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“Pictures at an Exhibition: The Great Gate of Kiev (Kyiv),” by Modest Mussorgsky
Sketch of a gate in Kiev one of the Pictures at an Exhibition by Viktor Aleksandrovich Gartman (Hartman)

Not so long ago

Not so long ago, we explored the music of Russia. Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) was the leader of The Five. The Five were composers who attempted to write music that was distinctly Russian. Mussorgsky had befriended architect and artist Viktor Hartmann who died of an aneurysm when he was 39. It was a shock for Mussorgsky. According to critic Vladimir Stasov, Viktor Hartmann gave two pictures to Mussorgsky, one of which was a sketch of the “Great Gate of Kiev.” The two pictures inspired Modest Mussorgsky, who composed Pictures at an Exhibition, a suite of ten pieces for the piano divided by promenades and written in 1874. The tenth and final piece of the suite is based on Hartmann’s the “Great Gate of Kiev.” (Kiev is Kyiv)

Pictures at an Exhibition is Modest Mussorgsky’s most famous composition. We seldom hear the piano suite because it must be performed by a virtuoso pianist. Remember that the ringing of bells is a characteristic of the music of Russia and Ukraine. 

Vladimir Stasov’s portrait by Ilya Repin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Saint Petersburg governor at the Kremlin (Image: SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)

Hartmann’s Kyiv is now being destroyed by Vladimir Putin; I cannot believe what I am seeing. This is madness on the part of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and if I could close the sky over Ukraine, I would. Vladimir Putin is the architect of this massacre. The flying zone is an open gate because Ukraine is not a member of NATO, which, ironically, gives Putin the freedom to destroy a country. As for the United States, it is burying Manifest Destiny

It could be that Putin remembers times that will never return. Russia was once so large that it was called “toutes les Russies,” all the Russias.  

At what cost will Ukraine survive this insane invasion? 


Victor Hartmann & Modest Mussorgsky (8 September 2012)
(a page will soon be available)

Love to everyone 💕

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a concert marking the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea
(Image: Getty Images)

© Micheline Walker
21 March 2022