19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Any progressive rock fan should add this to their collection,
By A Customer
This review is from: Pictures at An Exhibition (Audio CD)
I have read reviews in the past in which people have criticised the quality of this recording. I don't know why - I think that 'Pictures' is one of the most outstanding live albums of all time. ELP were just about the only band with the skill (and audacity) to attempt a live stage performance of a classical work this complex, and make a success of it, especially given the technology available back in 1971 when the original recording was made.
This remastered CD manages to improve on something that was pretty excellent to start with (if that's possible). Certainly, any 40'Something progressive rock fan should add this CD to their collection.
ELP's interpretation of Mussorgsky may not be to the taste of every classical purist, but IMHO, this CD is a mind blowing experience, right from the intro: 'Were gonna give you Pictures at an Exhibition!' through to the 'Nutrocker' finale (which is based on Tchaikovsky, if you didn't know already).
(Incidentally, I have an orchestral version of Pictures at an Exhibition by the Cleveland Orchestra on CD, so I consider myself qualified to pass judgement on ELP's approach to the work).
I have one minor gripe, in that I would have liked more of the original Mussorgsky to have appeared, although back in the days of vinyl, they only had 45 minutes to play with - and I can understand them making room for the acoustic track 'The Sage' which is Greg Lake on his best form.
I should point out that the track ELP call 'The Old Castle' would be better titled 'Keith Emerson demonstrates the versatility of the Moog Synthesiser', whilst 'Blues Variation' actually uses the theme from the 'real' version of The Old Castle to create a piece of virtuoso Hammond R&B that blows the Ravel orchestration out of the water. 'The Great Gates of Kiev' captures the mood of the original work brilliantly. (Correct me if I'm wrong, but the creaking gate hinge effects on this track are not done on synthesiser - as many people think - but by messing with the innards of the Hammond C3. If you don't believe me - check out the noises on 'Intermezzo' from the live CD 'Five Bridges' by Emerson's previous band, The Nice).
What more can I say, other than you should not try to copy Keith Emerson's pyrotechnics on your keyboard at home without an adult supervising, otherwise you may get electrocuted!