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Pictures At An Exhibition/Bori

Modeste Mussorgsky Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 35.95
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1. I. Promenade: Allegro Giusto Nel Modo Russo
2. II. Gnomus: Allegro Vivo
3. III. Promenade: Un Poco Largo
4. IV. The Old Castle: Andante Molto Cantabile E Con Dolore
5. V. Bydlo: Sempre Moderato, Pesante
6. VI. Promenade: Tranquillo
7. VII. Ballet Of The Unhatched Chicks: Allegretto Scherzando
8. VIII. Samuel Goldenberg And Schmuyle: Andante - Grave - Energico - Pomposo
9. IX. Catacombae: Sepulcrum Romanum: Largo
10. Con Mortuis In Lingua Mortua: Andante Non Troppo, Con Lamento
11. X. The Hut On Chicken's Legs: Allegro Feroce
12. XI. The Great Gate Of Kiev: Maestoso
13. I. Outside The Novodievichi Monastery - The Poeple Ask Boris For Protection - Pilgrims Are Heard Singing In The Distance - They Come Closer And Enter The Monastery
14. II. Coronation Of Boris
15. III. Monks Chanting In The Monastery Of Choudov
16. IV. Siege Of Kazan
17. V. Outside The Church Of Saint Basil - The Idiot Foretells The Fate Of Russia - The Starving Crowd Asks Boris For Bread
18. VI. Death Of Boris
19. Entr'acte
20. Witches Sabbath

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5.0 out of 5 stars More Mussorgsky Than You Might Think April 14 2004
By NNNNN
Format:Audio CD
For many years critics tended to turn up their noses at Stokowski's various transcriptions but audiences have always felt differently. Stokowski's showmanship blinded many as to how good a musician he was. Like Shostakovich Stokowski viewed Mussorgsky as the most imaginative and innovative of the late 19 Century Russian composers. We know Mussorgsky mostly through Rimsky-Korsakov's reorchestrations or Ravel's transcription of Pictures. What Stokowski did in his transcriptions and orchestrations was to try and get closer to Mussorgsky's style. Many forget that in the 1920's he was already performing "Boris
Godunov" in essentially the orignal version decades before anyone else.
In making his "synthesis" of Godunov he worked from the Mussorgsky original and not the Rimsky-Korsakov. The raw power of the score and its essential Russian flavor are fully brought out in Stokowski's arrangement. Stokowski decided to do his orchestration of "Pictures At An Exhibition" because he felt Ravel's was too French and he wanted a more Russian sound. He certainly got that. He also eliminated Tuileris and The Market-Place At Limoges again because he felt they were too French and not Russian. There might possibly be another reason. At the time these orchestrations were made in the 1920's some scholars felt (wrongly it turns out) that those 2 movements had been composed by Rimsky-Korsalov. The Prelude to Act IV of
"Khovanschina" comes off as a grim dark drama while "The Night On Bare Mountain" is a colorful romp.
One might find the association of composer/conductor Oliver Knussen with Stokowski to be odd but not so. In his youth Stokowski was a close family friend and he attended many of his rehearsals.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars The disc will either convert you or send you packing Nov. 13 2013
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
This disc of Stokowski's orchestral transcriptions of several Mussorgsky works will either convert you or send you packing.

Stokowski made his version of Pictures at an Exhibition in 1939, more than a decade and a half after Ravel did his familiar reworking. My first and lasting impression of Stokowski's version was one of greater fluency, greater poetry, and greater romanticism than the Ravel orchestration. Stokowski utilizes a lot more lush strings, which leads to much of this feeling. However, on most recordings it's hard to tell how much of this effect is the result of Stokowski's orchestration, or, in the case of this recording, the result of the Cleveland Orchestra and Maestro Oliver Knussen.

Anyway, the combination of Stokowski, the Cleveland players, Maestro Knussen, and the DG engineers provides us with an ultrasmooth, ultrasophisticated Pictures, much different from the Ravel arrangements I've gotten used to from the likes of Reiner (RCA), Muti (EMI), Maazel (Telarc), and Ansermet (Decca). In the process of refining the score, Stokowski and company render it less volatile, less explosive, and, well, less colorful. In fact, much of the color seems washed out of the work compared to the aforementioned renditions. However, the listener might find "The Hut on Fowl's Legs" fascinating for its herky-jerky dynamism, and certainly "The Great Gate of Kiev" comes across with a splendid grandeur.

More interesting for me was the shorter Entr'acte to Khovanshchina, which is direct, to the point, and incisive. Maybe it's too short, though, for its own good. Knussen handles the other works, Night on Bare Mountain and the Boris Godunov Symphonic Synthesis quite well, too, although I doubt many potential buyers are looking just for these things.

I also wonder how much the DG engineers are responsible for the music's smoothness, to the extent of having little apparent bite. The sound is so polished and comfortable and so multi-miked, one is in danger of calling it mood music. Yet the sound does not lack a deep bass or a strong dynamic impact. Curious. I think some listeners will respond to it quite favorably, especially if they have become tired of listening to the hard, shrill, bright sound found on some CDs. I didn't find DG's sound at all objectionable; I just didn't find it particularly natural or realistic.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good disc March 3 2013
By Richard` Rodrick - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Always preferred the Stokowski orchestional version of this piece compared to the Ravel interpretation which to my ears is sort of drab and lifeless, this verisoni is much more invigorating.
4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific performances Nov. 1 2005
By Music fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Don't bother with the new Naxos or an older BBC recording of these works. This easily beats them in all aspects: orchestra, conductor, etc. The others don't come close.
5 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rarely heard arrangements given polished performances Jan. 8 2007
By Aaron A. Pisula - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Often times the music listener/concertgoer becomes acquainted with certain pieces that are kind of "backbones" of the repertoire in that they are performed often and are audience favorites. Such is the case with Pictures. However, it did not achieve the fame it rightfully deserved until Ravel was commissioned to orchestrate the work, originially written for piano. Herein lies yet another orchestration often overlooked. It is quite a different take on ravel's famous version, using the resources of a very large orchestra and often sounding more dark and "russian" in nature than Ravel's French-influenced arrangement. Stokowski saught out to give these pieces the Russian flare he thought they deserve. This recording is a marvel both for its clear, sonic sound, and perfected playing of the Cleveland members. If you like bold, dark, amazingly clear orchestral sound, try to make this recording a part of your collection.
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