Mussorgsky s pictures at an exhibition upper elementary
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Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition Upper Elementary. Day at the Louvre. Mussorgsky-Russian Nationalism. Nationalism swept over Europe in 1850’s.

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Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition Upper Elementary

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Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition Upper Elementary

Day at the Louvre

Mussorgsky-Russian Nationalism

  • Nationalism swept over Europe in 1850’s.

  • Nationalism is a pride in one’s country. Establishing artistic, musical, and literature specific for the certain country without another country’s influences.

  • Mussorgsky and four other musicians were considered “The Russian Five”

  • They composed and centered around music specifically for Russia.

Mussorgsky-Pictures at an Exhibition

  • Artist and architect Victor Hartmann, one of Mussorgsky’s close friends was also a nationalist.

  • At 39 Hartmann died stunning the entire Russian artistic community.

  • A memorial exhibit of Hartmann’s work was organized and displayed in 1874.

  • Under the inspiration of that showing, Mussorgsky conceived of his Pictures at an Exhibition.

Pictures at an Exhibition

  • Originally written for piano, later arranged for full orchestra by Ravel.

  • Feature 10 movements with a promenade between them.

  • The entire work is a musical example of Mussorgsky’s thoughts and feelings about going to his friend’s memorial exhibition and looking at his different pictures.


  • On your visit to an art exhibition, or museum, you might want to casually stroll, looking at all the lovely artwork.

  • You will “Promenade” until something really interesting catches your eye, then you may walk faster or with a purpose of seeing it closer.

  • That is when you study the piece of artwork, until you understand it’s story.

  • Then you will again “Promenade” until you reach another piece of artwork.

Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle

  • Mussorgsky originally called this movement one rich, the other poor.

  • It was inspired by a pair of pictures that Hartmann presented to the composer showing two residents of the Warsaw ghetto.

  • One rich and pompous, the other poor and complaining.

Upper Elementary’s Task-Listen to the differences in the music…Label and Write


  • When does the music change?

  • Are there different sections to the music?

  • Do the different sections repeat?

  • How can you label the different sections in the order you hear them?

  • Hint…they’re not numbers


  • Does the music get louder and softer in some areas than in others?

  • What sections get louder and softer?


  • What kind of instruments do you hear?

  • How does the composer use the instruments to tell the story?

Example of Listening Map…Music-Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle

Form –Does the Music Change?

  • Are there different sections in the music?

    Yes, one is low and slow, the other is high and fast, and the last has both sections together

  • Do the sections repeat?

    Yes, they repeat when they play together


  • Does the music get louder and softer in some areas than in others?

    Yes the music is louder and softer in the different sections


  • What type of instruments do you hear?

    Brass, Strings, and Woodwinds

  • How does the composer use the instruments to tell the story?

    The first section has low brass and strings in a minor key. It is slow and loud. It reminds me of a larger man.

    The second section is high and fast in rhythm. It is still in minor. The trumpet is high and can sound whiney.

    Both themes play together and fit nicely. It is as if the two character are interacting. Then the music slows and ends. They leave.

Example of Listening Map…Music-Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle

Listening Map

  • A

  • B

  • A&B (C?)

  • Coda

Writing Promt…

How does the composer use the instruments to tell the story?

Section A-Low instruments play slow in a minor key. Sound large, reminds me of a big man.

Section B-Trumpets play fast and high. Complete opposite of section A. Can be reminded of whining.

Section A/B (C?)-Both sections are playing at the same time, both are in minor keys. If you were in Warsaw you would see both of these people In the same place. Maybe they’re having a conversation.

Coda-Slow ending, as if they are walking away from eachother.

The Gate at Kiev

  • Inspired by Hartmann's plan for a gateway for the city of Kiev in the massive old Russian style crowned with a cupola in the shape of a Slavic warrior's helmet.

  • The majestic music suggests both the imposing bulk of the edifice (never built, incidentally) and a brilliant procession passing through its arches.

  • The work ends with a heroic statement of the Promenade theme and a jubilant pealing of the great bells of the city.

The Arc de TriompheDoes the Gate of Kiev and the Arc de Triomphehave similar qualities?

  • Both are arches are walked through as a procession for triumph.

  • Both arches have massive and majestic architecture.

    Can the music for the Gate of Kiev also be used to represent the Arc de Triomphe?

Upper Elementary-Listening MapGate of Kiev/Arc de Triomphe

In your Passport…

Listening Map

  • Listen to the music and identify the different sections.

  • Label the different sections using… letters.

    *After the writing prompt

  • Draw what you see/picture in the different sections.

Writing Prompt

How does the composer use instruments to tell the story?

  • What instruments

  • Melody, texture, dynamics

  • Describe what you picture in the different sections. What’s the story?

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