Pictures at an Exhibition (Emerson, Lake & Palmer album)
|Pictures at an Exhibition|
|Live album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer|
|Recorded||26 March 1971,
Newcastle City Hall,
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
|Genre||Progressive rock, symphonic rock, classical crossover|
|Emerson, Lake & Palmer chronology|
Original cover with pictures unrevealed.
Pictures at an Exhibition is an album by British progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in 1971 as a live album and re-released in 2001 as a remastered edition including both live and studio versions of Modest Mussorgsky's classical piece Pictures at an Exhibition.
The original live album was recorded at Newcastle City Hall in North East England. The opening track of the album was played on a Harrison & Harrison pipe organ which was installed in the City Hall in 1928. The organ console is some way above stage level, at the top of a stepped terrace used for choral performances. The drum roll connecting the opening track to the next served to cover Emerson's dash back down to the stage.
Due to management conflicts, the recording was not released until after Tarkus, their second studio album. The record company was reluctant to release a classical suite as an album, and insisted it be released on their classical music label instead. Fearing that this would lead to poor sales, ELP instead decided to shelve the work. After the success of their second album, however, the label agreed to release Pictures as a budget live album.
There was also a video made of a different live performance (Lyceum Theatre, 9 December 1970). This had a limited theatrical release in 1973, and a remastered DVD release with Dolby surround sound in 2000. Being a live album, sometimes Keith Emerson's voltage-controlled Moog oscillators went out of tune, due to humidity and temperature.
The original album cover, commissioned to William Neal who designed and painted every canvas, used a gatefold sleeve, depicting on the outside blank picture frames labelled with the titles of the pieces: "The Old Castle", "The Gnome", etc. The paintings were huge oil paintings full of ELP symbolism, like the Tarkus background in the "Hut" and the white dove embossed into the titanium white oil paint in "Promenade" (visible only on the original painting).
On the inner sleeve, all of the paintings were revealed, but one remains blank: "Promenade". The musical piece, of course, is not about a picture, but represents a walk through the gallery. Some CD covers use only the "revealed" version.
The band's arrangement of the suite only uses four of the original ten pieces in Mussorgsky's suite, along with the linking "Promenade". The suite was performed live as one continuous piece, with new, group-written sections linking Mussorgsky's original themes, specific track markings on pressings are only a guide. Mussorgsky's original compositions are listed in bold.
- Promenade: Organ solo (instrumental, more information see above)
- The Gnome: Group (instrumental)
- Promenade: Hammond organ and vocal
- (Interlude: short synthesizer solo, not a Mussorgsky piece)
- The Sage: A new picture "drawn" by Lake in the mood of a medieval minnesang, works as sort of romantic prelude to "The Old Castle"
- (Interlude: Moog-ribbon-controller-solo by Emerson, not a Mussorgsky piece)
- The Old Castle: The full group performs a heavily accelerated adaptation of the original theme, leading directly into the next section
- Blues Variation, a 12 bar blues credited to the group
- Promenade: Group (instrumental)
- The Hut of Baba Yaga: Group (instrumental)
- The Curse of Baba Yaga is a new title to the middle section of the original piece. The music is again an adaption of the original piece, only the lyrics and vocal is completely new to the piece
- The Hut of Baba Yaga: Group (instrumental)
- The Great Gates of Kiev is also the last picture of Mussorgsky's piano-cycle, with vocals and lyrics added by the group. The piece features a refrain in the middle containing Hammond organ feedback.
|Original LP and CD Edition|
|1.||"Promenade"||Mussorgsky, arranged by Emerson||1:58|
|2.||"The Gnome"||Mussorgsky, Palmer||4:18|
|3.||"Promenade"||Mussorgsky, Lake, arranged by Lake||1:23|
|5.||"The Old Castle"||Mussorgsky, Emerson||2:33|
|6.||"Blues Variation"||Emerson, Lake, Palmer||4:22|
|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.||"Nutrocker"||Tchaikovsky, Fowley, arranged by Emerson, Lake, Palmer||4:26|
|2001 remaster bonus|
|13.||"Pictures at an Exhibition" (studio version)
||Mussorgsky, Emerson, Lake, Palmer, Fraser||15:28|
|2008 Deluxe Edition|
|13.||"Pictures at an Exhibition" (Medley)*
|2008 Deluxe Edition Bonus Disc|
|5.||"The Old Castle"||Mussorgsky/Emerson||4:24|
|8.||"The Hut of Baba Yaga"||Mussorgsky||1:15|
|9.||"The Curse of Baba Yaga"||Emerson/Lake/Palmer||4:56|
|10.||"The Hut of Baba Yaga"||Mussorgsky||1:11|
|11.||"The Great Gates of Kiev/The End"||Mussorgsky/Lake||6:52|
|12.||"The Barbarian"||Bartók; arr. Emerson/Lake/Palmer||5:23|
- The material on the second disc was recorded at the Lyceum Theatre in December 1970.
- Keith Emerson - pipe organ, Hammond C3 and L100 Organs, Moog Modular Synthesizer, Ribbon controller, Clavinet
- Greg Lake - bass, acoustic guitar, vocals
- Carl Palmer - percussion, drums
- Producer: Greg Lake
- Engineer: Eddie Offord
- Remastering: Joseph M. Palmaccio
- Arrangers: Keith Emerson, Greg Lake
- Cover design: William Neal
- Cover painting: William Neal
- Artwork: William Neal
- Photography: Nigel Marlow, Keith Morris
- Lyrics: Greg Lake, Richard Fraser
The album reached #3 in the UK album chart in December 1971, only by virtue of the fact that budget-priced albums (of which Pictures at an Exhibition was one), were eligible for inclusion at that time. At the beginning of 1972 another change in the chart rules excluded them again, which meant that Pictures disappeared from the chart from #9 after a run of just 5 weeks.
In the US Billboard album chart it peaked at #10 in early 1972.
- Nutrocker / The Great Gates of Kiev (USA release)
Other rock adaptations of Mussorgsky
Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition was also performed in different electronic arrangements by both Isao Tomita and Tangerine Dream, and in a heavy metal adaptation by the German band Mekong Delta. The first and third mentioned are more complete versions of the original suite.
- Eder, Bruce (2011). "Pictures at an Exhibition - Emerson, Lake & Palmer | AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Christgau, Robert (2011). "Robert Christgau: CG: Emerson, Lake & Palmer". RobertChristgau.com. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
- Bangs, Lester (2 March 1972). "Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Pictures At An Exhibition : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 11 December 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
- William Neal Studio