Released to commemorate the centenary of Carlo Maria Giulini (born 14 May 1914), this 15-CD set celebrates recordings made with the famed Viennese orchestras. Repertoire includes the complete Brahms symphonies, Bruckner Symphonies Nos. 7, 8 and 9, and a complete recording of Verdi’s Rigoletto. The set also includes the first international CD release of An die Nachgeborenen by 20th-century Austrian composer Gottfried von Einem.
An acclaimed and versatile conductor, Carlo Maria Giulini started his musical studies as a violinist, attending the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. He studied conducting with Bernardino Molinari at Santa Cecilia and Alfredo Casella at Accademia Chigiana in Siena. After graduation, he joined the Augusteo Orchestra in Rome as a violist. As an orchestral musician, he came in contact with the great conductors of the time, including Strauss, Mengelberg, Walter, Klemperer, and Furtwängler.
Carlo Maria Giulini: The Complete Sony Recordings offers performances from 1989 to 1995, which represent the maestro's late output. Presented on 22 CDs in sleeves featuring original cover art, these are thoughtful and sober readings of repertoire Giulini had often performed throughout his career, though here they are noted especially for their slower tempos and weightier expressions.
Masters, as the name suggests, is a series that concentrates on presenting recordings of the stars of DG's digital catalogue. As Diapason noted: "one does indeed find here the greatest names of the DG catalogue: Abbado, Bernstein, Giulini, Karajan, Argerich, Kremer, Pollini, Ludwig …," not to mention Anne-Sophie Mutter, Mischa Maisky, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Trevor Pinnock, Reinhard Goebel and John Eliot Gardiner…
Giulinis Mahler recordings are few but notable. The earliest is of the First Symphony, made in 1971 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra a performance that seems to radiate from within, full of delicate colours and telling details as well as a strong sense of architecture. Giulini conducted the Ninth Symphony for the first time at Florence in November 1971 before performing it on a number of occasions in Chicago, where he made his famous Deutsche Grammophon recording of the work in 1976.
It was an eminently sensible decision to couple Zimerman's previously separate Chopin concertos on a single CD. The Ax/Ormandy/RCA disc is the only rival as a coupling, so let me say at once that in different moods I would be equally happy with either.
The reissue game continues. All of this material has been available more or less continuously in recent years, with the exception of Frühbeck's Three-Cornered Hat, which only resurfaced quite recently on an EMI twofer accompanied by Atlántida. The reason it reappears here, evidently, stems from the fact that this two-disc set contains all of Victoria de Los Angeles' stereo Falla recordings; and despite the fact that she sings for about 60 seconds in total in "Hat", it's always a pleasure to hear Frühbeck's big-hearted, expansively Romantic but always exciting way with the music.