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A Night On Bare Mountain/Mussorgsky/Leibowitz

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Uploaded on Jan 31, 2008

Rare and amazing! Rene Leibowitz conducts The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, 1962. Audio only.

"Power Of The Orchestra - US (RCA RedSeal VCS-2659) 1962 Stereo."

The idea of a work based on the fantasy of the Witches' Sabbath long fascinated Moussorgsky, and he wrote several versions of the work now known as 'A Night on Bare Mountain'. The first was for piano and orchestra, the second an orchestral setting. He reworked the material for chorus and orchestra and then reworked it again for inclusion in his unfinished opera, 'Sorotchinsk Fair'. After Moussorgsky's death, his friend and colleague Rimsky-Korsakoff felt none of these compositions would be effective in performance, so he wrote an 'orchestral fantasy' based on Moussorgsky's various versions. For this recording, Rene Leibowitz wrote a new version after extensive research of all the available Moussorgsky and Rimsky-Korsakoff material.

In a letter dated July 12, 1867, Moussorgsky spoke of the program that inspired him. "If I remember aright, witches used to assemble on that mountain, there to jabber and disport themselves pending Satan's arrival. When he appeared, they formed a circle around his throne and glorified him. When he felt sufficiently stimulated by their praise, he gave the signal for the Sabbath to begin...Well, that's how I've done the thing! (1) the assembling, the jabber and prank; (2) Satan's train; (3) the obscene glorification, and (4) the Sabbath."

Rene Leibowitz (1913-1972) was born in Warsaw but moved to Paris in his teens and there began a long, illustrious conducting career. Particularly interested in contemporary music, he studied with Webern and Schoenberg and wrote a detailed analysis of twelve-tone music. A keen ear for instrumental coloration (Ravel was his orchestration teacher) was evident in his kaleidoscopic transcriptions of such works as Bach's 'Passacaglia and Fugue in C (for double orchestra!). But he is best known for his often highly personal renditions of many staples of the Classical and Romantic repertoire.

If you liked Rene's sound on this, be sure to listen to the other side of the album, 'Pictures At An Exhibition' for an equally amazing performance. (3-Parts, 30 min. total)

Here's the link to Part-1 (Pictures) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5tOVQ...
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Also, Bach's 'Passacaglia and Fugue in C' (double orchestra) is amazing. Here's the link to Part-1 (of 2) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUE2bV...

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