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Reviews: Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, Night on a Bare Mountain, Songs and Dances of Death - Furlanetto, Gergiev

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Review by Luukas October 6, 2015 (4 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
Compared to Gergiev's earlier account with the Wiener Philharmoniker (Philips), this updated Mariinsky approach is little bit better, but just little.
The first work of the disc is the familiar "Pictures at an Exhibition", orchestrated by Maurice Ravel. I found many things to enjoy here: for example the fourth movement, "The Old Castle", is very beautiful in its serenity. But unfortunately the last movement, "The Great Gate of Kiev", is uninteresting here - Gergiev's tempo choice is too fast - although it is "alla breve" [two beats per bar] - and the opening "Promenande" sounds common.
The next work is "Songs and Dances of the Death", which is here arranged by Dmitri Shostakovich. Furlanetto has a deep and clear voice, but the baritone Martti Talvela did a better recording (BIS). Shostakovich's arrangement isn't for my taste: Kalevi Aho's orchestration is more colorful.
The last piece is "Night on a Bare Mountain". Gergiev offers a dramatic view of the original score.
The wide-ranging 5.0 surround sound (which is mostly produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Vladimir Ryabenko) captures perfectly the spacious acoustics of the new Mariinsky Concert Hall. The rears are used for the ambience - sometimes I heard the sound of the trumpets from the rears - and the crystal clear DSD format offers more instrumental details for us.

Summary: Good disc for the novices. My own favorite is Claudio Abbado's interpretation with the Berliner Philharmoniker (DG, CD Stereo only). On SACD there is an excellent achievement by Paavo Järvi (Telarc)

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