Emerson, Lake and Palmer did my favorite version of this work.
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Yeah, I have the ELP version on vinyl, and it's a lot of fun. In fact, it's what introduced me to the piece to begin with. I love the orchestral version, too.
I have a several versions on LP. Early London Digitally Recorded LP's with no sense of depth at all... They're just bright.
Gawdbless, how's the Bernstein version for sonics?
If you want the 'best' get an original RCA LP of Reiner and the CSO, an outstanding recording of an outstanding performance. You'll get a feeling for what RCA Living Stereo is all about if you haven't already heard them on a good system. But it may not be as assessible as you wish. I'd bet it would cost a 'bit'. In the alternative find a RCA .5 edition, it is almost as good and should be easier to find and relatively inexpensive. I can't speak to the quality of the SACD/Hybrid reissues.
15 minutes later - I just listened to the Reiner edition on the original CD. Its flat dimensionally - still a great performance but not a demo disc.
Now the good news about something you didn't ask for - demo quality Mussorgsky on the cheap. BUT it is the Stokowski Transcriptions by Jose Sebebrier and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra on Naxos. Try it. Not only a BIG piece, musically speaking it is a break from the Ravel Orchestration.
At RMAF 2007 I heard an incredible transcription for pipe organ of the Pictures At An Exhibition. . . unfortunately I remember neither the label nor the organist. Particularly, The Great Gates Of Kiev was overwhelming both sonically and musically. . . I may have heard it in the Nordost suite amongst other places. If anyone heard it please post the release info. G.
The Maazel/Cleveland version, the Reiner/CSO version on RCA, and the Bernstein/NYPO are all good. I think I probably prefer the Maazel on CD. The two piano versions I like are the Richter recording with BBC (probably considered the classic), and one by Yevgeny Kissin - very well-recorded and excellent musicianship (then again, I am a Kissin fan).
There are organ versions by Asselin (forgot his first name) and someone with a name like Arthur Mills; once upon a time I looked for PAAE on organ and never got around to buying one. I can imagine a good transcription would be fantastic.
If you can find the 45 rpm Reiner Classic Reissue, wow. Reveal more of the CSO's sensitive playing which is desirable since Reiner keeps pretty tight reigns and I, personally, found it a little off-putting at first, while listening to the SACD. I also found Ansermet's refreshing on London ffss or SXL.
Spank, the piano version is not a transcription. . . Modesto Mussorgsky scored the Pictures for piano. Later composers and conductors applied their talents to transcribing the work for orchestra, organ and. . . rock band (although the ELP version is strictly speaking a derivative pastiche and not a transcription per se). G.
Guidocorona, the version you are probably referring to is a transcription for organ by and played by Jean Guillou. It was recorded in Tonhalle, Zurich 1988 (Dorian DOR-0117). This recording contains bass notes down to 16HZ!!!
Rebbi, other versions worth a listen: Markevitch/Berliner Philharmoniker (in mono) on Deutschgrammophon (00289 477 5479), Sargent/London Symphony Orchestra on Everest (reissue available) and with Pierre Hétu/Orchestre Mondial des Jeunesses musicales on Musicus LP MS2-45101 (pressed in 45 RPM) musically ordinary but sonically outstanding.
For the original piano version, I like Wonny Song on 21 Records label (XXI-CD 2 1553)
Thank you Goldorak. not surprised the transcription is also by Jean Guillou. He is an amazing artist that I have had the fortune of hearing live in Milano when I was in my early teens. . . he is also a fantastic improviser of impromptu organ symphonies on themes provided by the live audience. GFunny thing is that I heard him at the concert season organize for young audiences by that very Jeunesses musicales that you mention in the Hetu recording.
I listen to the Guillou/Dorian version the most these days.
Great sound and deep pipe organ notes as noted. Artistically the performace is different enough to keep this old standard piece interesting.
The ELP version is fun also.
I think there may be a version on MErcury Living presence in which case I'd be willing to place bets that it would sound quite nice and refreshing in a retro kind of way as well.