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Just started learning "La Porte des Bohatyrs de Kiew" from a photocopy of the Augener Edition. I've found one almost certain mistake and wondering about some other notes. I'm not familiar with Moussorgsky and haven't learned the earlier parts of "Pictures". A confident answer to three questions should settle the matter for me. (1) The first chord in ms. 6 is B-flat major and in ms. 8 G minor. Is that right? (2) In ms. 13 and ms. 18 there are A-flats on the 3rd beat in the right hand. Are they right? (3) I'm puzzled by the "sempre con espressione" after the octave-scale section, given that the earlier chordal interlude was marked "senza espressione". What does "sempre" mean in that spot? Thanks in advance to anyone who might know. (And the mistake I'm sure of is a D-natural instead of D-flat in the third measure before the eighth-note octave scales begin, in a chord formed, from the bottom, of F-flat, A-flat, D, F-flat.) If I should get a different edition, what should it be?

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Originally Posted by Tono
Just started learning "La Porte des Bohatyrs de Kiew" from a photocopy of the Augener Edition. I've found one almost certain mistake and wondering about some other notes. I'm not familiar with Moussorgsky and haven't learned the earlier parts of "Pictures". A confident answer to three questions should settle the matter for me. (1) The first chord in ms. 6 is B-flat major and in ms. 8 G minor. Is that right?

No.
They are the same in my score.


Quote
2) In ms. 13 and ms. 18 there are A-flats on the 3rd beat in the right hand. Are they right?

Yes.

Quote
(3) I'm puzzled by the "sempre con espressione" after the octave-scale section, given that the earlier chordal interlude was marked "senza espressione".

In my score, it's senza espressione both times.
Quote
(And the mistake I'm sure of is a D-natural instead of D-flat in the third measure before the eighth-note octave scales begin, in a chord formed, from the bottom, of F-flat, A-flat, D, F-flat.)
It should be D flat.

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If I should get a different edition, what should it be?
Use this:
https://s9.imslp.org/files/imglnks/...lge_2_Tableaux_d_une_Exposition_scan.pdf


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If you want it printed, the Pavel (Paul) Lamm edition is printed by International Music Co., as well as by Dover in the collection of Mussorgsky piano music.


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Many thanks. I'm delighted that my intuition was largely right. I had just gone through a miserable experience with a delightful piece, Granados' Valses Poéticos, which I'd bought used in what turned out to be a mistake-filled International Music edition. Say, if you see this, it just occurred to me to ask, What do you think "senza espressione" means? "Play like a robot"?

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I just treat it as very subdued - it's basically a church hymn, so when I play it I just treat it as such and don't overdo anything with emotion or tempo changes.


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Originally Posted by Tono
if you see this, it just occurred to me to ask, What do you think "senza espressione" means? "Play like a robot"?
Those sections sound like a Russian Orthodox Church chant (just as the tolling bells later on are clearly from the same source):



so I'd play them without any stresses (unlike in Bach chorales, for example, where the soprano line would be more prominent, and you'd put emphasis on phrasing) or rubato, and in the same subdued monotone. In fact, it was after listening to Rachmaninov's All Night Vigil that I knew exactly how this music needed to be played.


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For comparison, here's Bach's Passion Chorale (Matthäus-Passion) sung in exemplary manner in the Lutheran Church tradition, with strong phrasing and voice leading:



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In my score (published in the USSR):

1. ms. 6 and 8 are the same

3. There is "senza espressione" after the first octave scales, and "Meno mosso, sempre maestoso" after the second one.
It is in public domain.

My score is from different edition, but note wise is identical to IMSLP edition mentioned above.


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Originally Posted by VladK
In my score (published in the USSR):

3. There is "senza espressione" after the first octave scales, and "Meno mosso, sempre maestoso" after the second one.
The OP was actually asking about the mood indication for the 'hymn' sections before and after the (one-handed) octave scale section, not the final section with ff chords with both hands leaping back and forth.

Your edition is probably completely identical to the one I linked on IMSLP.


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The Lamm edition (see IMSLP link above) is much better than most older editions, but still contains errors. There are some modern editions that have gone back to the original manuscript, for instance the Henle one from 2013.


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I have an edition of Pictures that my teacher took apart almost note by note and re-edited it with Horowitz' markings (yes, they were good old buddies)...and it wasn't just the Great Gate (hope that's still standing at this writing).

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There is an excellent version edit by Barenreiter, which is fairly recent.


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Do your editions show a rather peculiar B naturalized between an E-flat major chord and an A-flat major chord on the second eighth note of the first beat eight measures before the "meno mosso, sempre maestoso" finale? I can imagine a farfetched explanation for it, but it is really alone, surrounded by easily understood harmonies.

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Originally Posted by Tono
Do your editions show a rather peculiar B naturalized between an E-flat major chord and an A-flat major chord on the second eighth note of the first beat eight measures before the "meno mosso, sempre maestoso" finale? I can imagine a farfetched explanation for it, but it is really alone, surrounded by easily understood harmonies.
That B-natural is in the Bärenreiter edition. I also have a facsimile of Mussorgsky's autograph manuscript: it's there too.


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Originally Posted by Tono
Do your editions show a rather peculiar B naturalized between an E-flat major chord and an A-flat major chord on the second eighth note of the first beat eight measures before the "meno mosso, sempre maestoso" finale? I can imagine a farfetched explanation for it, but it is really alone, surrounded by easily understood harmonies.

The B natural is just a lower auxilliary in between the 2 C.


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Thanks. Yes, that's how I saw it too (as the lower auxiliary), and I see a similar natural in the left-hand octave scale earlier in the piece. I guess that's what separates a great composer from a modestly trained Harmony 101 student.

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"......and it wasn't just the Great Gate (hope that's still standing at this writing)...."

Simply surveying the relative vastness of the Wiki article and its references makes me greatly feel the thinness of my own knowledge. (The most comprehensive is to be found at

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pictures_at_an_Exhibition#The_Great_Gate_of_Kiev

although there are several others at Wiki with much abbreviated information).

In a very real sense, the music I 'hear' when I think of Musorgsky's great piano suite is that of Keith Emerson's 1971 release of Emerson, Lake and Palmer's "Pictures at an Exhibition," which I loved as a late teenager and still love, and a release of Robert Shaw's (same title), conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, which I like a lot less. It just goes to show what comes of letting a conservatory student loose in the world as a rock performer.

Like our own reviewer, above, I took it on faith that such a gate still existed or had existed, and who knows, if they are able to shuck off Russia, maybe one day they will get around to realizing this wonderful idea. But no, neither now or ever has it ever existed as other than a structure in the realms of imagination or hope.

There was a suggestion that such a gate be constructed, and a competition for its design... "to commemorate Tsar Alexander II's narrow escape from an assassination attempt on April 4, 1866 [was held]. [Mussorgsky's close friend Viktor] Hartmann regarded his design as the best work he had done. His design won the national competition but plans to build the structure were later cancelled."

So much for the Great Gate [or Hero's Gate] of Kiev... but let it play on. This effort to clear up the notational errata is a very worthwhile one.


Clef


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