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SACD Review

Modest Mussorgsky

Mercury Living Presence 434346

Pictures at an Exhibition

Byron Janis, piano
Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra/Antál Doráti
Mercury Living Presence 434346-2 Hybrid Multichannel SACD
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The spectacular sounds of Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's masterpiece, 'Pictures at an Exhibition' truly are tailor made for Mercury's Living Presence sound and I was completely bowled over by the magnificence exuded by this superbly remastered disc.

Byron Janis plays what may be termed as one of the finest ever interpretations of the solo piano version of 'Pictures' bringing a unique insight into the famous 'Promenades', 'The Old Castle', 'Catacombs' and the resplendent 'Great Gate of Kiev'.

Two short Chopin pieces are also brilliantly played by Janis whilst Doráti's version of Pictures with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra needs no introduction to the seasoned audiophile. As already mentioned, the sound is absolutely mind boggling on all counts, with the Finale truly apocalyptic.

When I am faced with such discs, I really am at a loss at what to write, such is the perfection and beauty of the interpretations and recordings. As always in this Mercury series, notes and presentation are of the highest standards with the former also including reminiscence from the great Byron Janis himself. Great stuff then and if you have an SACD player, more power to your bugle!

Copyright © 2005, Gerald Fenech

Trumpet