Driving home from Sam’s trumpet lesson I heard a strange sound from his iPhone – Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’. It’s one of my totem pieces – along with Verdi’s ‘Requiem’ and Brahm’s ‘Intermezzo in A Major.’
His trumpet teacher gave Sam ‘Promenade’ – the recurring theme in the piece that depicts Mussorgsky walking from painting to painting of his recently deceased friend, Victor Hartmann’s, posthumous art exhibition.
I used to play selections from the piece for my middle school general music classes. A special favorite was ‘The Hut of Baba Yaga’, which morphs into the ‘Great Gate of Kiev.’ I’d read them the Russian tale, play the recording, and give them pastels to make their own visual representation of the piece to display in an exhibition. For one of those classes my then youngest son, Dylan, was home from school and had permission to come to work with me.His creation hangs in our front room.
While listening in the car to ‘Pictures’, through Sam’s iPhone, it struck me how a musical work written hundreds of years ago works today to bring forth the artistic expressions of us living.