The piano cycle Pictures at an Exhibition is perhaps the most widely known of Musorgsky's compositions, especially as orchestrated by Ravel. This informative and wide-ranging guide places the original piano work in the context of Russian cultural life, considering in particular the work of the artist Victor Hartman, creator of the pictures which inspired Musorgsky's composition. A detailed synopsis takes the reader through each piece in turn, describing the forms, the external references, and drawing connections with Musorgsky's other musical works. Chapters on the music itself consider, for example, folk elements, key relations and motivic structures. Dr Russ also describes the fate of the work in the hands of editors and performers and closes by surveying the best of the orchestrations, particularly that by Ravel. The book is illustrated with photographs of the existing pictures from Hartman's exhibition.
• The first and only guide to Musorgsky's most popular work •Describes the original piano pieces and the arrangements for orchestra (especially Ravel's) • Contains illustrations of the pictures which originally inspired Musorgsky
List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Preface; 1. Pictures at an Exhibition and nineteenth-century music; 2. Musorgsky and Hartman; 3. Manuscript, publication and performance; 4. Looking at Musorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition; 5. Synopsis; 6. The musical language of Pictures at an Exhibition; 7. Harmony, scales, tonality and voice-leading in Pictures at an Exhibition; 8. Orchestrations and transcriptions of Pictures at an Exhibition; Appendix: list of principal transcriptions and orchestrations; Notes; Select bibliography.