Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pictures at an Exhibition No.10: The Great Gate of Kiev (La grande porte de Kiev)

Pictures at an Exhibition (Russian: Картинки с выставки – Воспоминание о Викторе Гартмане, Kartínki s výstavki – Vospominániye o Víktore Gártmane, Pictures from an Exhibition – a Remembrance of Viktor Hartmann) is a famous suite of ten piano pieces composed by Modest Mussorgsky in 1874. It is generally acknowledged to be Mussorgsky’s greatest solo piano composition, and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists. It has also become known through various orchestrations and arrangements produced by other musicians and composers, with Ravel's arrangement being the most recorded and performed.

Mussorgsky composed the work in commemoration of his friend, the artist and architect Viktor Hartmann, who was only 39 when he suffered an aneurism and died in 1873. The working title for the suite was Hartmann:

"Hartmann is seething as Boris was. Sounds and ideas float in the air and my scribbling can hardly keep pace with them."
—Modest Mussorgsky, letter to Stasov

No. 10 "Богатырские ворота" (В стольном городе во Киеве) [Bogatïrskie vorota (v stol'nom gorode vo Kieve)] (Russian: The Bogatyr Gates (in the Capital in Kiev)): Key of E flat major, in 4/4 time. Bogatyrs are heroes that appear in Russian epics called bylinas. This movement is commonly translated as "The Great Gate of Kiev." The title is also sometimes rendered "The Heroes' Gate at Kiev." Stasov: "Hartmann's sketch was his design for city gates at Kiev in the ancient Russian massive style with a cupola shaped like a slavonic helmet." Hartmann made a sketch for a planned (but never built) monumental gate for Tsar Alexander II. This gate was to have commemorated the Tsar’s narrow escape from an assassination attempt on 1866 April 4. Hartmann felt that his design for the gate was the finest work he had yet done, and it won the competition for the gate’s design. The movement has the following form (roughly ABABCA):
  1. Majestic
  2. Solemn (piano)
  3. Majestic (with descending and ascending 8th note scales)
  4. Solemn (fortissimo)
  5. Bells (with a final variation of the 'promenade' theme)
  6. Majestic (half note triplets)
  7. Coda

Sheet File : Lagrandeporte.pdf
Midi File: Lagrandeporte.mid

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