Pictures at an Exhibition Historical Description Gnomus - The Gnome Based on Hartmann's design for a nutcracker, Gnomus describes a grotesque little imp, dancing in and out of shadows. Il Vecchio Castello - The Old Castle Another Promenade leads us to the second painting. While travelling through Italy, Hartmann painted a watercolour of a medieval tower, with a minstrel playing a lute. The music here is introspective with an old-world beauty. Again the original painting has been lost. Tuileries: Dispute d'enfants aprs jeux - Children Quarreling at Play This time, the Promenade takes us to Mussorgsky's representation of children playing in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris. Original artwork lost. Bydlo - Ox Cart The heavy leaden walk of the cattle is heard pulling the cart slowly through the mud. Again, Hartmann's sketch is lost. Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks Hartmanns sketch is for the costume design for an opera called Trilbi by Julius Gerber. The music describes a frenetic, chaotic dance of children dressed as unhatched chicks. Hartmann's original design is at right.
Samuel Goldenberg & Schmuyle Samuel Goldenburg and Schmuyle were originally the subjects of two separate paintings by Hartman of two Jews from Sandomir in Poland. Samuel Goldberg is richly dressed, and Schmuyle is in rags (only this painting survives, at right). Mussorgsky combines the two paintings into one piece of music where he depicts a conversation between the two. The rich Jew is represented by a heavy pompous theme, the poor man by a high-pitched bleating theme. As time goes on, the rich man's voice drowns out the other's, as the themes merge. Limoges marche - The Market at Limoges Another Promenade takes us to a marketplace at Limoges, the music depicting the hustle and bustle of women and haggling vendors. Catacombae Sepulcrum romanum - Roman Burial Catacombs This eerie picture is a self-portrait of Hartmann touring the ancient Roman burial catacombs under Paris, based on Victor Hugo's description in Les Miserable. The source of the glow was candles and oil within the skulls. Con mortuis in lingua mortua - With the Dead in the Language of Death The catacombs leads to a section not directly inspired by a Hartmann painting. It is Mussorgsky's reflections on the death of his friend.
The Hut On Fowl's Legs (Baba-Yaga) Hartmann's design was for an ornate clock inspired by the ancient folktale of the Baba Yaga, the witch who lives in a house on chicken legs. Mussorgsky's music depicts the witch flying through the air in her mortar in which she grinds human bones. She flies into a forest, her hut following her on the ground. The music is subdued and menacing. Then all of a sudden she re-appears, hurtling through the sky, straight into the final piece of music.
The Great Gate of Kiev The Great Gate of Kiev was a project that never saw the light of day. It was Hartmann's entry for a competition to design a commemorative building to celebrate Tsar Alexander II's miraculous escape from an assasination attempt. It is the Promenade theme again but this time in a purposeful 4/4 time. It describes the grandness of the gate, with its Slavonic helmet-inspired arch and a grand bell tower by its side, from which sounds a victorious tolling of bells.
Predictions and Notes Name__________________________________ Artwork that inspired the piece of music Initial predictions of music What do you think it will sound like based off of the painting that inspired the music? Date______________________ Group presentation notes
Ballet of Unhatched Eggs
Roman Catacomb Burial
The Hut on Fowls Legs
The Great Gate of Kiev
Modest Mussorgsky BiographyDirections: Write eight keywords to describe Mussorgskys life ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ Russian composer and pianist Modest Mussorgsky is famous for his orchestral "Pictures at an Exhibition" and opera Boris Godunov, which was later revised by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Early Life of Modest Mussorgsky Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) was born in Kraevo, in north Russia, on March 21, the son of a landowner. He studied piano as a child but often rebelled against his teachers. At the age of nine, he brilliantly performed a piano concerto by composer John Field. Originally meant for the army, aged 10, he entered the military academy at St Petersburg, and joined as cadet officer at the Guards Regiment, however, continued to study music and composition. Alcohol Addiction He toured Russia playing piano for singer Darya Leonova. In 1880 he resigned from the civil service. A year later, he suffered fits from alcohol abuse and was committed to a military hospital in St. Petersburg where his portrait was painted by Ilya Repin. His operas were not well received, his drinking increased. Mussorgsky died on March 28 1881. Although he enjoyed some recognition and fame as composer of opera Boris Godunov and as a pianist. Most of his work was posthumously published, either revised or completed by Rimsky-Korsakov. His most famous work is 'Pictures at an Exhibition' which was inspired by a posthumous exhibition of painting by Mussorgsky's friend Victor Harmann. Each piece is a masterpiece of descriptive music. Originally written for the piano, the work is best known in Ravel's brilliant orchestral version. The genius of Modest Mussorgsky was recognized by later composers of the early part of the 20th century including Debussy, Ravel and Stravinsky.
Balakirev and The Mighty HandfulWhen he was 18, he began music lessons from Mily Balakirev, a fellow member of 'The Five' (or 'The Mighty Handful'), a 19th-century's group of nationalist Russian composers including Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov and Cui. They were inspired by Mikhail Glinka, the father of the Russian nationalist tradition in music. Together, 'The Five' created the 'nationalist' school of Russian music. Mussorgsky resigned from the army commission in 1858. Few years later, aged 25, the Russian liberation of the serfs impoverished Mussorgsky's family. Losing their fortune, he was forced to take a job back in the civil service. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov offered to share a room with him.
Mussorgsky's major worksOrchestral, 'St John's Night on the Bare Mountain' (later revised by RimskyKorsakov and Mussorgsky) 1867 Song, 'Gathering Mushrooms' 1867 Song cycle, 'The Nursery' 1870
A habit that eventually killed Mussorgsky was his heavy drinking. At 26, he had his first attack of delirium tremens.
Opera, Boris Godunov 1874 (later revised by Rimsky-Korsakov) Orchestral, 'Pictures at an Exhibition', for piano (orchestrated later by Ravel) 1874 Song cycle, Songs and Dances of Death 1875 'The song of the Flea' 1879 Opera, Khovanshcchina (completed by Rimsky-Korsakov) 1880 Opera, Sorochintsky Fair (completed by Anatol Lyadov) 1880