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What could be new or different about a recording of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, A Night on Bald Mountain, or his atmospheric short piece Dawn on the Moscow River? These works have already been recorded by virtually all of the world’s great orchestras, from the Berlin to Cleveland. And most of the great conductors, from Boulez to Solti, have committed performances to disk.

But if you think there is nothing new to say about these works, you could be mistaken. A new recording of them from the Russian National Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Ponti, reveals something surprising. By playing these works simply and idiomatically and allowing the brass to ring out strongly, Ponti allows something to emerge that seems authentic, Russian, rough-hewn and often thrilling.  (Note that Pictures is played using Ravel’s orchestration in this recording, while A Night on Bald Mountain and Dawn on the Moscow River use orchestrations by Rimsky-Korsakov.)

By playing old, something new happens. Be sure to enjoy this release on Classical Archives. +�