Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Nicholas Braithwaite
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Frederic Chopin, Franz Xaver Scharwenka, Enrique Granados, Edvard Grieg, Modest Mussorgsky, Claude Debussy, Sergei Rachmaninov
Number of Discs: 1
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Size: 313 MB
01. Toccata & Fugue in D Minor BWV 565
02. Piano Sonato No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 35: Funeral March
03. Polish Dance No. 3
04. Spanish Dance No. 4 in G
05. Funeral March
06. Preludes, Book 1, No. 10: La Cathedrale Engloutie
07. Prelude in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 3, No. 2
08. Pictures at an Exhibition: I. Promenade
09. Pictures at an Exhibition: II. The Gnome
10. Pictures at an Exhibition: III. The Old Castle
11. Pictures at an Exhibition: IV. Tuileries – “Dispute between children at play”
12. Pictures at an Exhibition: V. Bydlo
13. Pictures at an Exhibition: VI. Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
14. Pictures at an Exhibition: VII. Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuÿle
15. Pictures At An Exhibition: VIII. The Market At Limoges
16. Pictures at an Exhibition: IX. The Catacombs
17. Pictures at an Exhibition: X. The Hut on Hen’s Legs – “Baba Yaga”
18. Pictures at an Exhibition: XI. The Great Gate of Kiev
I have not had so much fun with a recording of Pictures at an Exhibition since discovering each of Isao Tomita’s two arrangements of the score. Yes, I said fun–classical music should be fun, exciting, visceral (if you don’t agree, go buy the Funtek arrangement on Bis).
Sir Henry Wood was not afraid to dig deep into the resources available to an orchestral arranger and come up with sonorities and effects that were surprising, moving, exciting, and thrilling. The Gnome is transformed into a fright fest equal to Mussorgsky’s own Night on Bald Mountain. The quiet arrangement of Tuileries (only 10 instruments) is very effective–this is supposed to evoke images of children, after all–especially the solo violin. Bydlo is hair-raising in its weight and power. I must say I miss the omitted Promenade sections, especially the one leading into the Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks. But the Chicks movement itself is marvelous; another delicate arrangement with very effective violin parts.
I must say that I first thought that Wood was going to disappoint with the Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle section. Then he practically shook me out of my seat. And the wonderful wild ride continues through to the end. The Great Gate of Kiev is fantastic–so thrilling it moved me to tears.
For all the excitement in this arrangement, it is overall very beautiful. The only real mistake Wood made was withdrawing his arrangement when Ravel made his. If orchestras want to get people in the seats at concerts, they should program this piece often. It would surely be an unforgettable experience to hear it live. (BTW, Lyrita’s sonics are excellent.)
For some unfathomable reason, Lyrita sat on this recording for 17 years before releasing it. Grab it now before they change their minds again.