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This approach struck me as though Markevitch wanted to extract every ounce of the rough-hewn nature of Mussorgskys music.
He carries this into Gnomus, wherein he has his string players remove the slurs from all the six-note figures that are heard in this movement; here the approach works somewhat better than in the Promenade.
Im not sure how much blame to lay at the feet of the recording engineer, who has produced sonics that are no more than tolerable, and in several places (e.g., the beginning of Great Gate) distinctly bass-shy.
Tuilleries in Markevitchs hands is much too relaxed, although his approach works somewhat better in the middle section of the movement, beginning at measure 14.
R E V I E W: The ancient Greek polymath Eratosthenes (c. 195 BC) was nicknamed Beta after the second letter in the Greek alphabet, for supposedly being second best in many things but not the very best in anything. I found his reading serviceable, but not inspired, there being numerous matters to quibble about.
This latest Brilliant Classics collection fills that billing to a T (instead of a B); while none of the items included in it is a first choice, many of them are very worthy second choices that lovers of Mussorgskys music will want for their collections. After a fine opening trumpet solo in the first Promenade, in measure nine the phrasing becomes a choppy and disjointed sequence of notes.
- Excellent, mostly Russian performances by great singers like Boris Christoff (Boris Godunow), Nikolai Gedda, Sergei Leiferkus (songs), conductor Igor Markevich, pianist Alexander Warenberg (magnificent Pictures) and others.
- The largest survey of Mussorgsky's music on CD, the only Edition on the market!
The solo saxophone in Il vecchio Castello produces a sound that almost seems as though it was blended with that of an English horn, whereas the solo tenor tuba in Byd?
But in many ways the songs lie at the heart of Mussorgsky's output, not least because they are our purest access to the composer's imagination, the larger-scale pieces sometimes needing and in any case receiving extensive intervention from later admirers and composers such as Rimsky-Korsakov and Shostakovich, who wanted Mussorgsky's music to survive way beyond his drunken and chaotic life.
Other information: - Mussorgsky left many of his works unfinished, or even destroyed them.
- A worthy successor to the Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Borodin Editions. - Booklet contains introduction to Mussorgsky and his music by Malcolm Macdonald.
- Sung texts and extensive booklet notes available at