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Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherazade; Mussorgsky / Maazel, Giulini

Release Date: 08/26/2008 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 474564   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Nikolai Rimsky-KorsakovModest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Lorin MaazelCarlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraChicago Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

It is over ten years since Karajan's refined and evocative version of Pictures from an exhibition appeared, and it is hardly surprising that DG should want another version on its list combining refinement and brilliance. In a sense this Giulini version, one of his first Chicago offerings for DG (see also page 1550 for another recording), follows a house style in that combination of qualities, though needless to say Giulini's approach is quite distinct. I confess that I had not thought of Giulini as a conductor who would bring special insight into this showpiece, but he draws superlative playing from .the Chicago orchestra and with tempi in the brilliant movements a fraction less hectic than is common—"Tuileries", "Unhatched Read more Chickens", "Limoges" and "Hut on Fowl's Legs" all following that pattern—he produces results that are both exciting and unusually clear in detail. To say that it is like seeing the details of pointilliste paintings may give the wrong impression, for the textures are superbly co-ordinated, and the recording quality is gloriously rich as well as detailed. The percussion is unusually clear and prominent—far more so than on the Karajan version (also on DG)—but the results are rarely if ever aggressive, colourful merely, even when at the start of "The Hut on Fowl's Legs", the bass drum cracks out almost as though with gun-shots. In "The Great Gate of Kiev" one might argue that the clarity and expansiveness prevent the final climax from being as overwhelming as it can be—on the final reprise all the separated chords are more clearly detached than usual— but it is consistent with a very satisfying approach which like Karajan's keeps a degree of poise. I suspect that like Karajan Giulini will be the more satisfying to return to for that element of restraint.

-- Gramophone [4/1977, reviewing the Mussorgsky]
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Works on This Recording

Scheherazade, Op. 35 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Conductor:  Lorin Maazel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Russia 
Pictures at an Exhibition for Orchestra (orchestrated by Ravel) by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1874/1922; Russia 

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