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Mussorgsky's Pictures with orchestrations other than Ravel's

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:15 am
by RebLem
I would like some help.

I love Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, but I am not terribly fond of the Ravel orchestration. I know there is one by Stokowski and I have it. I am not impressed by it, either, frankly.

But I do recall hearing a broadcast tape oh, maybe, 20 or more years ago--I think it was a Cleveland Orchestra broadcast--of a then new orchestration by a contemporary Russian arranger. It received lukewarm if not outright negative reviews at the time, but I thought is was wonderful. It was not bombastic, as the Ravel is. No great, crashing lease breaker climaxes, but it sounded very idiomatically Russian to me, and very satisfying.

Does anyone here know who the arranger was, and/or whether or not there is a recording of this orchestration available someplace?

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 5:33 am
by david johnson
i like the ravel, i don't like the stokowski. i am aware of the transcription you're reffering to, but i do know who did it.

i'm interested in hearing lucien calliet's. i think ormandy recorded it once.
any of the ring the bell??

Orchestral Arrangements
An attempt at a complete listing of orchestral arrangements of Pictures at an Exhibition is made here:

Michael Touschmaloff (?1886; 3 'Pictures' and 4 'Promenades' omitted);
Henry Wood (1915; 4 'Promenades' omitted);
Leo Funtek (1922);
Maurice Ravel (1922; '[Promenade V]' omitted);
Giuseppe Becce (1922; for 'Salon-Orchestra');
Leonidas Leonardi (1924);
Lucien Cailliet (1937);
Leopold Stokowski (1938; 'Tuileries' and 'Limoges' omitted);
Walter Goehr (1942; includes a subsidiary part for piano);
Sergei Gortschakow (1954);
Lawrence Leonard (1977; for Piano and Orchestra);
Vladimir Ashkenazy (1982);
Thomas Wilbrandt (1992);


Emile Naoumoff :version piano & orchestra

Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2006 8:01 am
I haven't heard this version....
On the Wergo label

Paraphrase, Orchestration, and Cadenzas by Emile Naoumoff
composer: Modest Mussorgskij - Emile Naoumoff
conductor: Igor Blaschkow
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin

A French critic wrote about Emile Naoumoff's orchestration of "Pictures at an Exhibition": "When he took hold of this mythical work, Naoumoff forgot the arrangements of a Ravel or an Ashkenazy and transformed it triumphantly into a true piano concerto [...]. A work whose success is easily explained by its color, panache, radiance, and supreme fidelity to the spirit of the original, and which may well prompt other pianists to adopt it into their repertoires!" (from Pierre Petit's article "Du Panache" which appeared in "Le Figaro")
This Cd contains also a work by Naoumoff himself: Méditation for piano and orchestra
In other publications (Diapason etc.) the works was less well received!

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:01 pm
by johnshade
I have a CD with Askenazy playing the original piano version and, on the same CD, conducting his orchestration. If you don't like the Ravel, you may like the heavier, Russian-influenced Ashkenazy version.

Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:54 am
by CharmNewton
david johnson wrote: i'm interested in hearing lucien calliet's. i think ormandy recorded it once.
I had the Ormandy recording of Calliet's arrangement on Victor 78s. I checked to see if I still had the set, but I don't, and nothing about it stands out in my memory, only that it was quite different from the Ravel. It may have been re-issued on LP on the Camden label and possibly on CD on Biddulph, but that will take further digging.


Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 2:58 am
by jbuck919
The only Russian orchestration I ever heard, and I can't remember the details, was quite good. In fact, it sounded exactly like Ravel's orchestration, with the exception of using an English horn instead of a saxaphone in 'Il Vecchio Castello" (an improvement). Some things can only be done one way.

Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:13 pm
by johnQpublic
It's not what you're looking for but I have a score & LP of a transcription for brass ensemble by Elgar Howarth.

Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 5:03 am
by Eetu Pellonpää
Have you heard Emerson, Lake & Palmer's version of it with rock instruments? :wink:

Posted: Sun Jan 22, 2006 1:54 pm
by Dalibor
I know only Ravels version and find it very good, except "Baby Yaga" which came out more sparse than I would like. For me, this version could be bettered only by a very inventive musician, and who would use some modern stuido techniques.

Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 9:21 am
by Ralph
I've always liked the Funtek which has a certain raw quality.