2. The Old Castle

Pictures at an exhibition

Modest Mussorgsky (1839 ? 1881) wrote this famous suite of ten piano pieces (plus a recurring and varied Promenade) in response to the death of his friend Viktor Hartmann (1834 ? 1873). An artist, designer and architect, Hartmann died suddenly and unexpectedly of a cerebral aneurysm at just 39 years of age. Shocked, dismayed and deeply moved by his friend?s untimely demise, Mussorgsky set about composing a piece in his honour, in fact, the complete title of the work is ?Pictures at an Exhibition ? A Remembrance of Viktor Hartmann?.  It became further widely known through various orchestrations and arrangements produced by other composers and musicians, with Maurice Ravel's 1922 adaptation for full symphony orchestra being the most recorded and performed. 

2. The Old Castle: Stasov's comment: "A medieval castle before which a troubadour sings a song."This movement is thought to be based on a watercolor depiction of an Italian castle and is portrayed in Ravel's orchestration by a bassoon and alto saxophone duet. Hartmann often placed appropriate human figures in his architectural renderings to suggest scale.

Saxophone Probespiel | Orchestral Auditions