Throughout Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Leonard Slatkin takes special care with presenting the music's vivid and vibrantly colored characterizations -- here brought tellingly to life by the St. Louis Symphony's alert and highly polished playing. By cultivating a certain rawness in the brass (especially in Bydlo), and a spiky quality in the woodwinds (Tuileries is deliciously tart), along with letting the percussion play full-out, Slatkin makes Ravel's orchestral transcription sound more Russian than it usually does. Best of all is the Great Gate of Kiev, where Slatkin generates a ceremonial splendor worthy of Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov.
The remaining items include Slatkin's colorful and exciting renditionsRead more of Night of Bald Mountain (some tam-tam!), and three excerpts from Khovanshchina, including the blissful Prelude, the pensive Entr'Acte, and the exotic Dance of the Persian Slaves. Borodin's atmospheric In the Steppes of Central Asia concludes the program with understated elegance and poetry. The spacious and reverberant recording (unusual for an Aubort/Nickrenz production) presents the orchestra with impressive clarity and dynamic impact, though the CD booklet's claim of digital origin seems unlikely given the 1975 recording date. A winner, and a bargain to boot.
--Victor Carr, Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Colorful PicturesMay 1, 2017By owen ryan (lakewood, CA)See All My Reviews"This is one of my favorite recordings of Mussorgsky's Pictures. It is played with great panache by Slatkin and his St. louis Symphony. The Elite recording team of Marc Aubort and Joanna Nickrenz have laid down an absolutely wonderful audio. That this colorfully vivid recording is at a budget price is a bonus."Report Abuse