MUSSORGSKY PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
Artistry in its full depth – the exhibition that every artist would love to have!
Conductor Mariss Jansons and Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" were predestined to come together. The lavish colors of Ravel's orchestration of the Russian work, the breathtaking inventiveness of the wildly different movements that are all interconnected through a recurring Promenade – few conductors are as adept as Jansons to savor all the richness and colorfulness of the paintings and sketches by the artist Victor Hartmann.
Contrary to many programmatic symphonic works of the 19th century that were only inspired by events or nature, the "Pictures" are actually based on pictures by Hartmann, who had passed away in 1873 at the age of 39. An exhibition of his watercolors and drawings was organized at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. Deeply moved, Mussorgsky took ten of the pictures as subjects for a piano suite. Today, the work is particularly admired in its dazzling orchestral transcription by Maurice Ravel.
Ravel did not merely transcribe the piece, however, but also arranged it with his fine sense of orchestral combinations – which is where we come back to Mariss Jansons, certainly one of the most "painterly" of conductors, whose gift for conveying instrumental colors is inimitable – and, of course, due in part to the exceptionally flexible playing of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.