Berlin Philharmonic/Simon Rattle:
• Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition
• Borodin – Symphony No. 2
When I was a boy of 14, my family spent one year living in Vienna, Austria. And I’ll always remember being taken by my father at 11 AM on a Sunday morning to a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic. The work on the program that day was “Pictures at an Exhibition” by Modest Mussorgsky. Yes… the music made an enormous impression on me. I remember this event more than 60 years later…
This DVD features two superb Russian works: Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition as orchestrated by Maurice Ravel has been a popular work since its first performance. The Berlin Philharmonic players are especially brilliant in these large-scale works; their wonderful technique, stunning tone and sheer forcefulness have never been more evident than here.
Listen to those deep-sounding brasses, the expressive, lush tones of the strings, and the intimate lyricism of the woodwinds and you will appreciate why this orchestra is considered so special. This is a vivid performance with Sir Simon Rattle conducting. The huge orchestral finale called the Great Gate of Kiev seems to magically conjure this final picture into existence, and it is really thrilling.
Borodin’s Symphony No. 2 is a lyrical masterpiece. For me, it seems to convey the vast cold geography of Russia. There is a Slavic melancholy in much of the symphony. Sir Simon and the orchestra emphasize the sheer beauty and soulfulness of this work.
If you love these two works then you will treasure these performances by one of the world’s finest orchestras. If they are new to you, then this DVD will make a fine introduction.
Here are some extracts of the music on this DVD. It starts with Borodin and fades into Mussorgsky:
Tags: Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, Borodin Symphony #2, Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic