For our Pictures at an Exhibition themed challenges there are three options. Send your submissions to stpaulsye@gmail.com by Saturday 28th November. Please let us know if you are happy for us to share your submission on our website and/or our social media.

Option 1:

Mussorgsky wrote Pictures at an Exhibition for piano, and many others have orchestrated it for a variety of ensembles since. The most famous is Ravel’s orchestration, which is our focus for November. Pick a movement from the piano score and orchestrate it (or a section of it) for a group of instruments of your choice. The piano music can be found here: https://ks4.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/e/e5/IMSLP85544-SIBLEY1802.13415.b56e-39087012668630.pdf

Option 2:

Pictures at an Exhibition was inspired by an exhibition of Viktor Hartmann’s works. Some of the pictures on display at this exhibition were paintings, and others were sketches and architectural designs. Pick an image that inspires you and write a short piece of music depicting this image for an instrument/group of instruments of your choice.

Option 3:

Although this piece of music was initially inspired by works of art, this has also worked in reverse, with the artist Wassily Kandinsky being inspired by the music to create new art work. You can find out more about this here: https://www.wassilykandinsky.net/pictures.php. Pick one movement (or more if you wish!) to listen to from the list below and produce an artwork inspired by the music.

List of movements:

  • Promenade I
  • Gnomus. The music depicts a gnome running on crooked legs (Hartmann’s picture was a design for a gnome-shaped nutcracker).
  • Promenade II
  • Il vecchio castello (‘The Old Castle’). A troubadour sings before a medieval castle. 
  • Promenade III
  • Tuileries. This depicts the Paris gardens, bustling with nursemaids and squabbling children.
  • Bydło. A Polish ox-cart rolls along on enormous wheels.
  • Promenade IV
  • Ballet des poussins dans leur coques (‘Ballet of Chicks in their Shells’). Hartmann’s picture shows sketches of some costume designs for a ballet.
  • Samuel Goldenberg und Schmuÿle. This is a double portrait based on two pictures of Polish Jews by Hartmann.
  • Limoges – Le Marché (‘Limoges – The marketplace’). The French market-women in this piece are said to be gossiping about a lost cow, a drunken neighbour and some false teeth.
  • Catacombœ: Sepulcrum Romanum. Hartmann depicts himself probing the mysteries of the Roman tombs by the light of a lantern.
  • La Cabande sur des pattes de poule (‘The Hut on Fowl’s Legs). Hartmann designed a clock in the form of the hut in which dwelt the mythical witch of Russian folklore, Baba-Yaga.
  • La grande porte de Kiev (‘The Great Gate of Kiev’). This design was commissioned in 1866 but was never built.