Mussorgsky: ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ sans Ravel

A good way to prepare for this week’s performances by Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” in Ravel’s incomparable orchestration is to hear the piece in its original version, for solo piano.

Here’s Alice Sara Ott playing it live.

Tickets for this week’s performances are here.

Mussorgsky: ‘Night on Bald Mountain,’ original version

Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky was born on this date (Old Style) in 1839.

Here’s the seldom-heard original version of his “Night on Bald Mountain.” The work is most familiar in a rather radical arrangement made by Rimsky-Korsakov. In many ways, what Rimsky-Korsakov did is an improvement. But this original version, though messy in details and in form, has a certain primitive grit, charm and spirit.

Claudio Abbado conducts the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.