Richmond Symphony Altria Masterworks Concert – Pictures at an Exhibition

M E D I A  A D V I S O R Y

February 23, 2018 – Richmond Virginia Guest conductor Danail Rachev will lead the Richmond Symphony in the Altria Masterworks concert, Pictures at an Exhibition on Saturday, March 10 at 8pm. Guest pianist, Ian Parker will be joining the Symphony on stage.  The concert will be held in the Dominion Energy Center’s Carpenter Theatre.

The program includes Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major featuring Mr. Parker, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Modest Mussorgsky wrote Pictures at an Exhibition as a tribute to his dear friend, artist Viktor Hartmann. In its original execution, Pictures at an Exhibition was a gorgeous piece meant simply for a solo pianist; it became a masterpiece after Maurice Ravel gave the piece a lush orchestration treatment, still heralding the piano as the star. The piece itself conveys the impression of walking aimlessly through an exhibition perusing works of art.

The piece musically illustrates art that was part of a memorial exhibition of over 400 Hartmann works in the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg in February and March 1874. Mussorgsky even lent two pictures Hartmann had given him to the exhibition, and viewed the show in person. Soon after Mussorgsky was inspired to compose Pictures at an Exhibition in just twenty days. Ravel’s orchestration of the work is one of the most popular pieces in all of classical music.

Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto is a piece that is meant to be lighthearted and bright. Like most of Ravel’s compositions, it avoids drama and deep emotion in lieu of a broader, more gentile experience. Written during the “Great War,” the brilliant writing of the Concerto has the ability to merge elements of the jazz movement with a strong Mozart influence. This piece showcases the piano and a brilliant pianist, while melding together sounds from the woodwind section of the orchestra to accentuate the jazzy influence.

In 1942, Benjamin Britten was commissioned by the Japanese government to write a piece to commemorate the 2,600th anniversary of the Mikado Dynasty. Though Britten felt the timing was odd, as he had just registered as a conscientious objector to the war, he agreed and decided to write something decidedly anti-war and more of a dedication to his parents than a commemoration to the great Mikado Dynasty. After receiving his Sinfonia da Requiem, the Japanese rejected the piece stating Britten had misunderstood their request; instead of creating something commemorative and suitable for national ceremonial use, he created something that felt melancholic through his use of melody. Although not for its original intent, this piece is still performed by orchestras today.

Adult tickets for Altria Masterworks performances start at $10, College student single tickets are $10, and Child tickets are free for ages 18 and under. Purchase tickets online at

The series sponsor is Altria. The guest artist sponsor is Willis Towers Watson. The media sponsor is Richmond Times-Dispatch.