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Mussorgsky (transc.: Stokowski): Pictures at an Exhibition/Boris Godounov Synthesis etc
 
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Mussorgsky (transc.: Stokowski): Pictures at an Exhibition/Boris Godounov Synthesis etc

8 Mar. 2004 | Format: MP3

£7.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 10 Feb. 2004
  • Release Date: 8 Mar. 2004
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • Copyright: (C) 2004 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:04:47
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001N5FJD4
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 345,024 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr Colin H Harnett on 16 May 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As one who finds Stokowski's orchestrations of Bach as uninspired and boring, I approached this CD of his arrangements of Mussorgsky's best known works with trepidation. I am glad to say that I was pleasantly surprised. What Stokowski has tended to do here is take existing orchestrations - by Ravel or by Rimsky-Korsakov - and make his own arrangements. This bring out new meanings to the music and, in the case of "Pictures", emphasise the "Russianness" of the music.
Stokowski's arrangement of "Pictures" omits some of the movements that Ravel uses (such as "Tuileries") and beefs up others such as the Great Gate of Kiev to produce a sound spectacle. It is good to hear the music played with such commitment and energy by the Cleveland Orchestra under Oliver Knussen.
The suite based on Boris Godunov is a coherent introduction to this magnificent opera and the extract from Kovanshchina is powerfully performed.
The Night on the Bare Mountain is the arrangement used in "Fantasia" and is most obviously a re-arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestration. The conclusion - which is Stokowski's own - is a short chorale which brings the symphonic poem to a thunderous conclusion.
Not for the faint-hearted but with sumptuous sound and excellent performances, this is music to wallow in for sheer enjoyment. There are very good programme notes, including some interesting insights - with illustrations - of how Stokowski set about his task.
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By Andrew on 5 Sept. 2007
Format: Audio CD
I bought this as a newcomer to Stokowski, but a big fan of Pictures at an Exhibition and initially was impressed with the early parts, The Old Castle being particularly entrancing. Unfortunately, Stokowski's decision to jettison Tuileries and The Market-place at Limoges for being "too french" (surprising that a piece about a French city should sound French!) leaves the work uneven, without the lightness to counterbalance the gloom of other pieces. In addition, Stokowski's (or Knussen, the conductor's) decision to speed up Bydlo is bizzare, an Ox-cart moving as fast as a race-horse!

The other works included are very well arranged, though my familiarity with them is not so great. The version of Night on Bare Mountain is recommended, being very quiet and very loud to good effect. The arrangement borrows from and improves upon Rimsky's attempt.

I would not recommend this version of Pictures at an Exhibition to a newcomer, and suggest that fans looking for something unusual look no further than one of the solo piano versions.
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By Bill Glen on 3 Mar. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
These performances of Stokowski arrangements make for a truly fascinating disc, with outstanding vivid sound to match these brilliantly conducted and played accounts. A fabulous disc on all counts.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By purrdey on 18 July 2004
Format: Audio CD
Unlike Mr Harnett I am a MAJOR fan of Stokowski transcriptions and own a number of these on CD. I bought this CD on the strength of a rave review in the Times. What a bummer! After I'd listened to it, I played my old version (and I DO mean old): Telarc CD-80042 Maazel/Cleveland Orchestra.
This completely blows the Knussen away such that I won't be hanging on to the Knussen, even as a comparative listen.
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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
The disc will either convert you or send you packing 14 Nov. 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.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good disc 3 Mar. 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.
Five Stars 26 Aug. 2014
By Xierra - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A fantstic orchestration by Stokowski, and billiant splendid performance by Cleveland Orchestra.
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Terrific performances 2 Nov. 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.
7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Rarely heard arrangements given polished performances 8 Jan. 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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