This Beyond the Score presentation examines Ravel’s famous orchestration of Mussorgsky’s mighty piano sequence, Pictures From an Exhibition. It explores the fascinations and contradictions of a cool and sophisticated 20th-century Frenchman orchestrating a work by a mid-19th-century Russian who was wild and strange and certainly neither cool nor sophisticated. Discover the story behind the cycle and the heartfelt way it memorializes the tragic fate of Mussorgsky’s friend, the artist Viktor Hartmann.
This presentation also explores the art of orchestration. Learn what actually happens when a composer takes a chord or a tune written for piano and transforms it into music for symphony orchestra.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Charles Dutoit, conductor
Gerard McBurney, creative director and narrator
Ian Hobson, piano
Nicholas Rudall, actor