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  Living Stereo
  Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition etc. - Reiner
  Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, Marche miniature, A Night on Bald Mountain, Borodin: Prince Igor (Polovtsian March), Tchaikovsky: Marche Slave, Kabalevsky: Colas Breugnon (Overture), Glinka: Ruslan and Lyudmila (Overture)

Chicago Symhony Orchestra
Fritz Reiner (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 9 show all

Reviews: 7 show all

Review by flyingdutchman October 12, 2004 (9 of 14 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I can quite honestly say that I disagree most competely with the previous review. This is an absolutely vital must-buy for anyone wanting to hear how these should sound. Performance is beyond any that came before or after and sound is the best I have ever heard these. I have the Living Stereo Cd, the XRCD, and this. The 3-channel sound is so much better than either of the other two and for anyone to evaluate these less than 5 star across the board really needs to give this recording another chance.

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Review by threerandot July 6, 2007 (7 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The title of this disc indicates that these are "Russian Showpieces" and Reiner and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform these works with that approach in mind.

The disc opens with the famous "Pictures at an exhibition". It begins with a straight-forward promenade and then the Gnomus only increasing the tension slightly. French horns and winds mark the second promenade and carry us into the Il vecchio costello, a highlight with a warm alto sax solo. The third promenade features big brass and winds. Tuileries picks up the energy more with fast winds, big brass, supple strings and chimes. Bydlo is a highlight in this performance with an impressive tenor tuba solo that comes right into your living room. Basses are caught nicely. I wish the snare drum was further back in the mix, however. The next Promenade paints a darker mood, leading right into the jocular Ballet of the Chicks in their shells with excellent playing from all sections. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle features brash strings and excellent trumpet work. The Marketplace is painted with frantic strings, horns and percussion and the Catacombs features the most impressive brass playing up to this point. But Reiner seems to be holding the reigns in, even at this late point in the music. Con mortuis features more restraint, but things get going in Hut on Fowl's Legs. The Great Gate features brass playing more in the style of a march band, than perhaps a Bach Chorale. Still, this leads to an exciting climax. Although Reiner and the CSO are an excellent team, they do not stop to capture the more colorful sounds that are embedded throughout this music. Reiner seems more interested in pushing ahead to the climaxes. The closing moments are memorable, however.

Tchiakovsky's March Miniature is a playful little piece with plenty of charming playing and is an easy winner on this disc. The sound is only in two-channel on this disc, as this was the way it was originally recorded.

Borodin's Polovtsian March is another piece with plenty of bombast and excitement and Reiner seems more at home with this work.

The Marche Slave by Tchaikovsky is definitely a highlight. Reiner doesn't seem so rushed and captures the lively Russian feeling. Sound seems a little warmer here than elsewhere on the disc as well.

The Colas Breugnon, Op.24 Overture by Kabalevsky is no less impressive than the Marche Slave and features some of the more colorful playing and sound throughout this disc. Plenty of bombast as well.

The disc closes with Glinka's Russlan and Ludmilla Overture in what is really a fun piece to close this disc. This is a lively and fun performance that is sure to please. Again, much warmer sound in the last few items of this disc.

The Pictures At an Exhibition on this disc is obviously the main selling point and I wish that the sound quality was a little better at capturing the more subtle nuances. Reiner seems to play up a more militant view of the score and doesn't linger anywhere in the score for long. Personally, I prefer Karajan's digital recording on DG. Still, with its faults, there is much to enjoy in Reiner's performance, even if I feel it doesn't merit top marks. I seem to enjoy Reiner playing the remaining works a little more than his approach to the pictures. The remaining works are all sparking performances for the most part that make enjoyable fill-ups. Recommended with reservations.

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Review by tin man October 23, 2007 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I like this title the best among a few of Pictures at an Exhibition records, CDs and SACDs I have. The music simply moves me every time I listen to it. Yes, sonic wise it is not the best due to high tape hiss from the master but the music of this recording is first rate. Not too many current orchestra can play at the same level as Reiner and CSO back then. Even the Mobile Fidelity Slatkin is not at the same level of musicianship at Reiner and CSO. I really appreciate RCA is remastering their golden age recordings to SACD and I enjoy everyone of them I pruchased. Please keep them coming.

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Works: 7  

Alexander Borodin - Polovtsian March
Mikhail Glinka - Ruslan and Lyudmila (Overture)
Dmitry Kabalevsky - Colas Breugnon (Overture)
Modest Mussorgsky - A Night on the Bare Mountain
Modest Mussorgsky - March Miniature
Modest Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition (arr. Ravel)
Peter Tchaikovsky - Slavonic March, TH 45 Op. 31