Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (CD)

Deutsche Grammophon
Current Stock:
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Carlo Maria Giulini

“This is a larger-than-life reading of Pictures, which underplays the subtleties of colouring introduced by Ravel in favour of more earthily Russian flavours. The coupling is an all- Mussorgsky one, surprisingly rare in the many versions of this work.This live account brings some superb playing, with fast, brilliant movements dazzlingly well played, and with the speed bringing an edge-ofseat feeling from perils just avoided, something not usually conveyed in a studio performance.The opening 'Promenade', taken squarely, establishes the monumental Russian quality, enhanced by the immediacy of the sound. Even the 'Hut on Fowl's Legs' seems larger than life, and the performance culminates in an account of the 'Great Gate of Kiev' shattering in its weight and thrust.That and the all-Mussorgsky coupling establish a clear place for this new issue in an overstocked market, even though the coupling isn't generous. The regular Rimsky version of Nighton the Bare Mountain, though not recorded live, brings a performance to compare in power with Pictures, with very weighty brass, while Shostakovich's orchestration of the Khovanshchina Prelude, though less evocative than it can be, is warm and refined, with the Gopak added as a lively encore.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide