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Pictures At An Exhibition/Nigh Hybrid SACD


Price: CDN$ 79.12
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 22 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Philips Import
  • ASIN: B000089CG9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #303,985 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
I have enjoyed this hybrid SACD very much - but I feel it has one slight flaw which prevents it from being top notch.
The stereo SACD layer is as usual a slight improvement over the normal stereo CD layer - but the surround layer really opens out the sound giving much more presence and detail.
But I was always aware of the rear speaker channels, e.g. in Bydlo from the Pictures - whereas in the finest SACDs I have heard, like Uchida's Schubert Sonata D568 and Harnoncourt's Bruckner 9, the rears were brilliantly (but subtlely) used to give a real concert-hall feel - here you feel there are VPO musicians playing behind you a bit, which isn't really realistic in my opinion.
Perhaps it's significant that despite the DSD logo on the cover, this is a PCM 24 bit recording, while the very best SACDs use pure DSD.
But don't let me put you off, this is a very vivid and enjoyable SACD.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the Hybrid SACD version of Valery Gergiev's recording of
Mussorgski's "Pictures at an Exhibition". Recorded with the
Vienna Philharmonic, instead of the Kirov Orchestra. The
performance is good, a little bit better than most, but then it
is hard to make too many mistakes with the Ravel orchestration.
All that is required is a good conductor and a good orchestra.
Gergiev and the VPO deliver good solid performances, and Phillips
delivers good sound as usual. I am only basing this on hearing
the CD portion of the disc, as I do not yet own a SACD player.
The other works are also performed well "Night on Bald Mountain"
gets a rousing performance as expected, but all the performances
sound good if a little too polished. I think I wanted a little
more risk taking on them. But all in all a good disc.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
not as good as it should be Dec 23 2004
By J. T. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
while the SACD sound is very good and 'Pictures' sounds very lively, the other recordings on this disc sound bad. even with the SACD sound, it is as though the orchestra is playing in a room down the hall from the recording devices. now, just because the sound is good on 'Pictures' doesn't mean it is a good recording. the Reiner recording with the CSO is so much better than this, it makes me wonder why anyone would produce a recording if it could not compete with the Reiner/CSO recording. i never get the feeling while listening to this new recording that the orchestra is really into the music. it almost sounds rush an unrehearsed. perhaps i am just biased, but i would rather listen to the older Reiner recording than this newer one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Another good Gergiev Release Oct. 9 2003
By Neaklaus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is the Hybrid SACD version of Valery Gergiev's recording of
Mussorgski's "Pictures at an Exhibition". Recorded with the
Vienna Philharmonic, instead of the Kirov Orchestra. The
performance is good, a little bit better than most, but then it
is hard to make too many mistakes with the Ravel orchestration.
All that is required is a good conductor and a good orchestra.
Gergiev and the VPO deliver good solid performances, and Phillips
delivers good sound as usual. I am only basing this on hearing
the CD portion of the disc, as I do not yet own a SACD player.
The other works are also performed well "Night on Bald Mountain"
gets a rousing performance as expected, but all the performances
sound good if a little too polished. I think I wanted a little
more risk taking on them. But all in all a good disc.
Minus a star for the interpretation and another for the sound; otherwise, pretty good June 11 2015
By John J. Puccio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Every conductor interprets Mussorgsky's work differently, giving us his or her own personal take on the paintings, adding nuances of phrasing, rubato, contrast, dynamics, etc., to recreate as vivid a picture as possible of each painting. How well you like Gergiev's approach may depend upon how you view the pictures yourself from past experience. Among my own favorite recordings of the music are those by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Symphony (RCA and JVC) and Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra (EMI), but everybody surely has a preferred account with which to compare any other. For me, Gergiev's various pictures hold up well enough interpretively, if not quite so vividly as my own favorites.

The single most important quality for any recording of Pictures is that the conductor makes sure every movement, every "portrait," sounds expressively developed and subtly shaded enough to bring to life the subject of the painting. In this regard, Gergiev is reasonably successful. Just don't expect the usual pyrotechnics from the piece; Gergiev prefers in this reading to evoke a big, earthy, yet still refined set of tonal images.

Like his other recordings of the piece, Gergiev takes the "Promenades" at a fairly leisurely pace as the viewer (or whoever) strolls about the exhibition gallery; and most of the individual sections are picturesque enough if not always particularly creative. In other words, everything is neat and tidy, but there is not always that extra spark in every piece. Fortunately, Gergiev has the wonderful Vienna Philharmonic to bring the music to life, and they come through splendidly.

I liked the eeriness of "Il vecchio castello" and the fun in the "Ballet of the Chicks, although I still missed the sense of character contributed by a conductor like Fritz Reiner (RCA). Likewise, Gergiev's "Baba Yaga" and "Great Gate of Kiev," while still meaningful, seem to lack much of the kick that a conductor like Riccardo Muti (EMI) put into them. Well, you see what I mean; Gergiev's recording is fine but not among my favorites.

Philips recorded the music live in the Musikverein, Vienna, April, 2000, and released it on both a regular stereo CD and a hybrid multichannel SACD; I listened to the regular stereo CD. As far as the sound goes, it's good without being absolutely topflight, perhaps the live recording being a part of the problem. Things appear dynamic enough, to be sure, well balanced, very slightly veiled, and, thankfully, quiet. Yet there is a lack of truly deep bass that tends to rob a few movements in Pictures of their power and eloquence. The "Catacombs" segment, for example, really needs that low bass underpinning, as do the final two movements, "Baba Yaga" and "Great Gate of Kiev"; and it is here that both the Reiner and Muti discs again sweep the field.

So, the recording remains a slightly mixed bag for me. I expected Gergiev to be outgoing, red-blooded, but I found him a bit more conservative than I would have liked. Still, these are minor quibbles, I suppose, for folks looking for a serviceable digital recording of the Pictures, with three good, spirited couplings in A Night on the Bare Mountain, the Prelude to Khovanshchina, and the Gopak from Sorochintsy Fair to boot. Come to think of it, the couplings may be better interpreteted than the star attraction.

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor
Good SACD surround - but too much from the rears? April 17 2004
By Alexander Leach - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I have enjoyed this hybrid SACD very much - but I feel it has one slight flaw which prevents it from being top notch.
The stereo SACD layer is as usual a slight improvement over the normal stereo CD layer - but the surround layer really opens out the sound giving much more presence and detail.
But I was always aware of the rear speaker channels, e.g. in Bydlo from the Pictures - whereas in the finest SACDs I have heard, like Uchida's Schubert Sonata D568 and Harnoncourt's Bruckner 9, the rears were brilliantly (but subtlely) used to give a real concert-hall feel - here you feel there are VPO musicians playing behind you a bit, which isn't really realistic in my opinion.
Perhaps it's significant that despite the DSD logo on the cover, this is a PCM 24 bit recording, while the very best SACDs use pure DSD.
But don't let me put you off, this is a very vivid and enjoyable SACD.
Sergei and VPO, a great combination! Oct. 14 2014
By REK3283 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I really like Sergei. I love the VPO. I prefer SACD without surround for classical. fortunately my SACD players let me turn off surround without having to fiddle with the other components.

I have so many renditions of "Pictures" that I was somewhat reluctant to buy another one. But the price was so great and like I said I really like Sergei and the VPO. Terrific rendition of pictures. A real "toe-tapper" (or phantom conducting)!


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