Mussorgsky met artist and architect Viktor A. Hartmann in around 1870. They quickly found common ground: their interest in artistic expressions related to local inspiration and sensitivity to their native folklore. They continued their search and Hartmann's death led Mussorgsky to pay homage to his character, but also his artistic production. The composer found inspiration in Hartmann’s paintings, and that is how Pictures at an Exhibition was born: a series of ten piano pieces accompanied by some “promenades”. As if it was a museum of music, Mussorgsky acts as a guide in his Pictures at an Exhibition, which combine the best of two worlds, figurative arts and music. One step further towards the idea of a Gesamtkunstwerk (or a total work of art) was later taken by Kandinsky, who staged a theatrical version of Pictures at an Exhibition in 1928 at the Friedrich Theater de Dessau.
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“[...] sounds and ideas hung in the air, I am gulping and overeating, and can barely manage to scribble them on paper”. With these words, in a letter dated June 1874, Mussorgsky describes the writing process of his Pictures at an Exhibition, as if his work was dictated to him by an invisible voice. It may be the memory of his friend Viktor A. Hartmann which inspired him. In fact, they shared this artistic vision together, and Pictures at an Exhibition was born to celebrate his deceased friend and his watercolors. Drawing inspiration from Hartmann's painting, Mussorgsky makes an innovative synthesis of figurative arts and symphonic art. That is what Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition are: a work that delights all five senses! Come and enjoy Mussorgsky’s works on medici.tv, when you want, where you want!