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Mussorgsky: Pictures, Boris Gudonov (Excerpts) / Ormandy, George London


Release Date: 06/06/2006 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 78747   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  George LondonHoward FriedMildred AllenStanley Kolk
Conductor:  Eugene OrmandyThomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia OrchestraColumbia Symphony OrchestraColumbia Symphony Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

At last, Sony offers a domestic reissue of the finest recording of Pictures at an Exhibition in the history of the universe. Well, okay, there are other terrific versions, including Reiner (RCA) and Abbado (DG), but this one has everything--great playing and a big, gutsy interpretation that not only characterizes each section beautifully but also welds the suite together into an extremely satisfying whole. The panoramic final pages, from the start of the tolling bell section, have no peer in terms of detail and sheer sonic splendor, and this is one of the best-sounding recordings that Ormandy and Philly ever got from Sony. So the bottom line is that if you don't own this and you love the work, you need it, and urgently. To be fair, I Read more understand why reissuing it wasn't a priority: Sony has other, excellent versions of the piece, including Bernstein's and Szell's; but even among an embarrassment of riches this is the one to have.

Ironically, Pictures gets second billing on this disc. The headline event is a selection of excerpts from Boris Godunov featuring George London in the title role. You get the coronation scene, Boris' Act 2 monologue, the hallucination scene, and his farewell and death. London recorded the work complete with Bolshoi forces a couple of years after this recording (they all date from the early to mid-1960s), and that version also was released by Sony. God only knows if it's still available. London sounds in marginally fresher voice here--his imposing but always slightly gravelly timbre had not yet degenerated into a wobble--but he's just fine in the Bolshoi set too. Thomas Schippers conducts with typical flair and gets good results from both the chorus and orchestra, and there's no denying the attraction of having an all-Mussorgsky disc that doesn't offer the same old stuff (like A Night on Bald Mountain and one or two other fillers). Nevertheless, Ormandy's Pictures remains the major event.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Pictures at an Exhibition for Orchestra (orchestrated by Ravel) by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Eugene Ormandy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1874/1922; Russia 
Length: 33 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: Arranger: Maurice Ravel.
Town Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (04/21/1966); Town Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (06/18/1966) 
2. Boris Godunov: Prologue - Long life to our Czar Boris Feodorovich by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone), Howard Fried (Tenor), Mildred Allen (Soprano),
Stanley Kolk (Tenor)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 1 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 
3. Boris Godunov: As resplendent sun fills the heaven by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone), Mildred Allen (Soprano), Howard Fried (Tenor),
Stanley Kolk (Tenor)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 
4. Boris Godunov: My soul is sad by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Howard Fried (Tenor), Stanley Kolk (Tenor), Mildred Allen (Soprano),
George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 
5. Boris Godunov: Glory to Thee on Earth by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone), Mildred Allen (Soprano), Stanley Kolk (Tenor),
Howard Fried (Tenor)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 1 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 
6. Boris Godunov: I have attained the highest power "Boris' Monologue" by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Mildred Allen (Soprano), Howard Fried (Tenor), George London (Bass Baritone),
Stanley Kolk (Tenor)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 6 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 
7. Boris Godunov: What's going on?...And you, my son, what are you busy with? by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Mildred Allen (Soprano), Howard Fried (Tenor), George London (Bass Baritone),
Stanley Kolk (Tenor)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 1 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 
8. Boris Godunov: Ugh, it's oppressive "Clock Scene" by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Mildred Allen (Soprano), George London (Bass Baritone), Howard Fried (Tenor),
Stanley Kolk (Tenor)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 
9. Boris Godunov: Dmitri Tsarevich!...At my heels again by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone), Stanley Kolk (Tenor), Mildred Allen (Soprano),
Howard Fried (Tenor)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 6 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 
10. Boris Godunov: Hark, 'tis the knell of death by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Howard Fried (Tenor), George London (Bass Baritone), Mildred Allen (Soprano),
Stanley Kolk (Tenor)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 4 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 
11. Boris Godunov: Your Majesty, I make obeisance [Boris/Shuisky] by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Mildred Allen (Soprano), Stanley Kolk (Tenor), Howard Fried (Tenor),
George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Thomas Schippers
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Columbia Symphony Orchestra,  Columbia Symphony Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Venue:  Manhattan Center, New York City 
Length: 7 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
Notes: Manhattan Center, New York City (03/23/1961 - 03/27/1961) 

Sound Samples

Prologue, Scene 2 (The square in the Moscow Kremlin): Da zdrávstvuyet Tsar Borís Feódorovich! [Prince Shuiski: Long live Tsar Boris Feodorovich!]
Uzh kak na nébe sólntsu krásnomu [Even as glory to the radiant sun]
Skorbit dushá! [My soul is torn with anguish!]
Sláva! [Glory!]
Boris' Monologue from Act II: Dostig ya vďsshey vlasti [I have attained the highest power]
Dialogue and Hallucination Scene from Act II: Ty zachém? [What do you want?]
Velíkii gosudár, chelóm byu [Mighty lord...]
Ne kázen strashná, strashná tvoyá nemílost [It is not death that is hard to bear...]
Uf tyazheló! [God, how stifling it's become!]
Bori's Farewell to his Son and Death of Boris from Act IV: Scene II: Ostav'te nas! Ujdite vse! [Need english translation] (Excerpts)
Zvon!...Pogrebálnyi zvon! [Listen! It's ringing!...The funeral bell is ringing!] (Excerpts)
Promenade. Allegro giusto, nel modo russico; senza allegrezza, ma poco sostenuto
I. Gnomus (The Gnome). Vivo
Promenade. Moderato comodo e con delicatezza
II. Il vecchio castello (The old castle). Andante molto cantabile e con dolore
Promenade. Moderato non tanto, pesamente
III. Tuileries (Children's dispute after game). Allegretto non troppo, capriccioso
IV. Bydlo. Sempre moderato, pesante
Promenade. Tranquillo
V. Ballet des petits poussins dans leurs coques (Ballet of the unhatched chickens). Scherzino: Vivo leggiero
VI. Samuel Goldenburg and Schmuyle. Andante
VII. Limoges: le marché (The market place of Limoges). Allegretto vivo, sempre scherzando
VIII. Catacombae: Sepulchrum Romanum (Catacombs: A Roman Grave). Largo
Cum mortuis in lingua morta (With the dead in a dead language). Andante non troppo, con lamento
IX. La cabane de Baba-Yaga sur des pattes de poule (The hut of Baba-Yaga on chicken's legs). Allegro con brio, feroce - Andante mosso - Allegro molto
X. La grande porte de Kiev (The great gate of Kiev). Allegro alla breve. Maestoso. Con grandezza

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