Mussorgsky & Balogh: Exhibitions

László Borbély

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Original Recording Format: DXD
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A Guided Tour of a Rearranged Exhibition

Much has been written about Mussorgsky’s emblematic piano work Pictures At An Exhibition. Allow me here to offer listeners not a complex analysis, but rather my personal (sometimes poetic, but in any case very subjective) impressions. I do this also because in this case, not only Mussorgsky’s works and those of the painter who inspired him, Viktor Hartmann, form the basis of our “museum walk”, but also the reflections of Máté Balogh. Six of his piano pieces are embedded in Mussorgsky’s cycle and can be heard on this album, similar to the way in which the paintings in an exhibition interact with each other.

Balogh’s Dance of the Little Chicks recalls Mussorgsky only at a distance, as it were, in its manner; here, short, hair-thin fragments of phrases flutter in the wind in completely unpredictable, improvisatory units of time. Here we see chicks wondering at the world. In the (often only implied) two-voice dialogue of the dramatic Schmuÿle & Samuel Goldenberg movement, the two arguing Jews are presented in a manner similar to Mussorgsky, yet here the conflict between the two men seems to be ‘straightened’ or ‘frozen’.

The Great News in the Catacombs is an exciting tableau, a medley of different musical elements; the work begins with a material which is powerful and monolithic by itself, then its rhythm thins out and thickens in turn. We can also recall the essential chords of Mussorgsky’s Catacombs, as Balogh’s chordal couplets are also heard as if in an endless chordal distill. Three organums can also be heard again, forming a kind of refrain to the musical material. The epilogue of the work is almost reminiscent of Olivier Messiaen’s birds, as it demands an enormous lightness and virtuosity from its performer.

The Baba-Yaga at Bogatyr’s Gate evokes the final number of the Mussorgsky cycle both rhythmically and melodically. The more virtuosic material opposite the chords is distant-sounding, somewhat hidden, but in its energy it recalls the fiery momentum of the earlier Baba-Yaga movement. It only breaks out at the end of the movement, when the two materials melt into one another and flow like lava into the sonic depths.

This album is available in Stereo DSD 512, DSD 256, DSD 128, DSD 64 and DXD exclusively at NativeDSD. It is not available on SACD.

László Borbély, Pianist 

Tracklist

Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
1.
Promenade
01:30
2.
The Gnome
02:59
3.
Moderato comodo assai e con delicatezza (Promenade)
00:49
4.
The Old Castle
04:38
5.
The Gnome in the Old Castle
02:15
6.
Moderato non tanto, pesantemente (Promenade)
00:27
7.
The Tuileries (Dispute between Children after Play)
01:02
8.
Cattle
02:39
9.
Bydlo in the Tuileries
01:39
10.
Tranquillo (Promenade)
00:51
11.
Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
01:01
12.
„Samuel” Goldenberg and „Schmuÿle”
02:18
13.
Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks
01:49
14.
Schmuÿle & Samuel Goldenberg
04:03
15.
Promenade
01:26
16.
The Market at Limoges (The Big News)
01:27
17.
Catacombs (Roman Sepulcher)
02:11
18.
With the Dead in a Dead Language
02:02
19.
The Big News in the Catacombs
03:35
20.
Baba-Yaga at the Bogatyr Gate
01:21
21.
The Hut on Hen's Legs (Baba-Yaga)
03:25
22.
The Heroic Gate (in the Old Capital of Kiev)
05:14

Total time: 00:48:41

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HRES2302

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Original Recording Format

Release DateMarch 21, 2023

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