December 11, 2008
Modest Mussorgsky; Pictures at an Exhibition and other orchestral works; Cincinnati Symphony conducted by Paavo Järvi; Telarc 80705
Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky were the same age and were undoubtedly the most important Russian composers of the 19th century. Tchaikovsky was more popular, but the two shared equal depth in mentality and compositions. This recording of only Mussorgsky’s music—and I admit, of his most popular music— proves his excellence. “Pictures at an Exhibition” was originally written for piano only, and as such it is a masterpiece. Many composers have looked at this work and saw it also as a symphonic poem. There are many orchestrations. Ravel’s orchestration is the most famous and most often recorded. Paavo Järvi and the excellent Cincinnati Symphony made a worthy performance of this brilliant music.