Watch & Listen

What does it mean to truly be yourself? How do you take classical music and make it your own?

The composer Modest Mussorgsky grappled with these questions as he sought to create a Russian musical style at a time when classical music was still new to Russia. In this episode, we explore Mussorgsky’s answers to these questions with his Pictures at an Exhibition. Made famous through Maurice Ravel’s colorful orchestral version of the original piano suite, this masterpiece was inspired by the artworks of Victor Hartmann, a friend of Mussorgsky’s who suffered a tragic early death. One of the most popular orchestral works, Pictures at an Exhibition is a tribute to the power of art and friendship to withstand the test of time.

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Creative Credits

Carlos Botero, Host

Aurelie Desmarais, Host

Mark Hughes, Houston Symphony Principal Trumpet and Featured Guest

Masahito Sugihara, Saxophone and Featured Guest

Ray Schilens, Audio Production and Editing (Radio Lounge)

Brad Sayles, Houston Symphony Broadcast Recording Engineer (Houston Public Media)

Calvin Dotsey, Executive Producer

Music Credits

Most orchestral excepts featured in On the Music are taken from archival Houston Symphony recordings. We also supplement these with commercially available recordings to ensure that we respect the rights of our musicians and to fill in gaps in our archives. Credits are listed by order of first appearance. The Houston Symphony Broadcast Recording Engineer is Brad Sayles of Houston Public Media.

Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition – Archival Houston Symphony recording.

Liszt: Valse a capriccio on 2 motifs from Donizetti’s Lucia et Parisina – William Wolfram, piano.

Glinka: Overture to Ruslan and Lyudmila – Archival Houston Symphony recording.

Beethoven/Liszt: Symphony No. 5 – Konstantin Scherbakov, piano.

Schumann: Symphony No. 3, Rhenish – Archival Houston Symphony recording.

Bach/Schoenberg: Prelude and Fugue, St. Anne – Archival Houston Symphony recording.

Rubinstein: Piano Concerto No. 4 – Joseph Banowetz, piano and the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Košice, conducted by Robert Stankovsky, Robert.

Mussorgsky/Stokowski: Boris Godunov: A Symphonic Synthesis – Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by José Serebrier.

Lehár: The Merry Widow, Act II: Ich bitte, hier jetzt zu verweilen – Cologne Radio Orchestra, conducted by Helmut Froschauer.

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition – John Browning, piano.

Mussorgsky/Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition – Ukraine National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Theodore Kuchar.

Ravel: La valse – Lyon National Orchestra, conducted by Leonard Slatkin.

Ravel: Suite No. 2 from Daphnis and Chloé – Archival Houston Symphony recording.

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade – Archival Houston Symphony recording.

Ravel: Le tombeau de Couperin – Klara Kormendi, piano.

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin – Archival Houston Symphony recording.

Strauss (Johann Jr.): Overture to Die Fledermaus – Archival Houston Symphony recording.

Traditional, Arr. Lukyanov: “Po Lougu” – Sloboda Ensemble, conducted by Evgeniy Kalyukin.

Bach: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 – Munich Bach Orchestra and Munich Bach Choir, conducted by Hansjörg Albrecht.

Mozart: Symphony No. 38, Prague – Archival Houston Symphony recording.

Ockeghem: Missa cuiusvis toni – Capella Alamire, conducted by Peter Urquhart.

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition – Jeno Jandó, piano.

Benzion Miller: Improvisation “…ata ritzatzta” – Benzion Miller, cantor and Schola Hebraeica, conducted by Neil Levin.

Sound Effects Credits

Sound effects courtesy of and Radio Lounge. Credits are listed by order of first appearance.

Marching – Marching.wav by WebbFilmsUK.

Angry Mob – angry mob loop.aiff by benjaminharveydesign.

Cheering – VICTORY CRY REVERB 1.wav and VICTORY CRY REVERB 2.wav by chripei.

Eating dumplings – Soup slurp by Slave2theLight.

Exhibition Hall at the Imperial Academy of Arts – Hum of voices in a theater during the intermission of a concert. (around 500 persons) by felix.blume.

Pen – Quill pen writing on hard paper various speed.wav by marcoman89.

Tuilerie Gardens – Jardin des plantes – oiseaux – enfants – passants – voitures fond.mp3 by mosfran.

Ox cart – Horse-drawn carriage – On board.wav by Sirderf.

Cow mooing – TwoCows.wav by acclivity.

Whip crack – Whip Crack 01.wav by CGEffex.

Film reel – 16mm Film Reel by bone666138.

Russian bells – Sound of bells (peal). by urupin.

Sources/Recommended Reading

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