Thursday April 27, 2023
Knox United Church
Concert at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm
One of only two symphony orchestras on Vancouver Island, the Vancouver Island Symphony presents an annual season of world-class orchestral performances at the Port Theatre in Nanaimo. The VIS also performs “Symphony at the Sid,” a series of three concerts at the Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay, as well as a series of three concerts at Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre.
By attracting professional musicians and soloists from across the country, offering special education and community concerts and programming, and engaging active volunteers and donors, the VIS serves as a creative asset to the many communities of the growing Central Island area. Its wide-reaching audience and commitment to education are helping to “Keep Music Live” and foster the next generation of audiences and performers.
This VIS performance for Oceanside Classical Concerts Society will feature a select ensemble of twelve instrumentalists who have collaborated for a special presentation of Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, a suite in 10 movements reflecting interpretations of a viewer as he makes his way through an exhibition of paintings by Viktor Hartmann. Mussorgsky saw himself as being the viewer. Each of the movements represents one of the drawings or artworks on display. Although originally composed in 1874 for solo piano, Pictures became better known in orchestral form, particularly as arranged by French composer Maurice Ravel in 1922. The work was also orchestrated by other composers, such as Sir Henry J. Wood (1918), Leopold Stokowski (1939), and Vladimir Ashkenazy (1982). In 1971 the British popular music group Emerson, Lake and Palmer devoted an entire album to their own art-rock interpretation of the piece.
Mussorgsky composed Pictures as a memorial to his friend, the Russian artist Viktor Hartmann, who had died in 1873 at age 39. Shortly after the artist’s death, Mussorgsky visited a retrospective exhibit of Hartmann’s sketches, stage designs, and architectural studies and felt the need to capture the experience in music. By early summer 1874, he had completed the work, a lengthy and fiendishly difficult suite for solo piano, At the time of Mussorgsky’s death from alcoholism in 1881, the piece had been neither performed nor published. It fell to his friend and colleague Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov to tidy up the manuscript and bring it to print in 1886.
Submitted by Mary Leigh Warden
Sources: vancouverislandsymphony.com; britannica.com