Correcting the Record: a Comparison of Vladimir Ashkenazy’s Urtext-based Edition of Pictures at an Exhibition with Orchestration By Ravel and Stokowski

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Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) never published his piano suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. The first publication of the Pictures was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s (1844-1908) piano edition in 1886, five years after Mussorgsky’s death. Among several piano editions of Pictures, Manfred Schandert’s urtext piano edition of 1984 has shed new light on the piano suite. The urtext edition is based on a facsimile of Mussorgsky’s autograph, and Schandert’s authoritative urtext contains all of Mussorgsky’s musical indications that previous editions neglected to include. Previous orchestrations based on less comprehensive editions include well-known orchestrations by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) and Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977). Vladimir Ashkenazy (b. ... continued below

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Choi, Hoon August 2012.

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  • Choi, Hoon

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Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) never published his piano suite, Pictures at an Exhibition. The first publication of the Pictures was Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s (1844-1908) piano edition in 1886, five years after Mussorgsky’s death. Among several piano editions of Pictures, Manfred Schandert’s urtext piano edition of 1984 has shed new light on the piano suite. The urtext edition is based on a facsimile of Mussorgsky’s autograph, and Schandert’s authoritative urtext contains all of Mussorgsky’s musical indications that previous editions neglected to include. Previous orchestrations based on less comprehensive editions include well-known orchestrations by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) and Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977). Vladimir Ashkenazy (b. 1937), on the other hand, derived his orchestration directly from the Schandert edition. In this study I argue that Ashkenazy offers “corrections” to his predecessors, Ravel and Stokowski, whose orchestrations differ—at times radically—from Mussorgsky’s autograph. This dissertation thus will explore the significant features of Ashkenazy’s orchestration in relation to the urtext edition by comparing it to the orchestrations of Ravel and Stokowski. In an age of attempts to present “authentic” versions of past music, Ashkenazy’s orchestration provides an authenticity that other orchestrations lack. Ashkenazy’s orchestration of Pictures at an Exhibition provides conductors an alternative performance option that is both effective and more closely related to Mussorgsky’s autograph.

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  • August 2012

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  • March 4, 2013, 2:02 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 12:06 p.m.

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Choi, Hoon. Correcting the Record: a Comparison of Vladimir Ashkenazy’s Urtext-based Edition of Pictures at an Exhibition with Orchestration By Ravel and Stokowski, dissertation, August 2012; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149572/: accessed July 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .