Yamashita: Pictures at an Exhibition: Preface

Yamashita's arrangement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition
Yamashita's arrangement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition

From the Preface:

"The guitar is a wonderful instrument. There are infinite possibilities in its expression. I am very lucky to have found such a rich instrument and put my heart into creating music with it.

The excellence of the guitar has been mentioned since old times, but it was rapidly proven by great artists who appeared in this century such as maestro Andres Segovia.

Moreover, its world is still expanding: the music played on the guitar extends from Renaissance to the present age, and the value of the guitar is recognized little by little in the fields of solos, concertos, chamber music, ensembles and accompaniments.

The problem of limited repertoire is gradually being solved by the works of modern composers and excellent arrangements. The art of performance also extends its possibilities. Furthermore, the works include not only small ones, but large pieces are appearing as well. And it seems that the guitar is going to occupy an important place also in classical music.

Under such circumstance, I have always sought, from childhood, possibilities of more large - scale expression than that which exists. I employed the manner of dynamic and symphonic expression, and tried many other ways in order to give a performance filled with a modern sense and to play longer pieces on the guitar, this most expressive solo instrument.

Consequently, I strongly desire now to create the music more closely approaching the essence of art.

Yamashita's arrangement of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition

From these thoughts, an idea was born: to play on the guitar, for the first time ever, the whole of "Pictures at an Exhibition", a representative piano work of M.P. Mussorgsky, a great Russian composer.

This idea occured to me the spring before last. Then, I decided to challenge first by myself a real guitar arrangement of Mussorgsky's work, which took enormous effort. Through this very fascinating music, I wanted to realize my childhood wish. Certainly, I met with various problems beyond expression caused by my inexperience.

Since the decision to publish was very difficult for me, I followed the precious advice of my father, my most familiar teacher, and Prof. Kojiro Kobune, composer and conductor. Afterwards, with the help of the persons concerned, many recitals were held, plus recordings and my first publication. I express here my gratitude for their kindness.

June, 1981 Kazuhito Yamashita

Notable Features

My notes

The notable features of this transcription would fill several books, the mastery of them would constitute an advanced degree in guitar playing.

Yamashita premieres 'Pictures at an Exhibition', Toronto 1984