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Emerson Lake & Palmer - Pictures At An Exhibition CD (album) cover


Emerson Lake & Palmer


Symphonic Prog

3.86 | 896 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

2 stars From Aaron Copland's "Hoedown" to Alberto Ginastera's "Toccata", interpreting the classics became the hallmark of progressive rock trio Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. Perhaps their most ambitious interpretation was one they tackled early on, Modest Mussorgky's "Pictures At an Exhibition", in 1972. While remaining true to the original composition in only a few places, this piece is wrought with so much artistic license as to shine the spotlight on all that is wrong with progressive rock.

The "Promenade" themes are mostly true to the Mussorgsky originals, and "the Gnome" is a fair rock adaptation. However, "The Sage" and "Blues Variations" are simply unwelcome additions, yet with more to come. "The Hut of Baba Yaga" is perhaps the closest to a faithful rock adaptation on this album, but alas another unwelcome addition comes in the form of "The Curse of Baba Yaga". The most shocking of the unwelcome additions comes with the added lyrics to "The Great Gates of Kiev". What was Greg Lake thinking? Finally, the fun yet disappointing "Nutrocker", which is itself an adaptation of "March" from Tchaikovsky's the Nutcracker, proves to be the final curtain to a pretentious and pompous musical endeavor.

Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's other classical adaptations are in fact excellent, especially "Toccata", which Ginastera himself loved. Perhaps at this stage they hadn't figured out how to perfect the art of the classical to rock interpretation. Whatever the reason, Pictures At an Exhibition is quite simply filler for the ELP collection and is not recommended.

jimidom | 2/5 |


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