Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Pictures At An Exhibition (1971)

AllMusic Review: One of the seminal documents of the progressive rock era, a record that made its way into the collections of millions of high-school kids who never heard of Modest Mussorgsky and knew nothing of Russia’s Nationalist “Five.” It does some violence to Mussorgsky, but Pictures at an Exhibition is also the most energetic and well-realized live release in Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s catalog, and it makes a fairly compelling case for adapting classical pieces in this way. At the time, it introduced “classical rock” to millions of listeners, including the classical community, most of whose members regarded this record as something akin to an armed assault. The early-’70s live sound is a little crude by today’s standards, but the tightness of the playing (Carl Palmer is especially good) makes up for any sonic inadequacies. Keith Emerson is the dominant musical personality here, but Greg Lake and Palmer get the spotlight enough to prevent it from being a pure keyboard showcase. — Bruce Eder

Track Listing:

 

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. “Promenade” Modest Mussorgsky, arranged by Keith Emerson 1:58
2. “The Gnome” Mussorgsky, Carl Palmer 4:18
3. “Promenade” Mussorgsky, arranged by Greg Lake 1:23
4. “The Sage” Lake 4:42
5. “The Old Castle” Mussorgsky, Emerson 2:33
6. “Blues Variation” Emerson, Lake, Palmer 4:22
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Length
7. “Promenade” Mussorgsky, arranged by Emerson 1:29
8. “The Hut of Baba Yaga” Mussorgsky, arranged by Emerson 1:12
9. “The Curse of Baba Yaga” Emerson, Lake, Palmer 4:10
10. “The Hut of Baba Yaga” Mussorgsky, arranged by Emerson 1:06
11. “The Great Gates of Kiev” Mussorgsky, Lake 6:37
12. “Nut Rocker” Tchaikovsky, Kim Fowley, arranged by Emerson, Lake, Palmer 4:26

 

 

Schill Score: 4/10

 

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