RCA Living Stereo Classical LPs – the Gold Standard for Top Quality Orchestral Performance and Sound!
Remastered from the Original Master Tape by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound and Now Cut as 200g 45RPM 2LP-Set!
RCA's "golden age" was more like a "golden minute" - in a scant period, roughly from 1958 to 1963, the beginning of the stereo era - pure vacuum tube amplification helped produce recordings demonstrating unparalleled fidelity and warmth, lifelike presence and midband illumination. Here we have another sonic and musical blockbuster from the unbeatable combo of Fritz Reiner and RCA recorded in 1957 at Chicago's Orchestra Hall.
Mussorgsky's inspiration for Pictures at an Exhibition was the death of his dear friend, the architect and visual artist Victor Hartman. The piece is known today primarily through the orchestral version created by Maurice Ravel in 1922. In fact, the work had already been orchestrated multiple times, by a variety of lesser names. Some conductors today find that Ravel's version, in spite of its color, sacrifices some of the coarse nature inherent in Mussorgsky's piano original. Furthermore, Ravel worked from Rimsky-Korsakov's edited version of the piano part - the only one available at the time - which changed some notes and rhythms.
None of the orchestrations, however, change the fundamental spirit of the piece. Mussorgsky imagines himself making his way down the hallway that showcased his late friend's work, with his stately procession represented by the Promenade that opens the piece and returns several times. Upon stopping at each image, he reflects on what he sees. Between the early movements, the Promenade returns regularly, as Mussorgsky is conscious of moving from one scene to the next. As the work progresses, however, he becomes less aware of the interval between pictures, and more immersed in the continuous psychological experience of moving from one state of mind to the next. By the end, the composer sees himself transformed by the connection with Hartman through his visual expressions of Russian pride and humanity.
Remastered from the original master tape – now cut at 45 RPM by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound. Lacquers plated by Gary Salstrom and pressed on 200-gram double vinyl at Quality Record Pressings. Deluxe gatefold jacket from Stoughton Printing.
"Grade: A+. Once again, as good as I've heard this record sound. Gorgeous strings, superb bass, avalanche dynamics with that same tape-like ease, sensational inner detail. The authority of the CSO is really something on fortissimo tuttis, of which there are many in Pictures." – Jonathan Valin, The Absolute Sound
Modest Mussorgsky, composer
Maurice Ravel, arrangement
Fritz Reiner, conductor
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
• 200g 45rpm 2LP-set from Analogue Productions
• RCA Living Stereo classical LPs – the gold standard for top quality orchestral performance and sound
• Remastered from the original master tape – now cut at 45 RPM by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound
• Lacquers plated by Gary Salstrom
• Pressed at Quality Record Pressings
• Deluxe gatefold jacket from Stoughton Printing