“Pictures at an Exhibition” – Modest Mussorgsky‏

by richibi

 
You are definately (sic) now in Chopin mode!“, a friend
writes, much as the culture itself would’ve found
itself after a surfeit of Chopin, giving way to of
course newer inventions in art  
 
if there is an overview that would present the
fundamental outline of what was occuring at
the time it is that the heart was giving way to
the mind, late Romanticism still throbbed with
stirring passions, but a more exploratory
psychological perspective would begin to  
dominate, spurred on by a more analytical
approach to everything, even the arts
themselves to the arts themselves, science
had been unearthing revelations, painters
analyzed paint, writers parsed writing, 
composers deconstructed musical composition
 
all investigated potentiality and purpose within
the area of their field to discover if it still had
relevance, and if so, how and why
 
the first step in moving away from emotion in
music was through an attempt at notational
description, to have music become evocative 
of a scene rather than of sentiment through
orchestrations of sound, an intellectual appeal
to the more probing cerebellum rather than to 
the more facile and evident strings of a rhythmic,
ardently and compellingly pulsing, but primal 
and therefore unreasoning, heart
 
which could also easily become self-indulgent,
only the very best, Chopin, Elizabeth Barrett 
Browning, avoid it, let me add here the never
ever maudlin, always enchanting, Walt Disney,
who cuts mighty, mighty close to the saccharine
in his post-Second-World-War epoch, as do as
skilfully also indeed the other two in theirs
 
it’s all in the rubato, I think, where musical magic
is allowed to turn into pandering kitsch
 
 
here’s Modest Mussorgsky describing Pictures
at an Exhibition, each movement a particular
pictorial work, separated by the return of the
original theme, the “Promenade”, representative
of the amble forward, curatorial and monocled, 
I think, to the next considered instalment 
 
here’s the same thing again in a neat transcription
for guitar 
 
 
Richard
 
 
 
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