Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra celebrate Mussorgsky with the release of two of his most cherished works, Pictures at an Exhibition and Night on Bare Mountain (performed here in Mussorgsky's original version).
Gergiev is at his finest conducting these paragons of Mussorgsky's work, featured alongside which are the seldom heard Songs and Dances of Death, composed during the years 1875 to 1877 and left languishing unpublished during the composer's lifetime. One of Mussorgsky's most powerful compositions, each song deals with death in a poetic manner reflecting experiences not uncommon in 19th century Russia: child death, death in youth, drunken misadventure and war.
Hybrid SACD - DSD
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It is not often that I hear a recording of the orchestral version of “Pictures at an Exhibition” that makes me sit back and go “WOW”, but this SACD does just that. The dynamic range that Mr. Gergiev and the Marinsky orchestra explore is stunning and gives great depth to the performance as a whole. This is breathtakingly evident in the “Il vecchio castello” movement (track 4) – the saxophone is breathy and warm, and the mood is captivating. The horn work in track 7, “Bydlo”, is as strong and evocative as the strings and particularly the bass section – glorious. And the “Ballet des poussins dans leurs coques” (track 9) is delightfully done, making this listener grin. Track 13, “Cum mortuis in lingua mortua” is dark and gloomy, and extremely well-defined, with every nuance captured faithfully. And the closing “La grande porte de kiev” is everything you would expect it to be. Start to...
You already know that the Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky (1839-1881) wrote Pictures at an Exhibition in 1874 originally as a piano suite. He called his little collection of tone poems "sound pictures," but they didn't catch on too well with the public until years later when several different people orchestrated the suite, the most famous and most often recorded arrangement being the 1922 version we have here by French composer Maurice Ravel. Mussorgsky based the movements of the suite on his musical impressions of paintings by his friend, the artist and architect Viktor Hartmann. The idea is that someone (the composer? the conductor? the listener?) is wandering through a picture gallery viewing the paintings, which the composer recreates in music, going so far as to give us a musical number, a Promenade, to accompany our stroll from time to time.
Each conductor who approaches the music gives us his or her take on the paintings, adding nuances of phrasing,...
Not as exciting as the VPO Gergiev Pictures on Philips, not many other excellent recordings (Reiner, Solti, Giulini, all with the CSO, to begin with). This is a well captured, less exciting interpretation that Gergiev's earlier effort, though it is beautifully played and recorded. For Gergiev fans.
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