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Pictures at an Exhibition / Rite of Spring

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 13, 2002
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 13, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B00005NPJJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #412,607 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As if I needed further evidence that the people who produce these CD compilations don't listen to their own work, this Mussorgsky/Stravinsky disc would be exhibit A. Here we have two works, ably performed by the same orchestra and conductor, with the same producer, recorded in the same hall, one year apart. And yet, not only does the sound on the two works not match, in the Stravinsky, even part one and part two do not match! Basically, if you buy this, be prepared to be an active participant, or to buy a CD burner that will let you change volumes. 'Pictures At An Exhibition' is brisk and nicely recorded. However, your ears will be in for a shock when 'The Rite of Spring' starts and the solo winds are as loud as the whole orchestra had been. However, once you've lowered the volume so your eardrums don't rupture at the climaxes, you will find Part 2 mostly inaudible. What's going on? Pt. 1 of 'Rite' is about 5db louder than 'Pictures', and Pt. 2 of 'Rite' about 3db louder than 'Pictures' Let's toast to hearing impaired recording engineers!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have waited a LONG time for this one...I still have the vinyl LP of this recording, with the teethmarks of my then two-year-old son still imbedded in the outer third of the LP! Unlike CD releases of popular music, it can be quite the wait for a specific version of a classical piece of music to come out ( if ever ). Great Gate of Kiev...there is, in my opinion, no more robust, bombastic recorded version in existence. I cannot get this finale loud enough. The brass is screaming at the end...I can visualize the sheet music, with "fff" underneath ( triple forte for the non-musicians here! ). It is answered by what has to be the biggest gong sound in existence! I've heard quite a few recordings of "Pictures" ( including this group conducted by Eugene Ormandy )...most sound 'sedate' after acclimating to this version. Make no mistake; the first portion of "Pictures" is just as good: Riccardo Muti renders every passage with the dignity it deserves. I've always thought Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite" an appropriate way to follow "Pictures"; after the climactic Gate of Kiev, one needs to "detox" with the quiet introduction of the former. It's this, or turn the stereo off for a while. Listening to Muti's interpretation of "Pictures" is the only time I slip into a Walter Mitty moment ( and there isn't too much call these days for "air conductors"! )
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Format: Audio CD
I am in love with EMI's new cycle of budget priced classic recordings of works. I have always been a fan of Muti recordings, and he really deserves more credit as a great conductor. He is riveting, and this couple certainly rings true to that fact. The mussorgsky is frantic and then regal sounding in the final two pieces. I almost think that the tempo is too fast in the "Gate" until the very end, when the tempo slows to give it fanfare chorale it needs to be. Its beautiful, awe-inspiring, and is a conductors dream.
Muti's Rite is very good and the Philadelphia (not my favorite of orchestras) really packs a kick i have to say. The opening stings in track two are dark and quite lovely. Muti really brings out the barbarism in this piece while keeping it sound polished and professional. Its not often a conductor can achieve a polished barbarism effect.
This is must have and at budget prices...there is no excuse not to own this cd.
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Format: Audio CD
I thoroughly enjoyed reading reviews concerning Muti's 'Le Sacre'. Bloody! they said. Brutal! they said.

And they were right! Muti delivers what can only be described as a bloodbath in sound. The engineering balance, as others have noted, is odd, but, if you've ever had a guilty pleasure, this won't register on your 'wow' factor. 'Saturated' is being tame when describing the colors: black and red.

After hearing so many great recordings let down by a timid or polite conductor, Muti really refreshes. This recording is truly a cult fav, and rightly so. The 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' of 'Le Sacre' recordings! No one seems to dare to follow him into the abyss. Is there anyone to compare?
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Format: Audio CD
After the death of Eugene Ormandy, EMI thought it had a golden opportunity to renovate the Philadelphia Orch., which despite its gleaming virtuosity hadn't made an exciting recording in decades. Muti, the young turk in town, seemed to be on the same wavelength. Into the world sprang performances in monster sound witth glaring spotlighting a la Decca's notorious Phase 4. This Le Sacre is a prime example. As a reviewer notes below, in the opening bars the oboe and double bassoon are miked louder than the whole rest of the orchestra!

Many critics ate it up with a spoon, but time has made the whole enterprise seem vulgar, even trashy, and Muti has no special affinity for Stravinsky--behind all the noise we get a rhythmically wayward Le Sacre with no lasting insights.

The Pictures at an Exhibition tones things down considerably, and once it's brought back into the corral, the Philadelphia Orch. sounds more impressive in its burnished sonority and excellent soloists. Muti is fairly subdued here, giving a middle-of-the-road reading that can't compare with the best but is good value at bargain price.
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