C0051. YURI TEMIRKANOV Cond. Royal Phil.: Pictures at an Exhibition; Khovantschina – Prelude; w.SERGEI LEIFERKIS: Songs and Dances of Death (all Mussorgsky). RCA RD60195,recorded 1989-1990. Long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 017685086825
“This reissue of Temirkanov's Royal Philharmonic Mussorgsky disc features a remastering of the original digital recording. The results are quite spectacular. As for the performances, they are something of a mixed bag. The performance of Shostakovich's orchestrations from 1962 of the Songs and Dances of Death is superb. Sergei Leiferkus is a brilliant soloist, and the accompaniment is beautifully etched. The booklet contains excellent translations of the songs, which make a compelling read in their own right. As for Pictures at an Exhibition, it is a very individual reading. Some of the pictures are taken quite slowly, although never as slowly as in Sergiu Celibadache's marmoreal account. The big moments near the end come off beautifully, though, and you may feel that the slower parts have been worth it in reaching this sort of culmination. Nevertheless, if you have a mainstream ‘Pictures’ in your collection and are looking for something to challenge your preconceptions about the work, Temirkanov's performance would be a very good choice.”
- David Saemann
"As a major symphonic blockbuster, listeners are severely spoiled for choice when it comes to Mussorgsky's classic Pictures at an Exhibition. A full list of recordings would stretch out into infinity, no doubt. But even with a crammed library, this reading by Yuri Temirkanov with the Royal Phil begs for attention. It is intrinsically Russian, dark sounding, and full of virile passion. It comes as a breath of fresh air, since most recordings have veered towards sounding polished and refined. I can't speak a word against the splendor of recordings from Karajan or Bernstein, the latter being a marvel of youthful energy and sensitivity, yet to hear raw Russian fervor is good for a change.
There's nothing scrappy about this performance, but it's certainly rugged, with no attempt for sophistication. Almost from the start, with the ‘Gnomus’ movement, the strings dig in with organic abandon, casting all caution to the wind. As much as I enjoy Valery Gergiev's reading with the Vienna Phil, with its striking sensitivity and nuance, it certainly never sounded barbaric, so to hear another great Russian find his niche is thrilling.
Much the same can be said about the Songs and Dances of Death that fills out the program, only there's considerably less competition. Sergei Leiferkus is convincing and Temirkanov's accompaniment is brilliantly dismal and harrowing.
Temirkanov's reading on the Picturesh has enough individuality to beg for another listen. Actually, even if this warhorse has outstayed its welcome, Temirkanov is novel and original enough that this may be the very reading to justify overexposure….there's still something very refreshing about this reading.”
- Andrew R. Barnard