The drawing that inspired this movement was a sketch of Hartmann himself exploring the Catacombs in Paris by the light of a lantern. The Catacombs are a real set of tunnels and mazes underneath Paris. One particular section of the Catacombs which is open to the public, is a very old cemetery which contains thousands of skulls and bones from ancient Parisians. Read more about the Catacombs:
Here is a video tour of the Catacombs:
Listen to/watch the movement Catacombs. What instruments do you see/hear playing? Which instruments DON’T you see/hear playing? How does the choice of instruments affect the mood of the music? Is the music low or high? Fast or slow? Light or dark? Can you pick out specific moments as you listen that sound more dark or more light? Can you describe the mood of the music? How does the mood of the music relate to how you might feel if you were exploring the Catacombs? How do you think it relates to how Mussorgsky felt imagining his friend Hartmann exploring the Catacombs?
Brainstorm your picture as you listen to the music. Are the catacombs light or dark? What do you see in the tunnels? Are the passageways wide or narrow? Are the ceilings high or low? Are there people around or is it empty? What is the texture of the walls? Is there a lot of colour or is it monochromatic?