Pictures at an Exhibition is a live album by English progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in November 1971 on Island Records. It features the group's rock adaptation of Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky, performed at Newcastle City Hall on 26 March 1971. The band had performed the Mussorgsky piece since their live debut in August 1970, after keyboardist Keith Emerson had attended an orchestral performance of the piece several years before and pitched the idea to guitarist and frontman Greg Lake and drummer Carl Palmer, who agreed to adapt it while contributing sections to the arrangement. The album concludes with the concert's encore, "Nut Rocker". Pictures at an Exhibition went to number 3 on the UK Albums Chart and number 10 on the US Billboard 200. In 2001, it was reissued as a remastered edition that included a studio version of the piece recorded in 1993.Wikipedia
It's a live album of a keyboard-driven progressive rock band covering a 150 year old Russian romantic composer, and it sounds like video game boss music.
Incoherent, pretentious, noodling.... this really isn’t for me. Why play 1 note when you can play 27!
2/17/22 “What do you think it would sound like if aliens invaded the Catholic Church?” This is how I picture the idea for this album came about. Not my vibe at all, could not take it seriously, but they get partial credit for playing the whole thing live and making it a continuous piece. Favorite song: Nut Rocker
This fun rock opera makes up for all the crap I’ve sat through in this challenge. It has elements of classical music, metal, punk, blues and 60s funky keyboard jazz. Even if it is perhaps slightly pretentious and overambitious, it doesn't get boring for the duration, and what's wrong with being slightly pretentious and overambitious when you're obviously having a great time doing it? I literally burst out laughing at the start of Blues Variation because it was such a completely unexpected gear change. This is exactly the kind of stuff I started the challenge to hear.
I'm a sucker for prog rock, I love this reimagining of classical songs. Will def revisit this one many times
Cet album démarrait sur les chapeaux de roue, une excellente musicalité se dégageait de ce dernier, mais un bruit désagréable se faisait de plus en présent au fil des pistes. En effet, tapis dans l'ombre du studio, je devinais une silhouette familière, se rapprochant pas à pas du micro d'enregistrement: cette silhouette, c'etait celle de Manzarek. De quelques sons etouffés sur les premières pistes, il finit peu à peu par devenir omniprésent, jusqu'à ejecter les pauvres Emerson Lake et Palmer du studio pour monopoliser les débats avec son immonde orgue. Un comportement absolument scandaleux qui je l'espère sera sanctionné par Robert Dimery au plus vite.
Malgré les nombreuses réprimandes adressées à Robert au sujet de l'inclusion de l'album The Doors dans ce classement, album qui, dois-je le rappeler, fut souillé des doigts de l'organiste Manzarek, notre cher éditeur semble encore une fois n'en faire qu'à sa tête avec l'ajout de l'album qui nous intéresse aujourd'hui. Pictures At An Exhibition est en effet lui aussi gangrené par un orgue, celui de Keith Emerson. Vous l'aurez compris, la liste des personæ non gratæ de ce générateur accueille un nouveau membre en la personne dudit Emerson.
Fascinating album enjoyed every minute
A wild album. Classical music flowing into rock, that suddenly opens up with extraterrestrial funk at times. But the construction of the album itself truly is solid.
Very Meta making music inspired by music inspired by art. But mostly it just made me want to listen to Mussorgsky. They really love those synthesis.
Solid 3. Interesting interpretation, damn they're virtuosos, I'm glad I listened, and I'd put this on a 1001 list... but for this piece, one of the best ever, I'd rather just listen to Mussorgsky by a true symphony orchestra.
I like Prog Rock but this is pretty gratuitous. I groaned when I saw it was LIVE too and was amazed the Geordies let them out alive at the end! Only joking and there's some good musicianship in parts but other parts it's like they're making it up as they go along. I gave it another go and it does grow on you (like what I won't say!) I need to listen to the classical piece it's based on I guess.....
Not fun at all. Weird and boring.
Absolute garbage and I mean garbage - prog nonsense with piles of shitty organ, barely audible vocals, no songs worth a toss
All instrumental prog rock. Just the worst part of the Pink Floyd records. Pass.
Good lord in heaven. This was… something. It reminded me of that scene in friends where Ross plays his “soundscapes” on the keyboard. Some of this was almost passable to listen to but a good portion was absolutely atrocious with heavy doses of sounds that could only be the band’s interpretation of what a UFO sounds like.
I haven't heard this for over 40 years. It's still awful
Overblown, bloated, overproduced rubbish
Long loved this since I got on vinyl back whenever!
This might be one of the easiest 5s to give. Narrative, unique sounds, and excellent performances, ALL ON A LIVE ALBUM. Concise Beast.
ELP are probably my favourite progressive rock band. However, I don't generally like live albums, so I always overlooked this one. I mean, it epitomises everything bad people say about prog... it's overblown, pretentious, self-indulgent... I mean, it's a rock band playing adaptations of of Mussorgsky. C'mon. But in spite of all that, it's a fucking barrelling, irresistible rock show that is fun as hell. I particularly love the organ work, and the fast, choppy bits which sound like proto-math rock. On top of that, it's a live album that actually sounds good and offers something different from their studio records. My only complaint is that some of the slower/quieter parts don't work so well - but they do reflect the source material and they give the album balance. So it's 4.5*, but I'm happy rounding it to 5*.
I really like this! Hadn't heard it before.
Wild love album. Very cool take on some classical classics. There's not nearly enough organ in today's music.
Amazing discovery for me. Mixture between synth and classical.
sonzao tri, progressivo e tal, tocam muito
Here we have another Prog Rock trio, this one much different than yesterday's (Rush). ELP, along with early Genesis and Yes, are my three favorite Prog Rock bands. Keith Emerson has been mentioned as one of the best, if not the most technically accomplished keyboard player in rock history. This live album, of course with no overdubs or retakes, is a great example of the talent, creativity, and imagination of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. The trio plays a tight adaptation of a classical piece by Mussorgski. The pipe organ, multiple synths, acoustic guitar, bass, and drums all contribute to this impressive work.
This was absolutely bizarre, but I couldn't help but love it. It was just a lot of fun from beginning to end, and I found myself dancing along to some of the more energetic songs. It's absolutely amazing what ELP were doing with synthesizers over 50 years ago! I think this is a timeless album that I'll surely come back to at some point. I have to say though, that Promenade motif is going to bug me. Where the hell have I heard it before? Favourite: The Old Castle
Hardest five I've given in ages!!!! Hell yeah dude!!! hell yeah!!!
Amazing. It's a live record. It's as metal as you can be without distorted guitars. Favorite part: the gnome.
What an amazing recording of an amazing live performance! After listening to this the first time I put on Pictures at an Exhibition by the Vienna Philharmonic (itself a re-arrangement of the source piano version by Mussorgsky). I really loved both and it made this work all the more impressive. By the time I had done all this listening and reading about Pictures At An Exhibition I was completely enthralled. It takes a certain kind of hubris to do something like this. It’s impressive when it pays off. This is a wildly ambitious endeavor that created something really interesting and unique. I’m fairly certain I would never have known about this had it not appeared here. Bravo!
Progressive rock, my beloved. Is it for everyone? So long as you leave your expectations of “modesty” and “relatability” at the door. ELP remains one of my favourite progressive rock acts, though in my opinion Pictures at an Exhibition may be one of their weaker records. But that’s not to say it’s bad. ELP takes the classical mainstay “Pictures at an Exhibition” and re-arranges it for a rock trio. Some purists may be appalled by this, but for those who have never heard a progressive rock record outside of Pink Floyd or 70s Genesis, this is a great record to start on. And after you finish, look to ELP’s album “Trilogy”, which is probably their most cohesive record, and not weakened by a side-long suite (Unlike the B-sides of Rush’s “2112” and ELP’s “Tarkus”.)
so, so proggy a flawless, phenomenal record 10/10
Haven't listened to all of the source material. But interesting arrangement. 7/10
ELP kannte ich auch nur namentlich. Dies ist ein großes Album. Gute 4 Sterne.
I've loved ELP since I was a teenager. Yes, I know they are over the top pretentious art rock, but dammit they were also really, really good. Keith Emerson was to keyboards like Jimi Hendrix to guitars. Lake and Palmer are amazing in their own way also. I've owned this album on vinyl for many years but to be honest it's one of the ELP albums I've listened to the least. Not sure why that is because it's very good. 4 stars.
Relaxing. Kinda spaced the mid section.
Ruhiger Kirchenrock oder wie nennt man das? Auf jeden Fall schaurig schön.
Really enjoyed the spacey weirdness of this.
ARE YOU READY FOR MORE MUSIC?? *CROWD CHEERS AND THEY PLAY SOME NUTCRACKER SONG*
This is a weird album. Definitely not what I was expecting when I selected "Metal and Hard Rock" as the only genre for this list. It's pretty enjoyable though. Very good as background music to work too as well, which is something I've been lacking. Overall, good album.
I like it was a good listen
lots of fun, high energy
A fun idea with an equally fun execution. Gotta love those classical/rock fusions.
totally wasn't expecting this...solid album with a really cool sound
Good. I appreciate the effort of re-creating symphonic piece.
I don't think this has aged as well as some other ELP records, but it's still pretty good.
Now, Keith Emerson is a God. 4.25
The sheer audacity has to be admired. Is anyone trying to pull off this sort of highbrow goof in rock and roll land anymore? Would any major label dare greenlight it? It succeeds quite well as a prog rock album on its own merits as well, and has enough humor and high spirits to mostly dodge an indictment of tremendous pretentiousness. Mostly.
What an interesting concept, to adapt a Russian composer's suite to a rock context. The pipe organ really adds something dramatic and unexpected.
ELP were crazy and fantastically original. They got famous as a folk rock band; slow acoustic songs like Lucky Man and From the Beginning are their most well known tunes. But anyone who ACTUALLY knows ELP knows they epitomized keyboard-driven prog rock. Keith Emerson was the most skilled keyboardist of the 20th century. Easily. It's easy to arrive at this opinion after listening to ELP's first 4 studio albums, which showcase much better keyboard/piano work than this even this album does. I don't even listen to Pictures at an Exhibition all that much. What an insane mind he must have had to compose ELP's discography. And Carl Palmer was a MONSTER of a drummer. Crazy dexterity. I find that prog drummers (Bill Bruford, Phil Collins, Neil Peart) tend to be way more impressive than the traditionally chosen greatest rock drummers of all time. Plus ELP almost singlehandedly inspired the majority of 90s videogame music. Listen to Tarkus or the Karn Evil 9 suite if you don't believe me. If I had a nickel for every turn-based RPG battle theme that sounded like ELP... I can definitely understand why not everyone would enjoy this album. It's weird. But I dig it. Not nearly as good as Brain Salad Surgery though. I REALLY wish Pictures at an Exhibition WASN'T on this list, and that Brain Salad Surgery was instead. I don't love this one as much, so I was unsure whether to put 4 or 5. And because I was unsure I decided to put it as a 4/5 for now.
Speciaal album inderdaad. Maar de gekheidjes met het orgel vielen mij wel eens in de smaak
Música clásica tocada como rock progresivo con teclados. Curioso. Un 4.
What a unique album. A classical suite reinterpreted and extended by a prog rock band. Fantastic sounding live album
Not sure what to think! This is so top class in its avant garde approach to prog rock and jazz fusion. I am very impressed, but hard to judge it against the conventional albums on the list.
I got this record at a yard sale 20 years ago along with about 20 other 70’s LP’s, and honestly don’t think I’ve ever listened to it before today. ELP never did it for me they way that Yes’ classic records and King Crimson’s 73-75 period does. Those bands tended merge classical and rock more interestingly to me, where ELP tilts toward classical much more. This album is no exception: a live, rock interpretation of Mussorgsky’s Pictures At An Exhibiton. Having no familiarity with the original piece or extensive knowledge of classical music, this review isn’t going to be the most balanced. As an experimental rock record, it’s mostly enjoyable, with all three members of ELP playing extremely well. Emerson is clearly the main attraction of the band: a veritable keyboard wizard, even if he didn’t wear a cape, like his contemporary in Yes, Rick Wakeman. As such, his moog synthesizer is often loudest in the mix, sometimes overpowering the rest of the band and occasionally sounding as if parts had been overdubbed after the fact, in an effort to bridge the movements. Lake and Palmer provide a solid foundation for his soloing, even when they are also going off on their own solos. ELP, say what you will about them, were an extremely tight band on this record. Of the other ELP records I’ve listened to (Tarkus and Trilogy) Pictures at an Exhibition was the most enjoyable. Maybe it’s because it was a live record that captured the band’s energy better than their studio work or maybe because Pictures leans into ELP’s classical side rather than rock.
Prog rock is better than expected. While the genre doesn't have many catchy bangers, it doesn't have the awfully boring songs. Pictures At An Exhibition is a live album by Emerson, Lake & Palmer. The musicianship is insane. This is a great experience to listen to all the way through. There is no way I would listen to each song individually, but together it is awesome! For some reason, the longer songs are worse than the shorter songs Best Songs: The Old Castle, Nutrocker Worst Songs: Curse of Baba Yaga
A classical reimagining that sounds like a trip
What a batshit album. Who asked for prog rock Mussorgsky? Absolutely nobody, but there were some pretty ripping moments in Baba Yaga nonetheless.
Cool prog album a lot/a little to much Roland e-piano but still a interesting and nice listen.
I like that they went all in on this project, you have to commit to something this ridiculous.
4.3 - I hated "Tarkus" but, surprisingly, I loved this. Prog rock tends to feel bookish and sterile, it's all time signature changes, noodling basslines and bloated synth sounds. Most of these bands sound like self-important pedants. But with this record we hear the energetic interplay between band and audience, and it sounds like such riotous fun! These live performances also showcase the band's virtuosity - they nail every complex phrase masterfully. Standout: "The Sage."
Favourite track(s): The Sage Wonder how I would rate this if I was more familiar with the original composition. This is just cool. Even though it makes use of the prominent themes, which even I am familiar with, it does not feel classical at all. More like a Pink Floyd record. Makes you wonder what music the composers of earlier centuries would have made, had they had more freedom in picking a style. Or maybe I just don't understand classical music genres enough. Still, cool guitars, cool e-piano and cool lyrics. Certainly takes you on a journey.
I knew the original piano/orchestral versions before listening to this, but I think this is a nice adaptation overall. It's not so common to have a good crossover of classical music and rock. They do overdo the synths a little sometimes though
-Very Emerson, Lake & Palmer-y type jams -All quite fun, although "The Sage" was a bit of a dip -Not really as strong as "Brain Salad Surgery." Had a harder time following the musical motifs and lyrics were pretty sparse -Still overall solid rock and keyboard jamming
I like Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I have listened to a few of their albums, and regularly return to some of their tracks. This was my first time hearing Pictures At An Exhibition. "Nut Rocker" and the "Promenade" tracks are the only tracks that felt familiar to me. I settled in quickly hearing Greg Lake's vocals in the Promendade tracks. "The Old Castle" had the mix of keyboards and drums that you would expect from ELP. As "The Old Castle" shifted into "Blues Variation", Keith Emerson was up to full power. For a live album, the production was clean and easy to listen to. There weren't any stand-out tracks for me, but this album feels more consistent than some of ELP's studio records (e.g. Tarkus). I am doing a little extra rounding up, but I could come back to this record on a different day.
I'm not a big fan of live recordings of this sort, but as someone who likes psychedelic and progressive rock this is a pretty fun one nonetheless. Saved tracks: The Curse of Baba Yaga, The Hut of Baba Yaga - Pt. 2, The Great Gates of Kiev
Classical prog rock was a huge surprise. Consider me shocked and a fan
I’m not sure whether to classify this album as a classical, symphonic rock, or progressive rock album. Several classics snippets are played straight while other songs are fusions of style. Having said that, this album is a bit over ambitious and I’m not sure it totally succeeds at what it’s trying to do whatever that is. It’s not great as a classical album but does have some really great progressive jazz moments. I’ll give it a four for sheer uniqueness.
Gripping. I don't understand some of the decisions, but I like this album more than I dislike it
ELP have an unmistakable sound. I always liked that the psychedelic sounds were still present in the prog rock. I liked parts of this album less than other parts. I fully appreciate their musicianship and experimentation. They put out sounds that no others were making
Greg Lake has a beautiful voice. His singing on “The Sage” is gorgeous. Damn those drums that come in half way through “The Old Castle” have power! I almost wasn’t into this. But this is actually pretty sweet. That bass line riff is really hooking me. I was skeptical about this album at first -- I thought it might be a little pretentious or something. But I ended up enjoying a bunch of songs. It definitely feels a little dated in parts and some of the synth solos can be a tad grating but these guys can really rock when they all groove together! Track 8, “The Hut of Baba Yaga,” really captured that energy for me. Some head banging jamming there.
I think a lot about how the way I grew up interacting with music (in the 1970s and 80s) is so different than how folks interact with it now (in the 2020s). In my day, I'd hear a song on the radio several times. If I liked it, then I might call the radio station to request it and then wait around until they played it. If I really liked it and had baby-sitting money, then I might buy the 45 (rpm vinyl record of the single). If I really liked it and had no cash but I did have a blank tape, I'd hold my tape recorder up to the radio speaker and record it, mildly cursing the DJ for talking over the intro and/or the fade-out. I wouldn't buy a whole album unless there were at least two singles I liked on it AND I had money. Further, there was virtually no way to listen to an album that you did not yourself own or have access to via a friend or sibling. So it was extremely rare to hear an album just once. If you heard an album, you'd hear it over and over again. And if you'd spent money on it, you'd do that even if you didn't particularly like it beyond the hit singles that brought you to it. But there was a sense of ownership of a song --- "I had that on 45" --- ownership that made the song a part of you. From LPs, we moved to cassettes and to CDs. When iTunes came along, I ripped my CDs to mp3s, at first just the good songs and then, as I got bigger and bigger hard drives, the rest of the albums. (I still have all those CDs. I don't know how to get rid of them.) I also paid for songs and albums on iTunes for a long time. I feel a sense of ownership of all of those songs. Now I subscribe to a streaming service and I haven't really figured out a way to curate the songs that I want to "own" because in some sense I own them all. Whenever I want, I can listen to a whole album once and feel no obligation to ever listen again. Often in this project I base my rating at least in part on whether or not I want to hear the record again. I think that's partly due to this training in my formative years. Loving an album, or even liking it, means having it and listening to it again and again. But maybe that's not necessary any more. Anyway...I did not know of ELP's Pictures at an Exhibition before today. I liked it just fine and I appreciate it as part of the culture but I don't particularly want to hear it again, so I think I'm going to give it 4 stars. But I also think, if I'd heard it live, without the question of whether or not I'd even have the option to experience it again, I might give it 5.
I liked this take on a favorite classical work, performed live.
Indulgent yes, bombastic yes, unnecessary drum solo yes, but still a really good listen. I never got into ELP at the time but I imagine they would have been good fun to watch live, and this album captures something of that spirit
organ/piano(?) player go brrrrrrrrr. really liked the recurring melody throughout the album, it sounded familiar but idk what from
Held my attention. Not something I would really listen to again. Sort of toed the line between pretentious and interesting. 3.5
Started off with a well-known classical piece played nicely on a pipe organ, and I thought to myself, "Maybe this one doesn't have any of the masturbatory prog rock bullshit, and that's why it's on the list." How foolish and naïve. There's a ton of musicianship here, and it's all very impressive, but I'm baffled by the person who plunks down $72 or whatever to go watch a guy play the Moog for what seems like hours. Best track: Promenade (the first one)
Very interesting. Never heard anything like it before. Nutcracker is a banger.
Very neat cover of a classical composition.
Maybe not for an everyday listen
Interesting. Sounds like 70s church.
i mean, sure. why not.
These are the same guys that had that Tarkus album. Another sort of strange progrock concept album. This one is played live and is an arrangement of a classical piano suite or something. Very few lyrics, its a lot of weirdness and moog synthesizers and stuff. Kinda fun, seems like you have to listen to the album as a whole, it would be strange to just randomly listen to these songs on their own.
Rock sinfónico. Un poco psicodélico quizá. Bastante bueno. Muy instrumental.
Cool sounds, wasn't expecting some of them from the early 1970s. Organ playing was fierce, good jam band instrumental listen.
Wow, this is weird. Prog rock, lots of vintage keyboard and other weird sounds. Some of it almost symphonic. Not really my jam.
Enjoyed the quieter moments. When the tempo ramps up it sounds like a descent into madness. First class musicianship.
It's great, but it doesn't inspire repeat listens.
Nutrocker stood out, the rest was alright
I can't say I enjoyed listening to this a lot, but I must say that the album is executed very well. Because of the live execution, the flow between tracks is amazing, The Sage sounds mesmerizing, The Old Castle is greatly ahead of its time and the energy certainly is there. I can see what they were trying, and I believe that a 3/5 is fair for this live portrayal.
Maybe ELP is an acquired taste. I listened to this and I enjoyed maybe half of it. I’ve enjoyed their studio stuff more than this