Steven Osborne has become one of the most valuable pianists recording today. His recent complete Rachmaninov Preludes release was critically acclaimed as the greatest modern version since Ashkenazy. Now he turns to further cornerstones of the Russian repertoire in this recording of Musorgsky’s Pictures from an Exhibition (a work which has been in Osborne’s concert repertoire for many years), and two sets of Prokofiev’s miniatures.
Pairing evergreen works by Dvorak and Mussorgsky, this superb video from Belvedere featuring the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under the incomparable Mariss Jansons is a musical feast. Ever since its world premiere at New York's Carnegie Hall on December 15, 1893, Dvorak's American-flavored Symphony No.9 has been a cornerstone of the orchestral repertoire. Similarly, thanks to Ravel's superb orchestration, Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is a perennial audience favorite.
On this recording, Paul Lewis performs two major works of the keyboard repertoire. Decidedly programmatic, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is more commonly heard today in Ravel's orchestral version. However, the original for solo piano is both a technical tour-de-force and a brilliant example of the composer's coloristic gifts. The pairing is Schumann's Fantaisie Op.17, a work whose movements originally had evocative titles (Ruin, Triumphal Arch, Constellation). The 'program' was removed before publication, but the 'pictures' Schumann intended listeners to imagine remain.
A true celebration, ushering in the New Year with one of the finest orchestras and greatest conductors in the world. The 2007 Gala from Berlin features the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle in Alexander Borodin's Second Symphony, a richly lyrical work of immense poetic grandeur and fairy-tale magic, in a programme that also includes one of the greatest classical hits ever: Modest Mussorgsky's 'Pictures at an Exhibition'.
I consider this the best of all of Karajan's films. In the grand finale, the Great Gate of Kiev, you see a perfect example of Karajan's control of a climax, as he holds back the orchestra at the beginning of this mighty segment, and only unleashes them at the very end.