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10 Reviews
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By far the best recording!, 27 Oct 2011
This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
In my opinon the unbeatable team of Maestro Reiner and CSO is one of the best musical collaborations of all time. Sure, he was a feared and tough conductor but listen to the music they created together! Living Stereo CD's is outstanding with their astonishing sound quality and surpasses almost everything else, recorded before or after this golden era of the late fifties and early sixties. This CD with the Russian master composers at their best is superb. Reiner and CSO gives us the definitive recorded versions of these masterpieces and the precision and dynamics of the CSO is stunning and breathtaking!
Just listen to "Marche Slave" and you see what I mean.
My hat's off to the often unsung heroes in the percussion section and remember Dr Reiner himself started out as a percussionist! This is a must have for every serious music lover and is on top of my Top Ten-list!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most outstanding issues in this remastered series, 24 Mar 2013
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
This disc is one of the best examples of the quality of performance achieved by Reiner and the CSO. It always sounded pretty good but in the new remastered form it sounds as spectacular as the interpretations and performances. The recordings were made in 1957 and 1959 and do not betray their age to any significant extent.

The Mussorgsky Pictures receive a performance of vividness appropriate to the subject matter. This has long been a favourite interpretation for me and has withstood comparison from many other fine interpretations and performances from the likes of Szell/Cleveland through to Gergiev/VPO with many in between. What makes this disc far more enticing than any other that I am aware of are the six additional Russian items all of which receive performances of total brilliance coupled with style and panache.

The Night on the Bare (Bald) Mountain is the most exciting performance I have ever heard building to orgasmic frenzy up to the advent of dawn. The Marche Slave has swagger to match the famous Alwyn/LSO performance from the same era and conversely, the March Miniature could not be more delicate. Borodin's Polovtsian March is perfectly done and the Russlan and Lumilla overture has a brilliance to outshine even the Solti/LSO combination from the mid 60's. The Colas Breugnon is simply a joy which would defy anyone not to smile in pleasure at the melodic and rhythmical high jinks of the piece.

I would suggest that this almost priceless collection deserves special consideration on any short-list of attractive recordings for anyone even remotely interested in the program. For those interested in upgrading to this remastered disc - they can go ahead safely and without doubts that it might be worthwhile.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious collectors, besides myself, who wait for your synopsis and opinion before spending their hard-earned money on new releases...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pictures at an Exhibition, 5 Dec 2010
By 
J. A. Purches "The Prof" (Worthing UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
This recording of Pictures at an exhibition blew me away. A must have for SA-CD fans and great even on CD quality. The 3 channel recording made in the 1950s is extremely well made, easily surpassing modern digital audio standards. The sound quality is breath taking, bass response is all there and weighty, and the 3 channel stereo works a treat. One should be reminded that 3 channel stereo was invented before 2 channel, but the technology to bring it to the mass market only came along with SA-CD. And it works beautifully. Highly recommended and a stellar performance too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An established classic, 2 Mar 2014
This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
I was lucky that these were the first recordings of these works that I came to know through a bargain LP reissue for I soon discovered that these performances were a hard act to follow. Later when I purchased the cd versions I already had the outstanding digital Solti Chicago version of Pictures and the Telarc Maazel Cleveland account of both the works here.

The old Reiner performance holds up well in terms of imaginative characterisation, sheer orchestral bravura, and vividness of the sound picture and remains one of my favourite recordings of this coupling, easily surpassing many more modern recordings both in terms of performance and sound.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chicago SO and Reiner at their best, 18 July 2014
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This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
There are many recordings of the orchestral version of "Pictures" currently available. But, the present version by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Reiner, I think, is one of the best in terms of virtuosic playing and the recording quality.

Different moods that each picture evokes are marvellously brought out by the Chicago SO in this recording. The twelfth piece ("Catacombae") and the thirteenth ("Con mortuis in lingua mortua" / With the Dead in a Dead Language) appear to me to be the core of the work; the mood they evoke is introspective and melancholic as if the composer communes with the soul of the recently-passed architect friend Hartmann. The last piece ("The Great Gate at Kiev"), using large bells, sounds spectacular as if it is Russian Orthodox church music.

My favourite recording has been that by the Berlin Phil and Abbado. But, the present Chicago version is at least as good, if not better.

Other pieces on the disc, including Ruslan and Ludmilla Overture, have a tremendous verve.

Recorded in 1957/59, the disc certainly belies its age, with a transparent and clear sound. Re-issued as part of the "Living Stereo" series, this hybrid SACD - available at such a low price - is worth acquiring at any price.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reiner's Vivid Performances, 23 Nov 2008
By 
Scriabinmahler (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
These performances of Russian orchestral works are not the finest by Reiner, but still sounds so fresh and vivid. A welcome reissue on SACD which makes this classic recoring sound even more eloquent and thrilling! Check out also the hugely underrated and deeply moving recording of Reiner conducts Tchaikovsky.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Historic original three channel recording now available on sacd., 14 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
This recording is a revelation for owners of 5.1 speaker equipment linked to blu ray or other suitable play back equipment. Originally issued as stereo vinyl recordings mixed down from three separate microphones, sacd permits the three channels to be directed to left, right and centre speakers, with the listeners ear blending the sound rather than a recording engineer. As playback technology advanced through stereo tape, cassette, CD, etc these were considered as good stereo recordings but can now be reproduced as a closer reflection of the original recording.
The selection of works consists of various orchestral show pieces. I have knocked off one star, as a matter of taste, because while I enjoy the flashy show pieces, I find greater and deeper enjoyment in some other sacd recordings which feature more serious classical works, different conductors, and different orchestras. That is a matter of musical taste but I recommend any music lover who has limited access to live concerts to buy a good 5.1 speaker set and explore the the fairly wide range of sacd recordings now available, mostly at reasonable prices. Some sacd recordings are becoming rare and are commanding ratified prices. With luck, greater demand for sacd recordings will encourage more supply and correct pricing anomalies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Reiner's Russian Showpieces, 15 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
This is a wonderful CD (hybrid SACD actually) of two LPs recorded in 1957 & 1959 of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fritz Reiner. Stand out items for me are Pictures at an Exhibition (1957), Marche Slave & Russlan & Ludmilla Overture (both 1959). The orchestral playing is thrilling & Reiner's control of proceedings is extraordinary. My 71 year old ears found the 50+ year old sound pretty clear with a believable concert hall ambience. The sound is definitely in your face but in my opinion entirely appropriate for the material. I was going to deduct one star for the packaging from which the Fort Knox management might learn a thing or two but the music soon made me forget the few minutes I spent breaking into the CD jewel case.
PS Be aware that the mp3 download contains less than half of the album, ie only Pictures at an Exhibition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 5 Star performance, 7 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
These performances show real spirit and verve and the recording quality can show a clean pair of heels to a lot of more modern recordings for scale and depth. A must have in anyone's collection!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and great piece of music, 27 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (Audio CD)
Two Living Stereo LP's released on one cd, the clarity and presence are brilliant. This recording is by Chicago symphony Orchestra done in 1957 and 1959 I am very impressed by it. Go get it and other Living Stereo cd's.
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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition by Fritz Reiner (Audio CD - 2004)
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