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The sudden death of artist Viktor Hartmann in 1873, aged just 39, threw his good friend Modest Mussorgsky into despair. When the renowned composer attended an exhibition of the late Hartmann’s works in Saint Petersburg, he felt inspired to capture the experience in music—and in three weeks, he had composed Pictures at an Exhibition, one of the best-known examples of program music ever written. It comprises ten movements based on ten of Hartmann’s paintings, as well as a stately and widely known “Promenade” theme that recurs throughout.
Georgian powerhouse pianist Khatia Buniatishvili performed the full suite in this 2015 gem from the International Center of Culture and Arts in Kiev (the city for which the work’s tenth and final movement is named!). Alongside discussions of art and culture with Ukrainian artist Sasha Korban and Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko, Buniatishvili fully and ably renders the poetry and virtuosity of Mussorgsky’s evocative masterpiece.
Friday, May 31, 2024