Pictures at an Exhibition: a Reconciliation of Divergent Perceptions about Mussorgsky's Renowned Cycle
AdvisorWoods, Rex A.
Committee ChairWoods, Rex A.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis research is consecrated to Mussorgsky's famous cycle of character pieces, Pictures at an Exhibition. The author of this study examines, analyzes, and compares divergent perceptions about Mussorgsky's renowned cycle that have emerged among Mussorgsky scholars in Russia and abroad. Due to the fact that there is such an array of diverse viewpoints about Pictures at an Exhibition, some of which are conflicting or even contradictory, there is need to collect, expose, and discuss these findings. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to come to a better understanding of Mussorgsky's composition through a thorough examination of internal evidence and through studying the various insights presented by numerous Mussorgsky researchers. The discoveries shared by Western and Russian scholars will then help performers create a more authentic interpretation of Pictures at an Exhibition based on a solid foundation of knowledge. The other goal of this study is to introduce viewpoints and ideas shared by Russian researchers in the materials that are unavailable in English. These numerous findings shared by Russian scholars may help popularize and promote Mussorgsky's work among the non-Russian readers and performers, as well as introduce Russian perception about Mussorgsky's cycle. Another objective of this document is to study and analyze the composer's score markings, in order to draw performers' attention to this important link between a performer and the composer. Mussorgsky's detailed score markings represent a unique message, in which the composer gives direct and explicit instructions toward interpretation. Therefore, a wise performer would choose to pay close attention to these suggestions in order to create a meaningful performance.This document is organized in three chapters. Chapter I represents an overview of the life and traditions of Russian society in the 18th and 19th centuries; it describes the beginning of the nationalistic movement in Russian music and outlines some significant facts from Mussorgsky's life. Chapter II is dedicated to the genesis and structural analysis of Pictures at an Exhibition. Chapter III explores the divergent perceptions about Mussorgsky's suite expressed by Russian and Western researchers. Illustrations by Victor Hartmann and other Russian painters accompany this document as well as a many musical examples.