In 1873 Mussorgsky was deeply affected by the death of his great friend Victor Hartmann, a painter and architect. The following year an exhibition of Hartmann’s work inspired Mussorgsky to write Pictures at an Exhibition. It was unpublished until after his death in 1881 but ultimately became his most important Piano composition. It features ten pictures, illustrated in three separate movements and connected by the Promenade, a theme which leads us through the Gallery from one picture to another. This is a somewhat ponderous, Russian style theme but the variations on this prove sparkling and compelling as they entwine with the melody of each part of the sequence or journey through the gallery.
Maurice Ravel’s orchestration, completed in 1922 is the most famous and by far the best known re-working Mussorgsky score, the piece de resistance of a master orchestrator. This is the Full Orchestral score, from the Boosey Masterworks Library and this new edition is based on the original printed score of 1929.