Carlo Maria Giulini: The Concerto Recordings

Release Date: 12/3/2013
Catalog Number: 31761
Number of Discs: 9

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Notes and Editorial Reviews
For a conductor who had such a long and extensive career, Giulini made relatively few concerto recordings, and not all of them turned out well. This of course has as much to do with the soloists as it does the conductor, although Giulini worked with some of the best. This nine disc set begins with a ghastly recording of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons with the Philharmonia Orchestra, slow and slack even by contemporary standards (1955). The whole work lasts nearly an hour. It’s deadly, and we also get as a “bonus” an experimental stereo recording of the worst of the four, Autumn, which drags even more than the mono version that belongs with the rest.

Once we’re over that inauspicious beginning, matters improve dramatically with Janos Starker playing cello concertos by Haydn (No. 2), Boccherini (in B flat), Schumann, and Saint-Saëns. This latter is mis-tracked, with the Allegretto con moto second movement mis-labelled and misspelled (“Allgretto”), but the performance itself is a fine one. The two Brahms concertos featuring Claudio Arrau are, of course, well known and highly respected, while the remake of the First with Alexis Weissenberg from 1972, with the London Symphony rather than the Philharmonia, shows that Giulini was willing and able to adapt–at least somewhat–to Weissenberg’s more aggressive approach and flintier sonority.

Weissenberg sticks around for Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 9 and 23 with the Vienna Symphony, performances that are, shall we say, an acquired taste (I’ve always liked Weissenberg, personally). Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto with Milstein is wonderful and makes us wish that the two had worked together more frequently, but the excellent Brahms and Beethoven Violin Concertos with Perlman make ample amends. Surprisingly, Giulini’s collaboration with cellist Mstislav Rostropovich is a dud; a good Saint-Saëns First Concerto is overshadowed by the great soloist’s dreariest recording of the Dvorák, with Giulini himself no paragon of energy and enthusiasm either. I guess everyone has a bad day now and then.

Serious collectors will already own many of these recordings, but it’s good to see them all collected in a single set. Interestingly, none of these EMI (now Warner) series dedicated to conductors includes all of the vocal or dramatic works. The Klemperer edition left out the three major opera recordings (Fidelio, The Magic Flute, and Dutchman), while here we have no Verdi or Mozart Requiems, and no operas, which by rights could have been included with “Giulini in London.” Perhaps they will come out separately, or maybe reissuing sets with multiple soloists involves an additional cost that the label does not want to incur. Either way, I am curious to see what, if anything, happens next.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
1. Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer: Alexis Weissenberg (Piano)
Period: Romantic
Written: 1854-1858 ; Germany
2. Concerto for Cello no 2 in D major, Op. 101/H 7b no 2 by Franz Joseph Haydn
Period: Classical
Written: 1783 ; Eszterhazá, Hungary
3. Concerto for Piano no 9 in E flat major, K 271 "Jeunehomme" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Period: Classical
Written: 1777 ; Salzburg, Austria
4. Concerto for Piano no 21 in C major, K 467 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Period: Classical
Written: 1785 ; Vienna, Austria
5. Concerto for Cello in A minor, Op. 129 by Robert Schumann
Period: Romantic
Written: 1850 ; Germany
6. Concerto for Violin in E major, Op. 8 no 1/RV 269 "Primavera" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer: Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: circa 1725 ; Venice, Italy
7. Concerto for Violin in G minor, Op. 8 no 2/RV 315 "L'estate" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer: Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: 1725 ; Venice, Italy
8. Concerto for Violin in F major, Op. 8 no 3/RV 293 "L'autunno" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer: Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: 1725 ; Venice, Italy
9. Concerto for Violin in F minor, Op. 8 no 4/RV 297 "L'inverno" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer: Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: 1725 ; Venice, Italy
10. Concertos (4) for Violin, Op. 8 no 1-4 "Four seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer: Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: 1725 ; Venice, Italy
11. Concerto for Cello in B minor, Op. 104/B 191 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1894-1895 ; USA
12. Concerto for Cello no 1 in A minor, Op. 33 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1872 ; France
13. Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 77 by Johannes Brahms
Performer: Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1878 ; Austria
14. Concerto for Piano no 1 in D minor, Op. 15 by Johannes Brahms
Performer: Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1854-1858 ; Germany
15. Concerto for Piano no 2 in B flat major, Op. 83 by Johannes Brahms
Performer: Claudio Arrau (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1878-1881 ; Austria
16. Concerto for Violin no 1 in D major, Op. 19 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer: Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1916-1917 ; Russia
17. Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1806 ; Vienna, Austria
18. Concerto for Violin no 1 in D major, Op. 19 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer: Nathan Milstein (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1916-1917 ; Russia
19. Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1806 ; Vienna, Austria
20. Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Itzhak Perlman (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Classical
Written: 1806 ; Vienna, Austria
21. Concerto for Violin in F minor, Op. 8 no 4/RV 297 "L'inverno" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer: Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: 1725 ; Venice, Italy
22. Concertos (4) for Violin, Op. 8 no 1-4 "Four seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer: Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: 1725 ; Venice, Italy
23. Concertos (4) for Violin, Op. 8 no 1-4 "Four seasons" by Antonio Vivaldi
Performer: Manoug Parikian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble: Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Baroque
Written: 1725 ; Venice, Italy
24. Concerto for Cello in B minor, Op. 104/B 191 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1894-1895 ; USA
25. Concerto for Cello no 1 in A minor, Op. 33 by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer: Mstislav Rostropovich (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic
Written: 1872 ; France
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