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A Compelling Magnetism

Elena Kuschnerova
plays Musorgsky -
heard by
HOWARD SMITH

''... superbly evocative ...''

Modest Mussorgsky: Bilder einer Ausstellung; Kalvierstücke. Elena Kuschnerova. © 2002 Orfeo International Music GmbH

Recordings of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (composed 1874, in print 1886) are more numerous than I care to list.

Many pianists now before the public mould this work as though the pictures are those of a steel foundry, a category five hurricane or jet engine testing facility, not an art gallery.

Some however are considered vital for any serious collector -- especially those of Richter (Sofia live, 1958, Philips 464734), Horowitz (Carnegie Hall, 1951, RCA 60321), Byron Janis (1961, Mercury Living Presence 434346) and Julius Katchen (The Art of Julius Katchen Vol 4, 1951-1955, Decca 4608312).

The Mussorgsky Pictures are memorial piano depictions of ten drawings and watercolors produced by the composer's friend, architect and artist Victor Hartmann (1834-1873).

Alongside the majority of newer recordings, Elena Kuschnerova is contrastingly atmospheric with Hartman's images seen in veiled half lights: the old castle is from the mists of former times, the catacombs alive with ancient spirits, kids of the Tuileries are children, not scallywags...

Copyright © 2 January 2011 Howard Smith,
Masterton, New Zealand

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CD INFORMATION: ELENA KUSCHNEROVA - MODEST MUSSORGSKY

MODEST MUSORGSKY

PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION

PARIS

RUSSIA

PIANO

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