Review: Emerson, Lake & Palmer Pictures at an Exhibition DVD

STUDIO: Eagle Rock | DIRECTOR: Lindsey Clennell
RELEASE DATE: 7/27/2010 | PRICE: DVD $14.98
BONUSES: 1971 Pop Shop performance
SPECS: NR | 144 min. | Music concert | 1.33:1 fullscreen | PCM stereo

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

1970s progressive rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s indelible live concert of Russian composer Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition has been issued previously on both VHS and DVD. This latest special edition DVD celebrates the 40th anniversary of the English power musicians’ performance of Pictures at London’s Lyceum Theater in December, 1970. The two-hour-plus concert remains a grand event, a musically ambitious and richly textured take on a powerful classical composition, accented with psychedelic lighting and video effects that include superimpositions of Marvel Comics’ superheroes.

So what’s new on this DVD? For starters, this edition is the most complete version of the concert film ever released, featuring a handful of additional ELP originals. Next is the inclusion of a never-before-released live performance by ELP on Belgium’s Pop Shop TV show in 1971, in which they perform five numbers — several of which can also be heard in the main program — including Greg Lake’s “Take a Pebble” and Keith Emerson’s “Rondo,” a piece that was originally done by his first band, The Nice. (It’s here that Emerson launches into his trademark “plunging daggers into the organ” routine, a downright punk-ish ritual, particularly for a classically trained pianist.)

Finally, there’s a gushing new essay penned by English rock journalist Malcolm Dome, who took a break from his regular heavy metal gig to pen about his boyhood favorites. At one point, he quotes Emerson as saying, “It’s very gratifying to learn that various school teachers, when introducing classical music to a young class, will play an ELP version and then they’ll analyze it against the original classical piece.”

Cool.

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.