Preludes to Pictures

Inspired by the 100th anniversary of the death of Aleksandr Skryabin in 2015, Anthony Hewitt recorded the complete ninety preludes for Champs Hill Records. Here he brings to the concert platform a selection of his favourites encompassing the entire spectrum of Skryabin's style, from the Chopinesque and impressionistic early period to the harsh atonality of those he wrote before his unexpected death from septicemia.

Rachmaninov very much took over the mantle from Skryabin, the latter in his heyday considered the composer to emulate. Today, Rachmaninov by far eclipses Skryabin in popularity, but it was ironically through performing Skryabin's works after his premature death that Rachmaninov shot to fame.

Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ also came to be known after the death of a friend. This masterpiece of colourisation and sonority was inspired by paintings by his friend Viktor Hartmann, after mutual friend and critic Vladimir Stasov had helped curate an exhibition of Hartmann’s works after the painter’s premature death.

Especially commissioned for this project, artist Klara Smith has drawn ten contemporary takes on each scene/movement in the form of exquisite paper cutouts. These wonderful works of art have been converted to digital format and unique animated tours are displayed during the musical performance.

*There is the option to exhibit Klara Smith's Pictures at an Exhibition, and for a narration of Vladimir Stasov's description of Hartmann's Pictures.