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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 16 March 2011
It has become fashionable to mock prog rock, with its potential for self-indulgent, pompous, bombastic music. The problem with the genre is that when it was dire, it was very, very dire. However when, as often happened, it was good, it was very, very good indeed. Emerson,Lake & Palmer probably epitomised what was worst and best about prog, but I would submit that this was one of their better moments.

What motivated most prog rock musicians, was a desire to take rock music and elevate it to the level enjoyed by the classical genre. What better than to create a rock version of Mussorgsky's piano suite, Pictures at an Exhibition, which the band took on the road in 1971. This was by no means the first time that a new interpretation of the work had appeared, the original piano pice had been orchestrated by a number of composers, the most famous and lasting version by Ravel.

It is the musicianship that makes this such a strong piece, showcasing the technical skills of three very talent players, not least Emerson's prowess on the Hammond organ. The fact that it was recorded live also adds to the listening experience. This is one of the few albums where a rock band devoted the whole record to a classical work and it actually made the top 10 album charts in both the UK and the US. When it was originally released it was at a low price, £1.49 if I remember rightly, when other albums of the time were a £1 dearer.

I think this stands as a fine example of what rock music can do and it is certainly a good place to start for those who want to know what prog rock was all about.
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on 23 September 2011
There was a time when Emerson Lake & Palmer was THE band to see live. At the cutting edge of the '70s Prog Rock movement they did the business and others usually followed. They were incredible live, amazing how 3 musicians could produce such a symphonic sound on stage. Emerson was a keyboard master, Lake's voice like velvet, his bass playing matching Carl Palmer's supercharged drumming.

They couldn't lose with this marvelous album. It came out at a budget price with a wonderful cover and became a sort of benchmark for every live album that followed. If Ravel had put Mussorgsky's little known work on the classical music map then ELP made it a household name.

So popular was the album that their fan's demanded a studio version to put alongside the live version. Sadly, that didn't come about yet the live album is a lasting fragment of their fantastic stage performances.
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There is no getting away from it ... this is one of the best live recordings ever issued by a rock band.

Based on the classical work of the same name, this record shows three musicians at the top of their game (and sometimes you'll wonder that only three could produce such a broad sound). The instrumentals at the centre of the piece are driving rock tracks - some of the most rocking rock music ever committed to record.

And it's live! In an age when so many bands were manufactured in the studios, this was a real live performance, note-perfect and complete with audience feedback. You don't have to like 'prog rock' to admire it.

As a bonus, 'Nutrocker': great fun.
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on 18 June 2015
I remember hearing this back in the day when it was originally released as an LP. My mate was a big ELP fan and after hearing this I was 'in'. I won't go into detail about the original version on this Sony 2011 release as others have covered it, but I think it's worth mentioning the 'NEW' studio version on this CD release seems to have gone unnoticed by most reviewers. There is scant information in the CD liner notes other than to mention that it was recorded in 1993 - probably ELP's best kept secret - I have never previously heard of them recording a studio version of Pictures but it provides us with yet another take on this great piece of music as there are significant differences to the 'live' version and it's well worth getting it for that alone.
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This was the first major live-in-concert stage work ever performed by erstwhile global supergroup ELP: an imaginative re-work of Modest Mussorgsky's `Pictures at an Exhibition'. In the first two years of the group's life, it was the centrepiece of their stage show.

The original recording is from Newcastle-on-Tyne City Hall in March 1971, released as a budget LP after the band's first two studio albums had established a sizeable fan base (the record company wanted to release it on their classical music label but relented under pressure from the band).

The opening sequence features Keith Emerson playing Mussorgsky's `Promenade' on the huge Harrison pipe organ installed as a permanent fixture at the Newcastle venue, so it sounds like no other recorded performance of this piece. ELP base their version on Ravel's popular orchestration of the original piano score but add to it in several places, introducing vocal sections with Greg Lake singing unaccompanied and also playing acoustic guitar (one of the highlights) and a full-on danceable rock number `Blues Variation.' The gig rounds off with a rocking rendition of Tchaikovsky's `Nutcracker' - which the band title `Nutrocker'.

The analogue recording quality and production is pretty darned good considering the state of technology in this pre-digital age, and the roaring enthusiasm of the appreciative audience is worthy of a cup final victory. There have been several updates and re-releases including a studio recording of the work, a `deluxe' edition with a lot of extra material and even a filmed performance at the London Lyceum. The original 1971 recording from Newcastle, however, is hard to beat.

A classic from the 1970s in every sense of the word, this recording demonstrates `progressive rock' at its bombastic and self-important best. If you've never heard the music of this fine band, this would be a great place to start.
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on 31 October 2015
OK Dudes this is it... Wicked High Five Brill ... If you have not got this then shame on you go out and buy it now...This is one of my most played
CD's A real favourite to chill out to.. But make sure you have tip top gear to play it on with wicked speakers to match playing it loud..
I think I have said my bit so enjoy it...
Many Thanks to Emerson Lake an Palmer for such a good music album
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on 3 March 2016
A must have album for any fan who loves E L & P
a must buy and play it loud music album that will be played and played again
Seen them live once just fantastic this album stands out for me in my collection
as a favourite but each to are own choice
so five Gold stars from me for this great album...
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on 17 June 2014
i have three different versions of this album E.L.P. Tomita and an orchestral original all very different. This one by Emerson,Lake & Palmer shows how you can adapt a piece of classical music and make it acceptable to people who would not otherwise have listened to it. Very good album
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on 24 July 2015
I first bought this album shortly after release for the heady sum of £1.49. I still have the vinyl copy somewhere but as I hadn't heard it for many years, decided to get the CD version. I fully expected a remastered edition (which usually disappoint) but I am pleased to say, the power and brightness of the original is retained in this edition. Several reviewers have written more erudite and concise reviews about prog rock, the musicality and where ELP fit into the panoply of early 1970's music than I can manage. Suffice to say, his is a cracking album and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone wanting to see (some of) what prog rock was all about.

One thing though....the 'bonus' tracks. There's a reason they didn't make it onto the final cut. They belong in the bin, listen to them by all means but in my opinion, you'll be wasting your time.
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I do own both, the CD and the DVD of this one-in-a-humankind-time event. Three of the best Rock musicians ever, with an event that sets the ground for the coming new generations of Progressive. The use of the instruments is so unique that you have to own both versions since they are not the same, but having each, their unique seal and mood! The Booklet and Portraits with new first-hand information and new graphic material. A little bit poorly edited, but still with charm. Included in this record, is a new version of some of the passages of the Work, that allows you to compare the evolution of sound and technique, having a new direction to look to, but not in genius, which in my humble opinion, is unsurpassed by the original's standards. I don't know if the new label that manages these historic recordings had to do something with the new processed sound or if the recordings came already mastered that way, but the sound is awsome! Clear and detailed. A treatment these three exceptional and admired musicians deserve given the input they gave to the world of Rock... or should I say Music?
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