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MODEST MUSSORGSKY - PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION - SIMON RATTLE (Conductor) - BERLIN PHILHARMONIC - 5099951758226 - Warner Classics 5099951758226

A very fine new recording of this Russian masterpiece, captured live on New Year's Eve 2007. This great russian masterwork orginally written for piano to re-create in music the subjects of paintings by Victor Hartmann, a close friend of Mussorgsky, was later orchestrated by Maurice Ravel in 1922. It has since become a favourite firework showpiece, displaying an orchestra's virtuosity, polish and dynamic range.

This performance by Rattle plays the work straight-up, as a showpiece, giving the spotlight to every instrument when it is due. The Catacombs and the rousing Great Gates of Kiev are the highlights of this recording.

The remainder of the concert features a truly great rendering of Borodin's second symphony, which has a solid sonic impact here, and a rousing performance of his perennial favourite, the Polovtsian Dances.

Jean-Yves Duperron