Pictures at an Exhibition.
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition & Borodin: Symphony No. 2 [Blu-ray]
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Pictures at an Exhibition.
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Blu-ray productions such as this have every advantage over attending a live performance except for the thrill of actually occupying the same space and time as the great orchestra and its conductor. I know of no concert hall in which one can hear each instrument with perfect clarity and at the same time see each member of the orchestra; and it is such a pleasure to see the total commitment of each member of the orchestra that results in readings of great precision, color, and intensity.
The visual element (beautifully sharp and immediate in Blu-ray) helps to call attention to the particulars of the composers' decisions regarding orchestration and to reinforce one's knowledge that this orchestra is not only a great ensemble but also a collection of individual soloists with world-wide careers of their own. Witness for example the contribution of flutist Emmanuel Pahud, following in the footsteps perhaps of the Berliner Philharmoniker's most famous flutist alumnus, James Galway. I think that it is unfortunate that the credits, both on-screen, and in the booklet, fail to list the individual members of the orchestra; and while one can look up the personnel on the Internet, it takes some matching up of faces to figure out who is the leader of each section for a particular performance. The Berlin Phil has, for example, three concertmasters, any one of which may occupy the principal chair for a given concert. In this case it is Guy Braunstein.
I came to buy this disc and several others by the Berliner Philharmoniker as a result of enjoying their "Digital Concert Hall" for the past two years (since early 2009).Read more ›
I now own 4 blu-ray orchestra discs and am really impressed with all of them. Hopefully the price of these blu-ray discs will come down some. This disc is basically a complete concert including an encore. You won't be disappointed with your purchase.
The opening Polovtsian Dances make a good opening number and are given a comfortably secure reading which makes full use of the tonal resources of the orchestra. It is the following second symphony of Borodin that doubts really start to appear. This is a very major Russian work and the Russian temperament ideally needs to be fully exposed. It is this aspect that is so obviously missing, especially in the opening movement. Those who are familiar with the famous Decca recording of the work with Martinon conducting the LSO on top form will know exactly what I mean here. That performance sizzles from the start and serves as a good example that it does not require a Russian orchestra and/or conductor to achieve the Russian volatility that is missing here. However, to be fair, the Borodin pieces could be described as very good, mid-European performances.
The Mussorgsky half of this concert is totally successful. The Pictures at an Exhibition, as orchestrated by Ravel, is also more European in its conceptual nature and suits this orchestra well. The music has long been a staple item in the orchestra's repertoire, even going back to an admired recording by Karajan in the 1960's. The piece features many solo passages and it is in these that the individual players excel. The larger moments also suit the accumulative tonal resources and power of this impressive group of musicians. The Khovanshchina introduction is an object lesson in sustained quiet expressive playing, even almost to the point of inaudibility at times.Read more ›
The point for me of blu-ray discs like this one is to not only hear great music, but to see who is making it and how it is being made. This is not always a wonderful thing; one disc the singers were so off-putting to look at as they sang, I think I prefer the TV off when listening to it. Not the case here.
The Borodin, Mussorgsky and Shostakovich offerings here are spectacular in color and richness of sound. The variety of instruments played (how do they make that sound?) displayed on this disc is incredible. And rocking.
For years I had a problem with "Pictures at an Exhibition". Just listening, with no knowledge of what I was listening to, (Love the Promenade theme and the GATES part!!!), I kept saying to myself, those must be SOME Pictures!!!!! Then I finally heard Mussorgsky's real piece on piano and that had a sense of size, balance and measure that I could relate to. Ravel just took that lovely music WAY the HECK over the top!!!!! And I listened to only the piano version for several years. But every once in a while I thought that full blown, over the top deal might be fun to listen to again. Just for grins. So finally I decided I had to really forget about the pictures and forget about the piano piece, IF I wanted to enjoy the Ravel orchestration, then go for it like digging into a big old tub of delicious ice cream, just crank it up and let it rip!!!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed this Blu-ray disc, but Maestro Rattle's decision to be spectacular on the podium ruins a near perfect recording of Pictures. Read morePublished 14 months ago by MUCM D. Johnson
This is now my favorite Blu-ray recording.
The tonal qualities are excellent, and the instruments are properly separated left and right, but also front to back of the... Read more
Mussorgsky is A genius (the one who invented, Pink Floyd, ELP, Yes, Genesis etc..)
The piece is played beautifully!!! Read more
This was a truly exalted virtuoso performance by any measure. It unequivocally earns my top recommendation without reservation. Read morePublished on February 27, 2011 by Amazon Customer
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