Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Songs and Dances of Death; A Night on the Bare Mountain

Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition; Songs and Dances of Death; A Night on the Bare Mountain

by Chicago Symphony Orchestra



An all-Mussorgsky album performed by the great Chicago Symphony Orchestra might seem to be a winner, even irresistible at a budget price. However, this 2004 compilation on Universal Classics is a mixed-bag, variable in arrangements, interpretations, and sound quality. "Pictures at an Exhibition," in Ravel's brilliant orchestration, is the biggest disappointment here, though not through any fault of the conductor or the orchestra. Carlo Maria Giulini's interpretation is imaginative and exciting, and the CSO is in fine form throughout. But the recording is deficient in depth and color; the digital transfer seems to have reduced some of the analog's warmth by emphasizing higher sonorities at the expense of a full bass. "Songs & Dances of Death," performed by bass Sergei Alexashkin and directed by Sir Georg Solti, is a digital recording from 1997, and is perhaps the most satisfying selection for the dramatic singing, tempered orchestral accompaniment, and clear sound. Shostakovich's somber arrangement, though, contrasts starkly with Ravel's bright score, and seems especially grim following it. Daniel Barenboim's routine rendition of "A Night on the Bare Mountain," in Rimsky-Korsakov's standard version, is perhaps the most predictable offering, and is only remarkable for its sound quality, which is quite good for ADD.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/10/2004
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028947621447
catalogNumber: 000291402


  1. Pictures at an Exhibition (Kartinki s vïstavski), for orchestra, orchestrated by Ravel  - Modest Mussorgsky  - Carlo Maria Giulini  - Penny Bennett  -  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  - Joseph Szurly
  2. Songs & Dances of Death (Pesni y plyaski smerti; 4), song cycle for voice & orchestra, orchestration by Shostakovich  - Modest Mussorgsky  - Sergey Aleksashkin  - Penny Bennett  -  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  - Arseni Golenishchev-Kutuzov  - Georg Solti  - Joseph Szurly
  3. Sorochintsï Fair: Dream of the Peasant Gritsko (Night on Bald Mountain), for chorus & orchestra  - Modest Mussorgsky  - Daniel Barenboim  - Penny Bennett  -  Chicago Symphony Orchestra  - Joseph Szurly

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