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Feb 6 08 1:47 AM

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\many thanks Adam and Robert - what amazing stuff you can find after all these years - even a picture!
Makes the roll seem really special. Is the original inscription in French _ I'm afraid I can't tell.

On a totally different subject - does anyone know why I have never seen or heard of any rolls of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition? With so much of the mainstream classical repertoire available (if you're patient), I'm surprised they don't turn up now and again - was it less popular then, or mainly known in an orchestral transcription?
Perhaps a candidate for Julians machine?
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#1 [url]

Feb 1 08 8:55 PM

Many thanks Robert for turning up this very interesting piece of Morsztyn memorabilia. As the internet expands more and more stuff piles in there. I always make a point of revisiting old searches (which in previous years turned up very little or nothing) as in subsequent years as more libraries etc add material more stuff like this comes out of the woodwork. A few years ago I seriously began to think we'd unearthed everything there was to unearth but these days it's a certaintly there's an exponential amoutn of stuff coming to light every new year.

As to "Pictures at an Exhibition" whilst it is a well-regarded solo work it is fair to say that it was not a particularly widely played piece of music in its day - I'm sure it's on roll and I'm sure I've seen it surface but it's predictably scarce. It's present popularity is solely down to the Ravel orchestration of the work.

As to a new set of the entire "Pictures" - simply find a few people who will club together and all want a set in order to make the project a viable one and off we go!



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#2 [url]

Feb 2 08 7:35 PM

The Autograph Metrostyle series is interesting and always nice to turn up. Not particularly common, especially in 88-note form. Of coure, the roll's just an ordinary Themodist roll with a (slightly different) wiggly red line on it. The facsimile writing is often convincing enough that sellers say the rolls are signed in person, but don't be fooled!

Mussorgky's 'Pictures' as originally published in piano solo form is not commonly played. It was error-ridden and hacked-about in its 1880s printing, apparently, and a corrected form only came out in 1931 - for which gems of information I thank Wikipedia. Hence the number of dolled up versions, whether by Ravel for orchestra (1922) or by Horowitz for piano (1946). This probably explains its rarity on roll, although Prokofieff recorded two bits (Promenade & An Old Castle) on Duo-Art, available in the BluesTone reissue catalogue.

There are MIDI files available for the whole of 'Pictures', which would give a good start should anybody want them cutting. They'd need correction (probably) and generally fettling for roll (e.g. putting in theme accenting to make them musically efective on a player).

There is a smattering of other Mussorgsky on roll: chunks of Boris Godunov turn up from time to time, and recently I found roll 2 of a selection from Khovanshchina, an early Themodist 88-note roll that I don't recall having come across before - rather well arranged for piano, as well. Like many rolls issued just before WW1 it probably didn't stay in the cataloge very long.


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#3 [url]

Feb 3 08 11:33 PM

Thanks Julian
The Metrostyle facsimile writing is certainly convincing - took me in for a few seconds until I saw there was a bit missing! Comtesse Helens wiggly line is actually surprisingly unwiggly.

I would love a set of 'Pictures' - I guess it would take at least 3 large rolls - perhaps one of the the more popular bits would be a good starting point (Great Gates of Kiev?)- anyone else out there interested?


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