Modest Petrowitsch Mussorgski

Modest Mussorgsky composed the piano cycle “Pictures at an Exhibition” (“Kartinki s wystawki”) within a short period of time, between 2nd and 22nd June 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. Petersburg 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. The present edition is based on a printed facsimile of the autograph manuscript. Five of Hartmann's pictures have been reproduced in four-colour print.

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