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

PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION

Emerson Lake & Palmer

 

Symphonic Prog

3.84 | 703 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars You need courage and an over dimensioned ego to attempt recreating a Mussorgsky masterpiece as "Pictures at an Exhibition", well Emerson, Lake and Palmer have both, and they even go further than most of the musicians who adapt classics to rock because they accepted to do it entirely on stage instead of using a controlled environment as a studio.

Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer move like fishs in the water with Mussorgsky's music, because the late Romantic/early Modern Russian classical period is an evident influence in all their works (just check Palmer's "The Enemy God Dances With The Black Spirits" which is an excerpt from "The Scythian Suite" 2nd Movement by Serge Prokofiev or Piano Concerto N° 1 by Keith Emerson with a clear Rachmaninoff aroma).

By his side Greg Lake softens the aggressive and cold instrumentation with his warm vocals and powerful voice.

There are two critics I always listen about this album:

- The composition itself is totally different to the original piece: True, but IMHO covers must not be played like the author did it because it would be a simple copy or interpretation, the adapter must recreate the whole work adding something of their own inspiration, and that's what ELP does.

- Emerson goes too far with his keyboards: Again true, but isn't progressive Rock exactly about that? An artistic boundary is made to be broken and ELP did it in front of an audience that probably never heard the original piece before.

"Pictures at an Exhibition" is not an album to be listened every day, but each time I pllay it only want to thank the trio for having the audacity to do it in 1971 when Prog' Rock was still young, showing the way to other musicians who were afraid of crossing some limits.

A special mention for Nutrocker, an adaptation of another adaptation by Kim Fowley from B. Bumble & the Stingers, not a masterpiece but is a good closer because rises the audience that had to be shocked back in 1971 after something so unique.

I used to give 5 stars to this album, but Trilogy and Brain Salad Surgery are incredibly better than this one, so four stars woould be ok.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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