Pictures at an Exhibition (arr Sweeney)

From Wind Repertory Project
Modest Mussorgsky

Modest Mussorgsky (arr. Michael Sweeney)

Subtitle: (Promenade, The Hut at Baba Yaga, The Great Gate of Kiev)

General Info

Year: 1874 / 1991 / 2012
Duration: c. 3:30
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Piano
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $65.00; (digital) - $65.00   |   Score Only (print) - $5.00

Instrumentation (Flexible)

Full Score
Part 1

  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • B-flat Clarinet
  • B-flat Trumpet
  • Violin

Part 2

  • B-flat Clarinet
  • B-flat Trumpet
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone
  • Violin

Part 3

  • B-flat Clarinet
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone
  • E-flat Alto Clarinet
  • F Horn
  • Violin
  • Viola

Part 4

  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone
  • Euphonium T.C
  • F Horn
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium B.C.
  • Bassoon
  • Cello

Part 5

  • B-flat Bass Clarinet
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium B.C.
  • Bassoon
  • Euphonium T.C.
  • Cello
  • B-flat Baritone Saxophone
  • Tuba
  • String/Electric Bass

Percussion I-II-III

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Gong
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Tambourine
  • Tom, low
  • Triangle
  • Whip
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Even using the reduced instrumentation inherent in the Flex-Band format, Michael Sweeney brings the power and excitement of the original in this authentic-sounding arrangement for inexperienced players. Includes: Promenade, The Hut of Baba Yaga and The Great Gate of Kiev.

- Program Note from publisher

Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition in 1874. The work is a tribute to his friend and colleague Viktor Hartmann, an artist who died one year earlier. Vladimir Stasov, an art critic who was a mutual friend and enthusiastic supporter of both the artist and composer, assembled a commemorative exhibit in St. Petersburg, and Mussorgsky’s frequent visits to the gallery were inspirational:

"Hartmann is boiling as Boris [Godunov] boiled; sounds and ideas have been hanging in the air; I am devouring them and stuffing myself -- I barely have time to scribble them on paper. I am writing the fourth number -- the links are good (on Promenade). I want to finish it as quickly and securely as can. My profile can be seen in the interludes. I consider it successful to this point. "

Mussorgsky and Hartmann were kindred spirits who shared a desire to turn away from the European training and influence that had held sway over Russian music, art, and literature. Both were intrigued by folk and popular elements of Russian history and culture, and were determined to use them in their efforts to develop a nationalistic identity in the arts. Judging from Mussorgsky’s tribute to Hartmann, music that possesses a dramatic and sweeping quality on a scale far greater than the artwork itself, the relationship between Mussorgsky and Hartmann must have been deep and powerful. The music begins with a Promenade, a noble theme that represents the composer moving through the gallery, and that returns as transition material between several of the movements. According to Stasov, Mussorgsky depicted himself “roving through the exhibition, now leisurely, now briskly in order to come close to a picture that had attracted his attention, and at times sadly, thinking of his departed friend.” As the Promenade theme returns at various points during the work, it takes on different emotional qualities, reflecting the evolving feelings of the composer as he makes his way through the exhibit. The artworks Mussorgsky portrays musically [in this arrangement] are described below:

1. Promenade* - A placid statement of the promenade melody depicts the viewer walking from one display to the next.

9. The Hut on Hen’s Legs (Baba-Yaga) - According to Stasov, “This piece is based on Hartmann’s design for a clock in the form of Baba-Yaga’s hut on hen’s legs, to which Mussorgsky added the ride of the witch in her mortar.” Mussorgsky scholar Michael Russ amplifies Stasov’s description: “Baba-Yaga appears in Russian fairy-tales. She lives deep in the woods in a hut whose hen’s legs allow it to rotate to face each unfortunate newcomer. There she lures lost children to eat them, crushing their bones in the giant mortar in which she rides through the woods, propelling herself with the pestle and covering her tracks with a broomstick.”

10. The Great Gate of Kiev - Stasov informs us that the gate that inspired this movement, designed by Hartmann for a competition at Kiev, was done in the “massive old Russian style, with a cupola in the form of a Slavonic helmet.” Although the goal of the competition was to identify a design for a new gate to be constructed in commemoration of Tsar Alexander l’s escape from an assassination attempt in 1866, the construction of the gate was cancelled. Regardless, Hartmann’s design attracted considerable attention, and he regarded it as one of his greatest accomplishments. Much like Mussorgsky’s music, it is thoroughly nationalistic in design, incorporating Russian elements such as the eagle, cupola, ancient Russian figures, and the old Slavonic inscription: “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” The composer mirrors the intent of the artist through the use of a Russian Orthodox chant as well as recurring bell motives that evoke the pealing of multiple carillons for a climax that is one of the most memorable in all classical music.

- Program Note by Colonel Michael Colburn, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band

- *Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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