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Mussorgsky: Pictures; Stravinsky: Firebird / Muti

Release Date: 12/16/2009 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 47099   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyIgor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 51 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

These two scorching performances document the early partnership between Riccardo Muti and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Under Eugene Ormandy, this orchestra recorded the best-ever Pictures at an Exhibition, but this very different version is scarcely less fine. Muti’s leaner sonority, hard accents, and vivid rhythmic definition offers a different take on the capabilities of this great ensemble, far from Ormandy’s characteristic lushness but no less valid. It remains one of the great recordings of the piece.

However, the real news here was Muti’s Rite of Spring. Ormandy recorded the piece once, for Columbia, in very good mono sonics in the 1950s. That recording has recently reappeared in
Read more Sony’s multi-disc Rite of Spring Anniversary Edition, and it’s interesting for being one of the swiftest versions on disc, and not at all as soft and spongy and we might have been led to expect. Muti’s interpretation, though, is on another level altogether. Sample the “Ritual of the Rival Tribes” from Part One: it has never been played this excitingly, with such unrivaled visceral impact.

The fact that this was the Philadelphia Orchestra only added to the performance’s shock value, and Muti maintains the intensity, precision, and sheer mind-numbing virtuosity right to the end. It really sounds like everyone involved had something to prove, and the engineers rose to the occasion as well with sonics that are bright, full, and well balanced. There are many great “Rites” out there, and this seldom-acknowledged version is certainly one of them.

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

Firebird Suite by Igor Stravinsky
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919/1945;   
Pictures at an Exhibition for Orchestra (orchestrated by Ravel) by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Riccardo Muti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philadelphia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1874/1922; Russia 

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