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Mussorgsky/Stokowski: Pictures At An Exhibition / Knussen


Release Date: 04/13/2004 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 457646   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a wonderful collection in which Oliver Knussen and a clearly "up for the party" Cleveland Orchestra have a great time with Stokowski's over-the-top orchestrations. Perhaps the best thing about these performances is that they don't try to out-Stoki the grand old man himself (witness Bamert on Chandos), and so the old saw "Good, but not the real deal" doesn't apply. Knussen simply takes these orchestrations as the basis for his own crystal clear and colorful interpretations. You won't find that intoxicating density of string sound or the saturated wash of colors that Stoki achieved (largely through post-production sound manipulation, I might add). Instead, in such works as A Night on Bare Mountain and especially Read more the Boris Godunov Symphonic Synthesis, you actually can hear what Stokowski wrote rather better than in his own performances.


Nor is Knussen a slouch when it comes to sheer excitement, despite the typically leaner textures (it's interesting to speculate on how the Great Leopold himself would have made this particular crew sound in this music). Pictures at an Exhibition has some especially wonderful vignettes: The Old Castle, Bydlo, and especially The Hut on Fowl's Legs. I've never been persuaded by Stokowski's "Great Gate" when compared to Ravel's, and there's nothing here to change my mind, but in all other respects this recording offers more than an hour of good, clean fun. The only question I have is why DG waited so long to release performances recorded way back in 1995/96? Could the release of Stokowski's own Decca recordings have had something to do with it? Never mind...enjoy and be happy that it's here. [4/29/2004]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Pictures at an Exhibition (arrangements and orchestrations other than Ravel's) by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1995 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, OH 
Length: 28 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Stokowski  
2.
Boris Godunov: Symphonic Synthesis by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868-1873; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 22 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Stokowski 
3.
Khovanshchina: Intermezzo by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872-1880; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 4 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Stokowski 
4.
Night on the Bare Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Oliver Knussen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/1996 
Venue:  Severance Hall, Cleveland, Ohio 
Length: 9 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Arranged: Leopold Stokowski 

Sound Samples

Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: Promenade 1
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: Gnome
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: Promenade 2
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: The Old Castle
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: Bydlo
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: Promenade 3
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: Catacombae - Sepulcrum Romanum
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: Cum mortuis in lingua morta
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: The Hut on Fowl's Legs
Pictures at an Exhibition - Symphonic transcription by Leopold Stokowski: The Great Gate of Kiev
Boris Godounov - Symphonic Synthesis by Leopold Stokowski: 1. Outside the Novodievichi Monastery - The people ask Boris for protection - Pilgrims are heard singing in the distance - They come closer and enter the Monastery
Boris Godounov - Symphonic Synthesis by Leopold Stokowski: 2. Coronation of Boris
Boris Godounov - Symphonic Synthesis by Leopold Stokowski: 3. Monks chanting in the Monastery of Choudov
Boris Godounov - Symphonic Synthesis by Leopold Stokowski: 4. Siege of Kazan
Boris Godounov - Symphonic Synthesis by Leopold Stokowski: 5. Outside the Church of Saint Basil - The Idiot foretells the fate of Russia - The starving crowd ask Boris for bread
Boris Godounov - Symphonic Synthesis by Leopold Stokowski: 6. Death of Boris
Khovanshchina - Symphonic Transcription: Entr'acte (Intermezzo) - Act V
Night On The Bare Mountain

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