Pictures at an Exhibition

For someone who studied music in college, I somehow managed to miss Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition until now. I admit I’m not a fan of large-scale orchestral works, so I avoided it not knowing that it was originally written for solo piano. I picked up both CD and vinyl copies of the solo piano version and I think it is fabulous. A wonderful mix of simplicity and virtuosity and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m definitely tempted to pick up another version.

Plese let me know if you are aware of any outstanding performances of this piece. Thanks 


I am partial to:

Fritz Reiner - Chicago Symphony 

Riccardo Muti - Philadelphia Orchestra

Seiji Ozawa - Chicago Symphony 

You know it's all about the conductor getting the orchestra inline.

2 period LP's that sound great because of conductors and recording-

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I have both! I don't like London squeezing all of Pictures on one side of the LP for both the orchestra and solo piano, each on a side. Dynamic range and bass have to be cut!

The Reiner/CSO is possibly the best recording of the orchestral version. Lewis Layton recording engineer for this and other Reiner/CSO's. I have the RCA .5 Series half-speed remaster made from the analog tapes.

I think audiophiles want to think the conductor has some magic, but it’s the players doing 97% of it. The conductor can make small changes with tempi and dynamics, but that’s it. Conductors are, however, very good at marketing. Also, modern orchestras play much much better.