The pairing of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition with Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Album for the Young, Op. 39 on this 2015 release from ABC Classics is a study of contrasting performance styles, though pianist Simon Tedeschi plays both works with appropriate expressions and deep understanding of the music in both cases. Bringing his prodigious technique to Pictures, Tedeschi gives a virtuoso performance that offers bold dynamics and striking tone colors that only a true artist can draw out of a piano. One may be reminded of the various orchestral versions of the work, though Tedeschi's "orchestration" of Mussorgsky's original for piano involves varieties of attack and touch that show off the keyboard's sonorities to their fullest. Tedeschi uses a smaller palette of colors in the collection of short children's pieces, and in contrast to Mussorgsky's exotic and vivid images, Tchaikovsky's focus on childhood and mostly domesticated subjects is narrower, so the style of playing is necessarily quieter and more introspective. Yet Tedeschi is a master of subtle understatement, so the private ambience of the Album for the Young is, for him, an opportunity to demonstrate control and subtlety. ABC's reproduction captures all the nuances of Tedeschi's execution, so the qualities he finds in the music are readily heard in the recording.
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
(CD - ABC Classics #ABC 48119639)