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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Pictures at an Exhibition

3.9 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This DVD/CD Combination Disc features the film and soundtrack from the original 1970 live "Pictures at an Exhibition" concert. Keith Emerson, Greg Lake and Carl Palmer are all superb musicians; together they formed one of Classic Rock's most influential bands! Songs: Promenade, Gnome, The Sage, The Old Castle, Blues Variation, The Hut of Baba Yaga, The Curse of Baba Yaga. DVD/CD Combination Disc: Side 1 (DVD) - The film; Side 2 (CD) - Bonus CD; Side 2 playable on any DVD or CD player.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Carl Palmer
  • Directors: Nicholas Ferguson
  • Producers: John House, Lindsey Clennell
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    General Audience
  • Studio: Mvd Visual
  • DVD Release Date: August 7, 2001
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005LC57
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,496 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Emerson Lake & Palmer - Pictures at an Exhibition" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. A Maupin on January 29, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The positive:
This performance is good but not as good as the Emerson Lake and Palmer: Masters From The Vaults DVD. The video and remix of the sound are very much improved over my Japaneese import laserdisc of the same concert. This a young ELP still in their prime.
The not so positive:
There are some unfortunate things about this video. The special effects are annoying to the point of being nauseating. The overly "creative" post production crew really got carried away with the psychedelic tint & color saturation effects. This may have been interesting as a DVD special feature, (I might have even thought it was great 30 years ago), but these days I'd just like to see the performers without these effects. I wonder if the unaffected video source even exists anymore.
Yes, the performance is over the top. But so is about every live rock performance from that era. Just look at the recently released Zeppelin DVD. But hey, the era was what it was. I'm just glad that some of these bands were captured live while they still had some fire in their bellies.
The unfortunate:
My laserdisc of this concert includes full performances of Barbarian, Take A Pebble, and Knife Edge along with Pictures At An Exhibition. It's really, unfortunate that they chose not to include the entire concert in this DVD! They should re-release this without the special effects (except for maybe in the special features section) and included the omitted songs.
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Format: Audio CD
This album is a masterpiece from start to finish. This was ELP's provocative take on Mussorgsky's famed classical piece, and it was performed live, with some extra makeovers. Of course, many classical purists are still having a fit, even after more than 30 years since this hit the shelves, but if you're a bit more open-minded, this may just be something of a treat. This peformance captures ELP mixing moments of refinement and explosive intensity combined with an ethereal rawness. Rarely have I heard this combination work well...especially in a LIVE performance.

It starts with the anthemic "Promenade" which leads to a bizarre intro of The Gnome, which then takes off as a synth-washed quirky jazz fest. "Promenade" (reprise) follows, this time with lyrics written and sung by Greg Lake. "The Sage" starts off softly then turns into an elegant classical guitar instrumental. "The Old Castle" starts with some synth/distortion feedback then kicks into a rocker. Next comes "Blues Variation" which is a beautifully crafted mix of well...jazz and blues. "Promenade" starts the second half of the disc. Unlike the previous two versions of "Promenade," this version features Greg Lake, Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer performing collectively with their instruments. "The Hut Of Baba Yaga" is frenzied up jazz rock. "The Curse Of Baba Yaga" continues as Keith Emerson is doing genuinely innovative stuff on his keyboard. It is also in this section that you will probably find the most explosive moment on the disc, as Carl Palmer and Keith Emerson are out of control on the drums and synths respectively, while Greg Lake is shouting passionately as he plucks his bass strings frenetically. "The Hut" is briefly reprised before the beautifully dark and haunting finale of "The Gates Of Kiev/The End.
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Format: DVD
The only thing wrong with this DVD, in my opinion, is that
it is not the full length concert video that also featured
"The Barbarian", "Take A Pebble", "Knife-Edge" and "Rondo" on
it. I knew that before I bought it, but I got it anyway because
I *had* to have this on DVD, hoping that the sound would be
improved like it said on the box. And guess what--it is!
Whoever remixed the sound here did a GREAT job; it is much
louder and clearer than the professional VHS copy I had previously. It is true that some psychedelic visual effects are
superimposed on about half of the performance (from "The Old
Castle" to just before "The Great Gates Of Kiev"), but I always
thought they were great, especially the comic book effects
over the intense "Curse" segment. And, other than in that segment, I can still see the band playing underneath the effects.
So, to some people (like some of the reviewers below) the visuals can look a little dated, or annoying because they semi-cover the band. But the band's performance itself is magnificent. This version of "Pictures" is better than the
actual album version (taken from a live show four months later),
because "The Gnome", "The Old Castle" and "Blues Variations"
are extended, there is no hideous "Nutrocker" and there is FAR less audience noise. In fact, the audience is so silent that when listening to the bonus audio CD of the performance, it almost sounds like a studio release. Indeed, I would declare this performance--in spite of one or two slight mistakes--to be the definitive version of "Pictures" from all those that are available.
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Format: Audio CD
For a while ELP could do no wrong - up to Brain Salad Surgery and the superb Welcome Back my friends. After that we got diminishing returns, with the uninspired Works Vol I, the better but too-eclectic Works Vol II, and the embarrassing "Love Beach."
And anything later than "Love Beach" isn't really ELP at all...
But "Pictures" finds them in the middle of their awesome period. As a classical fan, I've always thought this is actually the best arrangement of Mussorgsky's piece. I much prefer the original piano version to any of the three orchestrations: the (sorry, this is heresy) banal Ravel version, the attempt by Stokowski, or even the Ashkanazi version, which is the best orchestrated arrangement.
The ELP version doesn't have the depth or the "Russianness" of Ashkanazi, but it wins out on sheer gusto, virtuoso musicianship and energy. Speaking as both a classical and a rock fan, this is one of the few rock/classical hybrids that actually add (rather than cancelling out) the virtues of each style.
And the Greg Lake contributions, interpolated songs musing on ideas from the music, are brilliant: the heart of the album in many ways.
(Just as Greg Lake was always the heart of the band, despite Emerson's greater showmanship. It needed Lake's voice and the humanistic side of his music. When Lake lost his voice, and seemingly the ability to write good songs, that was when ELP spun into its astonishingly rapid decline.)
Some people have criticised the sound quality. I can't say I've ever noticed that as an issue. On the other hand, Greg Lake had one of the greatest voices in rock when this was recorded.
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