Pictures at an Exhibition​

Along with much more glorious music over the past few days, this gets special mention:

And there are no words worthy to mention most of the much more.

But, I heard this today:

The recording I heard on the radio was the LSO with Claudio Abbado and it was very fine. What is my favorite recording of this work? I am sure that I have not heard it yet. I like the old Fritz Reiner and Chicago because that was the first time I heard the entire suite when I was a freshman in high school. I like Dutoit and Montreal too because I like everything they have ever done, and they record in a church. The LSO recording was great, as I said, especially the percussion and strings. But for brass, I am going with Chicago. The video above has that same peerless principal trumpet, Adolph (Bud) Herseth, as the old Reiner recording. Mr. Herseth has a tone that is pure and I have never heard anything else like it come from a trumpet. And that’s enough about recordings.

In 1874, Pictures at an Exhibition was composed for piano by Modest Mussorgsky over the course of twenty days. There are many orchestrations of the original piano score, but Ravel’s is heard most often.

I won’t write many notes for the music. It is practically perfect, and was/is perfect for today, ending “triumphantly” just as announced. What could be better than a lengthy and unhurried stroll through a gallery of multiple scenes, each of which takes on reality, ending with an entrance through a grand gate? This music was a gift. Therefore, I want to share it.

So, no more notes. Instead, here are some pictures from another exhibition of ten images plus one miracle . . .

All Photographs “Three Days on a Route Called Joy” plus one miracle . . .

© 2018 Timothy Waugh