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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition, Etc / Ivo Pogorelich

Release Date: 02/25/1997 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 437667   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyMaurice Ravel
Performer:  Ivo Pogorelich
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Ivo Pogorelich’s performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition is hardly tailor-made for ‘easy listening’ or for musical philistines (as in Schumann’s time, they are still very much with us). Magnificently unsettling, he offers a re-creation of the most concentrated force and drama, articulated with a crystalline mastery. Received wisdom is challenged at every level and doubting Thomases provoked to speak of exaggeration or undue idiosyncrasy can usually be answered by reference to the score. Pogorelich’s cleansing and revitalizing is at once evident in the opening “Promenade” where each single crotchet and quaver is accented precisely as marked before Mussorgsky’s more subdued chordal extension. “The gnome” is truly vivo and meno Read more vivo with the sharpest differentiation between fortissimo and piano, while in “The old castle” the troubadour sings his song of “old, unhappy, far-off things/And battles long ago” with the most arresting sense of the composer’s con dolore marking. The central and relative calm of “Tuileries” is played in a touchingly unfamiliar way and if “Bydlo” commences fortissimo rather than piano, is more inclined towards pesante than sempre moderato, the effect is both uncompromising and indelibly Russian. “Unhatched chickens” is ideally rather than manically paced (memorably scherzino and vivo leggiero) while “Limoges” is clarified with a prodigious force and mastery. “Catacombe” and “Con mortuis in lingua mortua” provide an oasis of pulsating and shimmering calm, and how cunningly Pogorelich differentiates the semiquavers and tremolandos at the heart of Baba-jaga’s frenzied flight. A magisterial view of the “Great Gate of Kiev” concludes a performance of rare poetic verisimilitude, a reminder of music fired at “point blank range” and of the “fiercest modernity” (Pierre Jasmin in his superb accompanying notes).

To an even greater extent Pogorelich’s way with Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales is not for the faint-hearted. But if his lavish rubato and inflexion and sometimes moonstruck tempos make conventional Francophiles throw up their hands in despair, and turn to more accommodating interpretations, I can only say that Pogorelich’s ideas are more acute than arbitrary, a richly personal response to Ravel’s demands for freedom and fantasy (avec une expression intense, peu plus lent et rubato, mysterieux, etc.). True, Pogorelich’s tempo for No. 3, where modere becomes lent will cause comment, his sudden vif in No. 6 set the fur flying. Yet such is his magic and focus that the results are fascinating and hypnotic, particularly when backed by such million dollar pianism. You may well end simultaneously in a critical frame of mind yet pondering when you last enjoyed Ravel’s piquancy and “subtle correspondences” (Jasmin again) so much; a delicious paradox magnificently recorded and presented by DG.'

Bryce Morrison, Gramophone 6/1997
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Works on This Recording

Pictures at an Exhibition for Piano by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Ivo Pogorelich (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/1995 
Length: 42 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Valses nobles et sentimentales by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Ivo Pogorelich (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; France 
Date of Recording: 08/1995 
Length: 19 Minutes 33 Secs. 

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