Philippe Jordan's 2017 release on Erato brings together Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, as orchestrated by Maurice Ravel, and Sergei Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1 in D major, "Classical," two popular works that showcase the orchestra brilliantly. Originally composed for piano, Pictures at an Exhibition is a virtuoso showpiece for pianists, and Ravel, inspired by Mussorgsky's attempt to translate paintings into sound, used the orchestra to give the work vivid tone colors and richer textures. Prokofiev composed the Classical Symphony away from the piano, finding it more helpful for developing his themes. Yet he took the modest 18th century symphony into the modern era, introducing piquant dissonances and abrupt key changes to tweak conservative sensibilities, and playfully used the orchestra in ways Haydn and Mozart never imagined. Jordan and the Orchestre de l'Opéra National de Paris deliver vigorous performances of both works, and the exceptional recording brings out the clarity of the parts and Jordan's subtle phrasing and shading of sonorities.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Pictures at an Exhibition|
|Symphony No. 1 in D, Op. 25 'Classical'|