We … Continue reading

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Promenade; Tuileries – Fun and Games in the Gardens

After the shadowed reverie induced by Il Vecchio Castello, it’s as if Mussorgsky needs a brisk walk to shake himself up a little. The final G# is used as a pivot to turn us into the bright sunshine of B major … Continue reading

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Face to Face with Mussorgsky – via a Picture at an Exhibition

In a chance conversation after a recent recital at which I performed Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, an audience member reminded me about the current exhibition, Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky  at the National Portrait … Continue reading

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Promenade; Il Vecchio Castello. A Castle in the Clouds?

Mussorgsky is on the move again. The key of the familiar Promenade  is now a tone lower than at the opening, more reflective, less brash, and the melody is in the tenor register as an unaccompanied solo voice, repeated with … Continue reading

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