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Andrei Gavrilov | Pictures at an Exhibition

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Pictures at an Exhibition

by Andrei Gavrilov

New Era 21st century recording of a 19th century Russian Piano masterwork, composed by a 19th century man who glimpsed the future of 20th century Rock music, and performed by a man who taps the composer’s conciousness and gives us a picture of his soul.
Genre: Classical: Piano solo
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Pictures at an Exhibition: I. Promenade
1:38 $0.99
2. Pictures at an Exhibition: II. The Gnome
2:51 $0.99
3. Pictures at an Exhibition: III. Promenade 2nd
1:09 $0.99
4. Pictures at an Exhibition: IV. The Old Castle
3:30 $0.99
5. Pictures at an Exhibition: V. Promenade 3rd
0:35 $0.99
6. Pictures at an Exhibition: VI. Tuileries - Dispute d’enfants après jeux (Children Quarrelling After Play)
1:02 $0.99
7. Pictures at an Exhibition: VII. Bydlo
3:51 $0.99
8. Pictures at an Exhibition: VIII. Promenade 4th
0:43 $0.99
9. Pictures at an Exhibition: IX. Ballet of the Unhatched Chicken
0:59 $0.99
10. Pictures at an Exhibition: X. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
2:28 $0.99
11. Pictures at an Exhibition: XI. Promenade 5th
1:32 $0.99
12. Pictures at an Exhibition: XII. Limoges - Le Marché (The Market Place)
1:28 $0.99
13. Pictures at an Exhibition: XIII. The Catacombs. Roman Tomb (Cum Mortuis in Lingua Mortua)
4:18 $0.99
14. Pictures at an Exhibition: XIV. Baba-Yaga
3:38 $0.99
15. Pictures at an Exhibition: XV. The Great Gate of Kiev
5:59 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
In this new 21st century recording, Andrei Gavrilov taps directly and philosophically into the consciousness of the Russian composer, Modest Mussorgsky, and transmits the composer’s thoughtful physiognomy through his own consciousness into ears of the modern world.

Unable to rationalize the death of his friend Hartmann, “Pictures” is the story of how faith revealed to Mussorgsky a way to gain relief from despair. Greatly inspired through the pictures by these revelations, he faces his inner fears and doubts, allowing him to generally overcome them. Pictures is a personal trip through consciousness, walking the listener through an Exhibition of nothing less than the composer’s own physiognomy. Promenading the depths of evil and the hardships of life, he invites takes listeners to accompany him to a place where there is nothing but light, where there is no evil - a victory of understanding over ignorance – an apotheosis of good and happiness.

Modest Mussorgsky was “a new type of man.” Metaphysically, his spirit was consistent with Beethoven’s restless spirit - a frantic Democrat and a fighter for justice. His restless nature sought a “new order” and new ways of building a “just society”. Such spiritual aspirations led to extraordinarily refined thoughts, the whole of his physiognomy centered on the characteristics of a “purity of heart”. His lack of a formal conservatory schooling in composition led him to author a highly original musical language. Expression of a wide variety of innovative artistic ideas and designs came naturally, rivaling the traditionally European styles of Tchaikovsky or Rachmaninov. As a trailblazer, Mussorgsky was one of the “great misunderstood”, creating masterworks misperceived in his own time, often possessing of a quality surpassing that of his peers. In the melody of his nostalgic opuses, Mussorgsky allows us to see and hear those strings of the human soul that so-called “classical music” did not even touch upon before him. The time for understanding the meanings and values of Mussorgsky's music is still evolving. Embedded within it, the eastern part of the development of the original Slavic branch of musical art expressed for the first time, adding to the cosmos the wild part of tribal man’s beginning, which without Mussorgsky, and later Stravinsky, would never have been part of serious musical expression. So here is a peek at a 19th century man who saw past the limit of his time, and in some ways predicted the revolution in modern musical art, especially Jazz, Swing, and Rock music of the late 20th century.

CD Track Descriptions:

In this first piece Mussorgsky makes his presence known through this motivic musical self-portrait: this main theme and its motives are at once wonderful, ironic, sad and at the same time funny, bitter and at the same time sweet. The whole work is devoted to portraying his “physiognomy,” with this title theme outlining the often conflicting components of his inner soul, a logical soul structured here by his identification with Russian Choral songs. The theme frames the drama’s narrative through the appearance of Mussorgsky’s various states of mind via use of alternating minor and major keys, diverse registers, and different characters and sonorities.

Relying on intuitive, ingenious imagery, Mussorgsky presents a timely and fantastical Interpretation of Hartmann’s European Gnome. Since Russian mythology is absent of this image, Mussorgsky relies on writings from a panoply of European philosophers and writers, filtered through the consciousness of his native, national Russian soil to form his unique creative vision. Refracting sketches of Russian folklore characters, including images of “evil spirit”, he uses his mastery of parody and satire to create a comprehensive picture of a folk-tale dwarf.

Mussorgsky then transports us to the next Picture using a light, “swinging” promenade. [4:06]

Old Castle
This work opens with the stark image of a medieval Italian castle. An allegory of old stone, the sadness of decay, it is a metaphoric farewell to Mussorgsky’s dearly missed friend Hartmann, the artist behind the pictures. Played out from the composer’s imagination is a sensuous saga of the once vibrant castle’s lost life. This melody, based on the popular motifs of Neapolitan Italian tarantellas, plays out the dance of the ballad over a pulsing tambourine beat in the bass. Layered melodies from Mussorgsky’s soul join musical imageries to transport us from the exhilaration of life to the sad, readily interpretable funereal bell’s “Farewell to Life.”

An energetic self-portrayal plays out the Promenade in a manner reminiscent of modern rock to break the dramatic mood. [8:26]

Drawing with music, Mussorgsky uses his great heart to treat us with his cinematic sketch of young children’s richly intimate, sensitive inner world played out through a cycle of an ancient Russian game. We are treated to a glimpse of their youthful world’s rich poignancy as boy-girl pairs chase after each other, while the person who is “It” allegorically “burns” until he or she tags another. We hear the exhilaration of the playful chase, the pause of the tagging, the fleeting light of brief childhood romance before the chase resumes again.

Thematically rooted in the Belarusian-Polish folk tradition, Mussorgsky creates an interesting, but tragic, folk sketch. Drawing inspiration from Hartmann, the artist musically paints a folk allegory about oxen pulling a roughly constructed, unevenly worn cart with gnarled wheels as it rolls tiredly along crude unpaved gullies. The composer’s imagination plays out thoughts and intentions from his inner psyche for us to examine and compare through the lens of our own life experiences; to reflect on our fate as laborers, as humans fated to share the “eternal yoke.”

Burdened by heavy emotion, a tearful harmonic progression evolves from misery, to contemplation of life, to humor, gradually walking us toward a new mood of comedy and conversation.

The Ballet of Unhatched Chicks
Demanding fragility and controlled virtuosity, Mussorgsky humorously uses sound to cinematically imitate nature in this surreal work. Inspired by Hartmann’s ballet sketches, and conscious of the timeless chicken and egg proverb, the composer’s poignant song sensitively describes the plight, pecking, hatching, the uncertain gait of the chicks, all the while exposing his devilish sense of humor. We are led away from the coop as the work concludes with a rooster’s cry.

Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuÿle
Rooted in Jewish folk melodies, this piece is intensely personal, self-reflective, and humanistic in its considerate, introspective portrait of two Jewish men of opposing means and character, and of the tragic conflict this engenders. It is a commentary on the lamentable chasm between the rich and poor, and is inspired by a combination of Mussorgsky’s own Russian experiences and the images of Polish Jews drawn by Hartmann.

Instead of repeating himself, Mussorgsky expands his self-portrait. He shows himself to be mentally strengthened by his having passed through the previous tragic dialogue with the spirit of a loved one. He proceeds to walk us thematically through the gallery towards the finale with a vitally transformed mind and spirit.

Set in an open market, this picture draws on Mussorgsky’s humanity and mastery of cinematic satire. His music combines comedy and commentary about the sometime-silliness of humanity with a call for virtuosity. The clamoring Scherzo describes the tumult of the scene, the artistic imagery of the gossips, and parades our incorrigible humanity as the work accelerates to its close.

Mussorgsky, consumed by the permanent and irreversible loss of his friend Hartmann, paints in music the confrontation of his own mortality as well as that of humanity with death. He portrays how the sadness of death has driven him to despair. He shares an imagined encounter with his deceased friend in “the other world.” This work is an epic monument to the Russian soul which ends with a portrayal of the composer’s own experience of enlightenment and tranquility.

Baba Yaga
Unlike his reference to mythology in the Gnome, this piece is rooted in Mussorgsky’s deep physiological understanding and sense of evil. The character “Baba Yaga,” is an apotheosis of everything dark in the Russian soul – aggressiveness, meanness, everything untoward that dwells in the soul of every person, and in particular, of Russian persons. This piece prefigures the exit into eternal light that occurs in the next part of the exhibit.

Finale – The Golden Gates of Kiev
Unable to rationalize the death of his friend Hartmann, the Finale is the story of how faith revealed to Mussorgsky a way to gain relief from despair. Greatly inspired through the pictures by these revelations, he faces his inner fears and doubts, allowing him to generally overcome them. Using musical quotations from Slavonic prayer songs (including bell ringing), his ascension is played out – emerging from the depths of evil and the hardships of life, he enters a place where there is nothing but light, where there is no evil. With a grand Promenade, he walks into the light – a victory of understanding over ignorance – an apotheosis of good and happiness. The composer’s transformation completes with a ringing of the golden bell.



to write a review

Todd Harris

An Innovative, Exciting and Masterful Performance
This brand new recording is a symbol of the new era, differing from its predecessors in all respects, including fresh content and a personalized production history. Creative people of independent thought and consciousness joined forces to bring fresh and innovative content to listeners. Andrei Gavrilov offers a new kind of interaction with music and musicians by combining personalized video and text to augment the Artist’s masterful performance. In total the complete download provides over 6 hours of extra material to give an exciting and in-depth educational exploration of the composers’ consciousness and creative processes. The Artful passion behind this revolutionary performance unites master performer and musical enthusiasts committed to proselytizing daring new ideas.