Pictures at an Exhibition (Russian: Картинки с выставки — Воспоминание о Викторе Гартмане, Kartinki s vystavki — Vospominaniye o Viktore Gartmane, “Pictures from an Exhibition — A Remembrance of Viktor Hartmann“) is a suite composed for piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874.
The suite is Mussorgsky’s most famous piano composition, and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists. It has become further known through various orchestrations and arrangements produced by other musicians and composers, with Ravel‘s arrangement being the most recorded and performed.
It was probably in 1870 that Mussorgsky met artist and architect Viktor Hartmann. Both men were devoted to the cause of an intrinsically Russian art and quickly became friends.
Hartmann died from an aneurysm in 1873. The sudden loss of the artist, aged only 39, shook Mussorgsky along with others in Russia’s art world. Stasov helped organize an exhibition of over 400 Hartmann works in the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg, Russia in February and March 1874. Mussorgsky lent works from his personal collection to the exhibit and viewed the show in person. Fired by the experience, he composed Pictures at an Exhibition in six weeks.
Mussorgsky based his musical material on drawings and watercolours by Hartmann produced mostly during the artist’s travels abroad. Locales include Poland, France and Italy; the final movement depicts an architectural design for the capital city of Ukraine.
0:00 I. Promenade
1:41 II. Gnomus
4:15 III. Promenade
5:14 IV. Il vecchio castello
9:37 V. Promenade
10:11 VI. Tuileries
11:14 VII. Bydło
14:13 VIII. Promenade
14:57 IX. Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
16:16 X. “Samuel” Goldenberg und “Schmuÿle”
18:17 XI. Limoges, le marché
19:46 XII. Catacombæ (Sepulcrum romanum) and “Cum mortuis in lingua mortua”
23:29 XIII. The Hut on Fowl’s Legs (Baba-Yagá)
27:06 XIV. The Great Gate of Kiev