Related Links

Recommended Links

Give the Composers Timeline Poster

Site News

What's New for
Winter 2018/2019?

Site Search

Follow us on
Facebook    Twitter


In association with
Amazon UKAmazon GermanyAmazon CanadaAmazon FranceAmazon Japan

CD Universe



Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

CD Review

Modest Mussorgsky

  • Pictures at an Exhibition (orch. Ravel)
  • Night on Bald Mountain
Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig/Igor Markevich
Berlin 2139 (Koch) 43min
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon Japan

Markevich leads a ponderous, leaden, and curiously gray account of the usually sure-fire Ravel orchestration of Pictures. His clipped, staccato approach to articulation has all the charm and subtlety of an overactive machine gun. Even though Bernstein's tempos (Sony Royal Edition) are almost uniformly slower, his lively accents, pointed phrasing, and dramatic flair all make this recording sound hopelessly routine and flaccid.

The breathless opening of Markevich's Night on Bald Mountain flies past in one big blur, while the slower concluding pages lack either character or distinction. The recording was very closely miked, and solo instruments have been artificially highlighted. The Leipzig strings sound dangerously threadbare, while the brass playing is raucous and unrefined. The squawking trumpet in 'Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle' is particularly annoying. I'd object to Berlin's scanty playing time if the performances were better.

Copyright © 1996, Tom Godell