Pictures at an exhibition

transcription for percussion orchestra by Henk de Vlieger, 1981

1. Gnomus
2. Il vecchio castello

3. Tuileries
4. Bydlo
5. Ballet
6. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
7. Limoges
8. Catacombæ
    Cum mortuis in lingua mortua
9. Baba Yaga
10. The great gate of Kiev

The orchestra (16 players):

Vibraphone 1
Vibraphone 2
Xylophone 1
Xylophone 2
Marimba 1
Marimba 2
Bass marimba
Piano/celesta (1 player)
Timpani 1 (set of 5)
Timpani 2 (set of 4 and an inverted cymbal)
Percussion 1: Glockenspiel, 2 plate bells (e-flat', f'), snare drum, whip, thundersheet Percussion 2: Lithophone, 7 gongs (d-flat, e-flat, e, f, f-sharp, g, b-flat), 3 suspended cymbals, sizzle cymbal, guiro

Percussion 3: Crotales (2 octaves), low tamtam, triangle, 3 temple blocks, wind machine Percussion 4: 8 Cowbells (c-sharp', f', f-sharp', g-sharp', a', a-sharp', c", d''), 2 plate bells (a- flat, b-flat), 3 tomtoms, tambourine, vibraslap, claves, flexatone, cymbals a2
Percussion 5: Chimes, castanets, bass drum, switch, sleigh bells

First performance was given in Hilversum on Sept. 20 1981 by the Amsterdam Percussion Group and Circle Percussion, conducted by Lukas Vis.

Duration: 30'00"

Published by DONEMUS

UITNODIGING VOOR EEN CONCERT, a dvd-set, produced by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, presents 'Pictures at an exhibition' in its original version and in several arrangements. The orchestration by Maurice Ravel is performed by Valery Gergiev conducting the Rotterdam Philharmonic. Five movements from the percussion-arrangement by Henk de Vlieger (Il vecchio castello, Tuileries, Ballet, Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle, Limoges) are performed by students and teachers of the Rotterdam Conservatory (Codarts), conducted by Hans Leenders.


“[...] Het werd een in menig opzicht betoverende gewaarwording, gisteravond, waarvoor men de Rotterdamse slagwerker Henk de Vlieger dank verschuldigd is, want hij bracht het tot een arrangement vol sprookjesachtige naast beklemmende vondsten. Stampende pauken en trommen, gebeier van klokken, intieme bekoringen van marimba's en xylofoons, trefzeker toegepaste harpeffecten, - dit alles deed dikwijls de oren spitsen, met als raakste momenten de glissandi van de pedaalpauken, de zweep in 'Gnomus' en de kwetterende xylofoons in tal van onderdelen.”

Lex van Delden, Het Parool, Dec. 19, 1981

“An enormous undertaking, this transcription of Pictures at an Exhibition requires fourteen percussionists, piano, celesta and harp. Seven percussionists perform on keyboard percussion instruments (including bass marimba) and an impressive array of both melodic and non- melodic percussion make up the remainder of the group. Among the latter are seven tuned gongs, tuned bell plates, wind machine, thundersheet, lithophone and nine timpani in two sets. In all likelihood many readers are familiar with Ravel's orchestral transcription of this work. While this new transcription includes many of Ravel's ideas, it also retains much of the keyboard sense that only the original piano solo can wholly portray. As a transcription for large ensemble, listeners will undoubtedly compare it to the Ravel version. However, it would probably be to their benefit to think of the percussion transcription more as an expansion (with the additional tone colors and percussive effects) of the original. When studied under those circumstances, Mr. De Vlieger's version is certainly noteworthy: he retains the tension and release we have to come to expect with numerous sonorities available, yet maintains the keyboard as the premier melodic source. Groups with extensive instrument inventories and a large number of mature players will find this transcription a challenging and worthwhile project.”

Rich Holly, Percussive Notes, July 1986