This sixteen CD set contains a generally well-chosen selection of Giulini’s DG recordings. You get Beethoven’s Fifth and Ninth Symphonies (LA Phil and Berlin, respectively), the superb Vienna recordings of Bruckner’s Seventh, Eighth and Ninth, Dvorák’s Ninth, Schubert’s “Unfinished,” Pictures at an Exhibition, and Mahler’s Ninth from Chicago, and the Los Angeles recordings of Debussy’s La Mer, Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite and Rapsodie Espagnole (this latter a stunning performance), as well as Schumann’s Third and Tchaikovsky’s Sixth. All of these are well worth hearing.
There are a couple of missteps, however. Giulini’s Vienna Brahms cycle is generally slow and heavy-handed, save for the exciting finale of the ThirdRead more Symphony. His Los Angeles recordings of the First and Second Symphonies rank with the finest things that he ever did, and should have been chosen in preference. His Berlin recording of Franck’s Symphony in D Minor, also, is simply too sluggish, however gorgeously played (and it is that), at least in comparison with his first, EMI version.
It’s also worth mentioning that DG is systematically working through its Giulini catalog, and we can assume that “Giulini in Berlin” and “Giulini in Vienna” will join the “Giulini in America” space-saving, slim box series in due course. This set comes packaged in a large cube–four, four-disc jewel cases–and takes up a good bit of room on the shelf. However, if the above selection of repertoire appeals, you may want to consider this inexpensive set.