Saturday, March 03, 2007

228. Emerson Lake And Palmer - Pictures At An Exhibtion (1971)

Track Listing

1. Promenade
2. Gnome
3. Promenade
4. Sage
5. Old Castle
6. Blues Variation
7. Promenade
8. Hut of Baba Yaga
9. Curse of Baba Yaga
10. Hut of Baba Yaga
11. Great Gates of Kiev
12. Nut Rocker


Some decades ago Modest Mussorgsky made this pretty piano music inspired by some paintings he'd seen. Some decades later Maurice Ravel made an adaptation for it for orchestra. And now ELP do it for PROG! YEAH BABY!

It's another traditional Prog Wankathon tm, but it does have its charms. Firstly the source material is pretty amazing, even my girlfriend who hates this album cried when the Great Gates Of Kiev came on when we went to see the Ravel version at the Bridgewater Hall. It is pretty powerful music and all the Russian composers (I'm excluding Tchaykovsky here) are pretty moving composers. And really the ELP version isn't that bad an adaptation.

There are some interesting elements to this album, firstly it's live and that makes it more impressive, secondly it seems like the Isle Of Wight festival had a whole contingent of Mussorgsky lovers, since as when they state at the beggining "We're gonna give you Pictures At An Exhibition", the crowd goes wild... this has always puzzled me, in the many years I've perused this album.

Then you have to imagine how complex it was to do the things that are done to that Moog live! Expert knob twisting Greg! All in all self-indulgent if very interesting album... and now waiting for 1001 Classical Pieces You Must Hear Before You Die! Buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Listing

1. The Curse Of Baba Yaga
2. Old Castle
3. Blues Variation
4. The Sage

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

There was also a video made of a different live performance. This had a limited theatrical release in 1973, and a remastered DVD release with Dolby surround sound in 2000. This performance is notable for the energy passed by the three young musicians. Being a live album, sometimes Keith Emerson's voltage-controlled synthesizer sometimes plays the wrong notes, apparently due to power supply problems.

This album produced much discussion, and has many lovers, who think the band did a great job arranging Mussorgsky's piece in an entirely different way, and adding some songs by themselves. On the other hand, this album is hated by an equal amount of people, with many rock fans finding it boring and self-indulgent, and fans of Mussorgky's work deeming it as a complete desecration of his work.

The Whole Album!:

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