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Pictures from the Crimea


Having heard the most famous set of 'Pictures' ever composed (albeit in an unfamiliar guise) we turn to another suite of previously unrecorded Musorgsky 'Pictures'—three of his lesser-known piano pieces given superb orchestral dress by Walter Goehr. Born in Berlin in 1903, Goehr was a precocious conductor for the theatre and radio while still in his teens. In 1933 he emigrated to England, where he became a prolific recording conductor. His son, the composer Alexander Goehr, recalls that his father made many orchestral arrangements in the 1930s and 40s: 'The Musorgsky was just one item of a huge repertoire of similar arrangements which used to live in our garage at home when I was a child, from Duke Ellington to Lehár—upwards and downwards!'

For this 1946 suite (which has its parallels with Respighi’s Three Botticelli Pictures, also recorded by Geoffrey Simon and the Philharmonia Orchestra SIGCD2161), Walter Goehr selected two piano pieces inspired by a visit Musorgsky made to the Crimea region of Southern Russia in 1879. Originally, he intended to compose three 'impressions' of his journey there, but in the event the third piece was never written down. The two 'reminiscences' of Crimean localities were eventually published as En Crimée Gourzouf—Notes de Voyage (also known as Impressions of a voyage in the Crimea) and En Crimée Baidary—Capriccio (otherwise Near the Southern Shore of the Crimea). To separate these, Goehr chose a reflective piece dating from 1865 entitled Rêverie (or Douma), as a contrasting middle movement.

from notes by Edward Johnson © 2020


Musorgsky: Pictures from an exhibition & Pictures from the Crimea
SIGCD2095Download only


No 1: Hoursouff
No 2: Rêverie (Douma)
No 3: Capriccio

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