Excerpts from Pictures at an Exhibition

From Wind Repertory Project
Modest Mussorgsky

Modest Mussorgsky (arr. Merlin Patterson)

This article is a stub. If you can help add information to it,
please join the WRP and visit the FAQ (left sidebar) for information.

General Info

Year: 1874 / 2011
Duration: c. 15:30
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Merlin Patterson Music
Cost: Score and Parts - $600.00


1. Promenade I – 1:34
2. Gnomus – 2:37
3. Promenade II – 1:09
4. Ballet of the Chickens in their Shells
5. Limoges - The Market Place
6. The Hut of Fowls' Legs, "Baba Yaga" – 3:30
7. The Great Gate of Kiev – 6:30


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The story of the creation of Mussorgsky’s great piano work Pictures at an Exhibition is well known. In early 1874, Mussorgsky attended a memorial showing of art works by his friend Viktor Hartmann, who had died the previous year. Pictures is Mussorgsky’s own memorial to his late friend. Each movement represents a particular work of Hartmann - a “picture” - while the connecting “promenades” depict not only the composer moving from one work of art to the next, but also his mood and state of mind as he does so.

Almost from its very inception, Pictures has seemed to cry out for a larger canvas, As magnificent as the original piano version is, throughout musical history the work has stuck many as being larger than its chosen medium. In fact, Pictures is probably the most transcribed/arranged work in all of music. The first arrangement was an orchestral setting of seven “pictures” plus one “promenade” by Mikhail Tushmalov. This arrangement was probably produced in 1886. Of course, the most celebrated transcription is Maurice Ravel’s masterful orchestration. In addition to Ravel and Tushmalov, there have been at least fifty other orchestral settings, the most notable of which are those by Leopold Stokowski, Sir Henry Wood, Leo Funtek, Sergei Gorchakov, and Vladimir Ashkenazy. In addition, the work has also been arranged for organ, brass ensemble, solo guitar, various small ensembles, and of course, wind band.

So why did I choose to add my own band transcription to those already in existence? Most of the previous band arrangements were either based in part or in whole on the Ravel orchestration or were mere transpositions of the original piano version. I wanted to create a band transcription that was conceived to showcase the wide spectrum of tonal colors and textures as well as the inherent grandeur and power that are unique to the modern symphonic wind ensemble. Many unusual combinations of instruments and novel color combinations have been used throughout the work: the opening “promenade" scored for full trumpet section with flutes, piccolo and keyboard percussion, for example. My goal was to create a band transcription that would exhibit the unique and idiomatic musical properties of the wind ensemble, yet would at the same time convey the mood, emotion, and excitement of Mussorgsky’s original.

The present transcription was written “off and on” in the years 2008 through 2011. It received its premiere performance in Austin, Texas, on May 5, 2011, by the University of Texas Wind Ensemble conducted by Jerry Junkin.

- Program note by Merlin Patterson


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works