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Mussorgsky: Pictures At An Exhibition; Britten / Ozawa, Chicago SO


Release Date: 04/05/2011 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 69100   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyBenjamin Britten
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Seiji Ozawa made some marvelous recordings in Chicago in the 1960s, at the start of his career, including a spectacular Rite of Spring. This collection features aptly youthful versions of Pictures at an Exhibition and A Night on Bald Mountain, exceptionally well played by an orchestra that, at least in Pictures, had a certain proprietary claim to the work. Let us not forget that it had already made classic recordings of the piece under Kubelik (Mercury Living Presence) and Reiner (RCA), and if Ozawa isn’t quite as atmospheric or charismatic as those earlier versions, he’s still exciting and very enjoyable. Certainly the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, building impressively to a physically powerful Hut on Fowl’s Legs/Great Gate Read more of Kiev conclusion.

The Britten is even better, a truly outstanding performance in every respect. Ozawa’s concern for textural clarity and rhythmic precision is particularly apparent in the concluding fugue, taken more deliberately than some versions, but perfectly balanced and gloriously crowned by the return of Purcell’s theme. With each orchestral section and solo making the most of its respective entrance, this really is as fine a version as any available, fully comparable to Britten’s own.

RCA’s sonics have come up very well on this transfer. Remember those notorious “Dynagroove” LPs, released in such dismal pressings on vinyl so thin that collectors referred to it as “Dynawarp?” Well, it turns out that some of the engineering wasn’t as bad as RCA made it sound. I have no idea what logic leads Sony/BMG to release some catalog material while withholding other stuff, but I’m glad these performances are available.

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

1.
Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34 by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; England 
Date of Recording: 07/18/1967 
Venue:  Medinah Temple, Chicago, USA 
Length: 0 Minutes 27 Secs. 
2.
Pictures at an Exhibition for Orchestra (orchestrated by Ravel) by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1874/1922; Russia 
Date of Recording: 07/18/1967 
Venue:  Medinah Temple, Chicago, USA 
Length: 28 Minutes 15 Secs. 
3.
Night on the Bare Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Seiji Ozawa
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Russia 
Date of Recording: 08/09/1968 
Venue:  Orchestra Hall, Chicago, USA 
Length: 10 Minutes 50 Secs. 

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