Hartmann, Moussorgsky, and Stasov

- Historical Background -

When Viktor Alexandrowitsch Hartmann died at the age of 39 in 1873, he was an almost unimportant painter and architect. (His name is spelled here Hartmann; the first Russian letter is "G" like Greek "Gamma". It shoud be pronounced like "Gartmann".) He got a gold prize in a competition of design for a public library and was able to go to a 4-years long journey to Poland, France, and Italy. His sketches and experiences there were enthralling information for Moussorgsky, one of his friends, who was unable to go abroad in his life. Vladimir Stasov, a patron of Hartmann and an art critic, held an exhibition of 400 works of Hartmann in 1874, deploring his death. Stasov was also supporting the "5 Russian Composers", emphasizing the necessity of Folks art. Moussorgsky visited this exhibition and had got inspiration to compose the piano suite completed within the same year.

Moussorgsky died in 1881. Stasov published the musical notes of the suite in 1886, on which Rimsky-Korsakov made comments for tempo and interpretation; some difference from the original piece arose at this moment. The first orchestration of the suite was done by Tushmanov a student of Rimsky-Korsakov. It was 1922 after 50 years from the original composition when Maurice Ravel made it famous with his wonderful technique for orchestration.

No music historician visited this exhibition in 1874, there were only a few clues left:

In the next pages I will show the above-mentioned ambiguous explanations by Stasov (not original ones but transration of the Japanese transration) and pictures corresponding to each piece of the suite according to the order.