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  • Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition / Borodin: Symphony No. 2; Polovtsian Dances
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Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition / Borodin: Symphony No. 2; Polovtsian Dances

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Audio CD, April 29, 2008
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Composer: Modest Mussorgsky, Alexander Borodin
  • Audio CD (April 29, 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000ZFSL06
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #336,829 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Pictures at an exhibition: Promenade
2. Pictures at an exhibition: The Gnome - Alexander Borodin / Modest Mussorgsky
3. Pictures at an exhibition: Promenade - Alexander Borodin / Modest Mussorgsky
4. Pictures at an exhibition: The Old Castle
5. Pictures at an exhibition: Promenade
6. Pictures at an exhibition: Tuileries
7. Pictures at an exhibition: Bydlo
8. Pictures at an exhibition: Promenade
9. Pictures at an exhibition: Ballet of the Unhatched Chickens
10. Pictures at an exhibition: Rich Mr Goldenburg and Poor Mr Schmuyle
11. Pictures at an exhibition: Limoges - The March
12. Pictures at an exhibition: Catacomb
13. Pictures at an exhibition: Cum mortuis in lingua morta
14. Pictures at an exhibition: The Hut on Fowl's Legs 'Baba Yaga'
15. Pictures at an exhibition: The Great Gate of Kiev
16. Symphony no 2 in B minor: 1st movement, Allegro - Alexander Borodin
17. Symphony no 2 in B minor: 2nd movement, Scherzo - Alexander Borodin
18. Symphony no 2 in B minor: 3rd movement, Andante - Alexander Borodin
19. Symphony no 2 in B minor: 4th movement, Allegro - Alexander Borodin
20. Prince Igor: Polovtsian Dances - Alexander Borodin

Editorial Reviews

On 31 December 2007 the Berliner Philharmoniker and Simon Rattle rang in the New Year with a Silvesterkonzert in Berlin's Philharmonie. The repertoire consists of Mussorgsky's ever-popular Pictures at an Exhibition and the Symphony No.2 and Polovtsian Dances by Borodin. The gala concert was broadcast by television stations in Germany, Austria and Japan. EMI Classics microphones were on hand to record the festive occasion with the resulting CD and downloads to be available in January, within two weeks of the event. The downloads, which include the Prelude to Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina as a digital exclusive track, may be pre-ordered from Christmas. A video diary following the making of the recording will be accessible via the album minisite from December. Sir Simon and the BPO follow the concept of their 04/05 Silvesterkonzert release of Orff's Carmina Burana and have again chosen popular repertoire which will guarantee a broader-than-usual audience at the Philharmonie and another bestselling album. In a career spanning more than thirty years, Simon Rattle has distinguished himself through his long-term relationships with a number of orchestras, wide-ranging repertoire and innovative educational and audience-building activities. He is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Berliner Philharmoniker, as well as Principal Artist with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. He is a Founding

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Format: Audio CD
The great Jean-Yves Fourmeau is the saxophone soloist in the Old Castle movement of this recording of Pictures. One of the most beautiful renditions of this famous solo.
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Format: Audio CD
Let me say up front that I am a diehard Rattle fan. I consider him to be thriving at the Berlin Philharmonic, and I don't think the Berliners could have chosen a better conductor. I've almost never heard an album from him and the Berliners that I had serious reservations about. Almost, that is. This disc, containing Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Borodin's Symphony No. 2 and the Polovtsian Dances, strikes me as his biggest miss with his orchestra, due to his fussiness and what often turn out to be a lack of imagination. But I'll have to admit that there are wonderful moments on this disc, despite the lack of clear vision throughout.

I'll begin by looking at the Pictures at an Exhibition. Always on the lookout for a chance to bring out hidden details, Rattle has more opportunity in this work (after all, these little pieces that make up the work are pictures) than he could possibly hope for. But he doesn't succeed in this way as we might hope. Sure, the Berliners play marvelously for him, but there's a painful lack of spontaneity. Rattle often seems to deliver mere superficial brilliance instead of real artistic excellence. Rattle can struggle with fussiness, and here he's fussier than ever. But even when he's fussy, there are often unique things that he has to say that makes his approach memorable. Surprisingly enough, I can't say the same thing here. The Berliners show off their technical ability (they've got to be the world's greatest orchestra), but lacking is any sign of real interest from Rattle.

The Borodin 2nd Symphony fares much better, although it's still far from perfect. Rattle seems to have awaked, to an extent, but he still seems fussy, preferring to wallow in the beauty of individual notes and phrases instead of giving Russian soul.
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