The project is based on an original idea of Vasily Kandinsky, who with the help of the Bauhaus and the Municipal Theatre of Dessau, conducted a scenic representation of the work Pictures at an exhibition by Mussorgsky, through sixteen paintings. On stage, Mikhail Rudy, one of the great names in piano now; next to the piano, the paintings by Kandinsky to represent what Mussorgsky’s music inspired him.
It was not until 1928 that Kandinsky was able to achieve his project of a ‘total art’ performance with the help of the Bauhaus and Dessau Municipal Theatre, allowing him to stage the piano version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.
During the compositional process (1874), Modest Mussorgsky drew inspiration from paintings by his friend Viktor Hartmann. According to Kandinsky, the work was not an exemplar of programme music but rather a reflection of Mussorgsky’s artistic and human experiences set within a pure musical form.
Consequently, Kandinsky wanted to transpose his own emotions as a listener in his own performance based around the sixteen paintings. His scenography incorporated a series of animated paintings made up of geometrical forms, colours, lines and colourful lights, working seamlessly and in perfect harmony with the musical score.
The Cité de la Musique’s project
Kandinsky’s drawings and theatrical indications have been saved, as well as the detailed annotations on the scores made by Felix Klee, brother to Paul Klee and assistant to Kandinsky. These documents belonging to the Centre Pompidou in Paris will form the foundation for the collaborative project between the Cité de la Musique and Mikhail Rudy.
The programme will conclude with the complete piano version of Stravinsky’s Petrouchka to celebrate the centenary of its creation. The virtuosity of the work is reflected in the piano transcription by Igor Stravinsky and Mikhail Rudy.