Pictures at an Exhibition Mvt 2: The Old Castle
Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite of 12 pieces for piano, composed in 1874 by Mussorgsky as a musical commentary on a posthumous exhibition of paintings and designs by his friend, the architect Viktor Hartmann. Several of the original paintings still exist, and can be found easily on the internet. Mussorgsky’s music has been transcribed for orchestra by several composers, most notably Ravel. This arrangement for clarinet quartet of a selection of the pictures seeks to maintain variety of tone colour by using differently-sized members of the clarinet family in each movement. The standard line-up of the quartet is for two Bb clarinets, Eb alto and Bb bass, but the Eb sopranino and the Eb contra-alto instruments make appearances, and one movement is for sopranino clarinet in D, with three A clarinets (although this could be performed on Eb and three Bb instruments, if a D clarinet is not available).
The painting of The Old Castle has not survived, but the music gives the impression of a rather sad ruin. Ravel orchestration of this movement contains one of the best-known alto saxophone solos in the orchestral repertoire, and that instrumentation has been retained in this arrangement.
For Bb, Eb alto and Bb bass clarinets and Eb alto saxophone. Ossia parts are available for a basset horn (in lieu of alto clarinet) or a second bass clarinet (in lieu of alto). The score of this arrangement is offered free of charge; the intention thereby is to enable quartets to print out an 'approval' copy and decide whether they like it. If you like the arrangement and wish to perform it, please could you then purchase a set of parts.
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