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Topic: Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at an Exhibition" on acoustic guitar!

  1. #1

    Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at an Exhibition" on acoustic guitar!

    Someone was recently inquiring about the piano score and the Ravel transcription and it got me to thinking about a snippet of a recording I heard late one night on a Texas college radio station back in 1985. Some phenomenal guitarist was playing the whole of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition on a six-string classical guitar!

    After a few years of trying to track this down, I finally learned the guitarist was Kazuhito Yamash[i]ta from Japan. Unfortunately, the studio recording I heard was either out of print or unavailable in the USA. So, I kept it in the back of my mind and, once the internet came along, I searched off and on but never came up with anything.

    Well, lo and behold, there’s a home video made back in 1984 of the touring performance of this posted to YouTube within the last year. Though the live video/audio quality are not too good (some of the faster things are very muddled), I think one may yet come away fairly inspired. The technique, the passion, and the sheer variety of sound he gets out of his instrument are just amazing. By the way, this is his own transcription.

    Promenade, Gnomes, Promenade, The Old Castle (first note only ),

    Promenade, The Tuileries, Bydlo, Promenade, Ballet of the Little Chickens, Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle

    A Market Place in Limoges, Catacombs, (and then for some reason, there’s an edit back to the beginning of the second set (!) and we have Promenade, The Tuileries, Bydlo, Promenade, & Ballet of the Little Chickens again )
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= kQ5vPkQ5hug

    Con Mortuis in Lingua Mortua, The Hut of Baba-Yaga, The Great Gate at Kiev

  2. #2

    Re: Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at an Exhibition" on acoustic guitar!

    How amazing. I really enjoyed checking this out. I could see arranging "Pictures" for a small ensemble of guitars, but doing it solo is definitely ambitious. Solo classical guitarists are such masochists!

    I have a friend who is strictly a solo classical guitarist, and he seems to think that guitar duos and guitar quartets are for lazy wimps who are not sufficiently disciplined to figure out how to play complex counterpoint by themselves.

    Me, I'm just a singer. I'm constantly amazed by this level of musicianship and bravura.
    Wheat Williams
    Atlanta, Georgia, USA
    Music Copyist in Sibelius
    Apple MacBook Pro, Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion
    Apple Certified Support Professional. I also work with Windows.

  3. #3

    Re: Mussorgsky’s "Pictures at an Exhibition" on acoustic guitar!

    I have this recording, it may have been a re-release from 80's vinyl on CD along with the Firebird Suite but it is from 1999. It is indeed out of print.

    EDIT: This site truncates the URL that links to the artist because it is reading an "offensive" word--which is part of the artist's name. So if you'd like to see the link you'll have to piece this together. Part 1: http://www.thewholeguitarist.com/classical/
    Part 2: Yama(s)hita.htm
    Take the () out. Wow, that's sad.

    Slightly off topic but your post made me think about this recording by guitarists John Williams and Julian Bream of Ravel's, Pavane for A Dead Princess. Always brings a tear to my eye to hear this piece on guitar. So beautiful.

    Wheat: Coincidently, on the Williams/Bream album is a quote... Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two.
    -Frédéric Chopin-

    Tell your friend.

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