PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
Kandinsky: Sketch for Pictures at an Exhibition. On April 4, 1928, Wassily Kandinsky premeired a stage composition to music by Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" in Dessau. His version of "Pictures" translate the idea of monumental art into life using his own sets and light, color and geometrical shapes for characters.
No.1: The "Gnomus." A small dwarf monster appearing in Russian legend, according to which lives underground and moves around in awkward manner. The explanation given by Stasov on the list of the exhibition reads as follows:"A sketch depicting a little gnome, clumsily running with crooked legs." The lurching music, in contrasting tempos with frequent stops and starts, suggests the movements of the gnome.
No. 5: "Ballet des Poussins dans leurs Coques" Stasov: "Hartmann's design for the décor of a picturesque scene in the ballet Trilby." Gerald Abraham provides the following details: "Trilby or The Demon of the Heath, a ballet with choreography by Petipa, music by Julius Gerber, and décor by Hartmann... produced in 1870. The fledglings were canary chicks."
No. 7: Limoges- Le Marché Limoges is a city in central France. Mussorgsky originally provided two paragraphs in French that described a marketplace discussion (the 'great news'), but soon removed them. "French women quarreling violently in the market," referring to the sketch on the second row, left. When Hartmann visited France after the French Revolution, the ordinary people France must have seemed completely different from the Russian slave peasants of the Empire.
No. 8: "Catacomba." A watercolour painting of the underground cemetery in Paris. Hartmann himself with a lantern appeared in this painting. There are a heap of skulls implying that Hartmann drew himself confronted with death. A comment was seen on the original music notes: "His soul of creation leads me to the skulls, which begins soon to glare."
No.9: "Le Cabane sur des Pattes de Poules" This clock is designed according to the Russian legend of Baba Yaga, a witch who lives in a hut on foel's legs surrounded by bone fences. The music was interpreted as the "power of people in the Revolution" in the Soviet era. Motives in this movement evoke the bells of a large clock and the whirlwind sounds of a chase.
No. 10: "La Grande Porte de Kiew." Kiev was the capital of Russia when the first united dynasty was founded. In the 11th century a "golden gate" was constructed as a monument of the defeat to enemies. Hartmann designed a monumental gate for Tsar Alexander II to commemorate the monarch's narrow escape from an assassination attempt in 1866. Hartmann regarded his design as the best work he had done. His design won the national competition but plans to build the structure were later cancelled.
No. 3: "Tuileries, quarrel of children after play". Hartmann's picture of the Jardin des Tuileries near the Louvre is now lost. It is noted on the original music note that Stasov wrote only "Figures of children". There were no other clues left. The NHK crew was unable to find any works related to Tuileries Garden in Paris but found two paintings of children with a comment "Paris" written at their corner. Both paintings showed scenery in small streets but were not associated with gardens.