Wiener Urtext


Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition

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Modest Mussorgsky composed the piano cycle Pictures at an Exhibition within a short period of time, between June 2nd and 22nd, 1874. At the instigation of the art critic Vladimir Stassov a commemorative exhibition was put on of drawings, watercolours, designs etc. by the composer's friend Viktor Hartmann (1834-1873), who had died unexpectedly. Mussorgsky decided to pay his own tribute to Hartmann in the form of a succession of piano pieces portraying some of the artist's work in music. The original title given to the cycle was Hartmann. It was probably in 1870 and through Stassov that Mussorgsky had first made the acquaintance of Hartmann, who had studied at the art college in St. Petcrsburg and was actually an architect. For the piano cycle Mussorgsky selected mainly drawings and watercolours which Hartmann had produced during his travels abroad - in Italy, France and elsewhere.