June 27 ~ Daily Listening Assignment
Wednesday, June 27, 2018 by Mary O'Connor | OCMS
Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite of ten pieces (plus a recurring, varied Promenade) composed for the piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874.
The suite is Mussorgsky's most famous piano composition and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists. It has become further known through various orchestrations and arrangements produced by other musicians and composers, with Maurice Ravel's arrangement being by far the most recorded and performed.
You can download the sheet music at IMSP or I have a copy of the book, as well as simplified sheet music.
The work opens with a brilliant touch – a “promenade” theme (above) that reemerges throughout as a transition amid the changing moods of the various pictures.
The ten pictures Mussorgsky depicts are:
- a gnome-shaped nutcracker;
- a troubadour plaintively singing outside an ancient castle;
- children vigorously playing and quarreling in a park;
- a lumbering wooden Polish ox-cart;
- a ballet of peeping chicks as they hatch from their shells;
- an argument between two Warsaw Jews, one haughty and vain, the other poor and garrulous;
- shrill women and vendors in a crowded marketplace;
- the eerie, echoing gloom of catacombs beneath Paris;
- the hut of a grotesque bone-chomping witch of Russian folklore named Baba Yaga;
- and a design for an entrance gate to Kiev.
The whole piece for piano. See if you can tell which pictures are which.
Just the Baba Yaga section:
The Emerson, Lake and Palmer version:
June 26 ~ Daily Listening Assignment
Tuesday, June 26, 2018 by Mary O'Connor | OCMS
Finlandia, Op. 26, is a tone poem by the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. It was written in 1899 and revised in 1900. The piece was composed for the Press Celebrations of 1899, a covert protest against increasing censorship from the Russian Empire, and was the last of seven pieces performed as an accompaniment to a tableau depicting episodes from Finnish history.
In order to avoid Russian censorship, Finlandia had to be performed under alternative names at various musical concerts. Titles under which the piece masqueraded were numerous—famous examples include Happy Feelings at the awakening of Finnish
and A Scandinavian Choral March.
As a hymn, it's called Be Still My Soul.
June 25 ~ Daily Listening Assignment
Monday, June 25, 2018 by Mary O'Connor | OCMS
Today's is a cheat post, partly because I ran out of time.
I've watched this video several times in the past few days. It's a great overview of the Beatles music. And, yes, I have books of their music arranged for piano, if you want to play anything.