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on 11 June 2017
Good recordings. Good interpretations.
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[hint: for ease of navigation, read the review though to the end, then come back and click on the links.]

Carlo Maria Giulini first came to the attention of the international record-buying public in a series of recordings that EMI made in London, beginning in 1956: Carlo Maria Giulini Centenary Edition - The London Years

Between 1969 and 1981, he transferred his attention to America, making records with the Chicago Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic:
Carlo Maria Giulini Centenary Edition - The Chicago Years
Giulini in America (Chicago, Part 2)
Giulini in America - Complete Los Angeles Philharmonic Recordings

In his late sixties, midway through the Los Angeles period, Giulini's interpretations became more serious and thoughtful.
Detractors would say stodgy.
His internal clock certainly slowed down.
After retiring from Los Angeles, Giulini returned to the continent where he guest-conducted most of the great orchestras.
Documented by Sony and Deutsche Gramophon (now Universal).
Both companies are reissuing their recordings in inexpensive boxed sets.

The following is a discography of Giulini's European recordings, 1975-1995, on Sony (*) ,
and Deutsche Gramophon (** Giulini in Vienna) , (*** additional DG recordings):

- Bach: Mass in B Minor BWV.232 -- Bavarian Radio Symphony *
- Beethoven: Symphonies 1-8, Coriolan & Egmont Overtures, Violin Concerto & Romances w/ Salvatore Accardo -- La Scala Philharmonic *
- Beethoven: Symphony 9 -- Berlin Philharmonic ***
- Beethoven: Piano Concerti 1,3,5 w/ Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli -- Vienna Symphony **
- Brahms: 4 Symphonies, Haydn Variations, Tragic Overture, German Requiem -- Vienna Philharmonic **
- Bruckner: Symphonies 7,8,9 -- Vienna Philharmonic **
- Debussy: La Mer, Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun -- Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra *
- Dvorak: Symphonies 7,8,9 -- Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra *
- Einem: An die Nachgeborenen Op.42 -- Vienna Symphony **
- Faure: Requiem -- Philharmonia Orchestra ***
- Franck: Symphony in D Minor, Psyche et Eros -- Berlin Philharmonic ***
- Franck: Symphony in D minor, Symphonic Variations w/ Paul Crossley -- Vienna Philharmonic *
- Liszt: Piano Concerti w/ Lazar Berman -- Vienna Symphony **
- Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde -- Berlin Philharmonic ***
- Mozart: Symphonies 39,40,41, Sinfonia Concertante K.543 -- Berlin Philharmonic *
- Mozart: Requiem -- Philharmonia Orchestra *
- Mozart: Piano Concerto 23 w/ Vladimir Horowitz -- La Scala Philharmonic ***
- Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition -- Berlin Philharmonic *
- Ravel: Ma Mere l'Oye, Pavane -- Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra *
- Ravel: Pavane -- Philharmonia Orchestra ***
- Rossini: Stabat Mater -- Philharmonia Orchestra ***
- Schubert: Symphonies 4,8,9, Mass in E-flat D.950 -- Bavarian Radio Symphony *
- Schumann: Piano Concerto w/ Evgeny Kissin -- Vienna Philharmonic *
- Stravinsky: Firebird Suite -- Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra *
- Verdi: Quattro Pezzi Sacri -- Berlin Philharmonic *
- Verdi: Requiem -- Berlin Philharmonic ***
- Verdi: Rigoletto -- Vienna Philharmonic **
- Verdi: Il Trovatore -- Santa Cecilia Orchestra ***
- Vivaldi: Credo RV.591 -- Berlin Philharmonic *

Most were re-recordings; but there are significant additions to his London, Chicago and Los Angeles discographies:

- Bach: Mass *
- Beethoven: Symphonies 1,2,4, Coriolan Overture, Romances *, Piano Concerti 1,3,5 **
- Brahms: German Requiem **
- Bruckner: Symphonies 7,8 **
- Einem: An die Nachgeborenen **
- Faure Requiem ***
- Franck: Symphonic Variations *
- Liszt: Piano Concerti **
- Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde ***
- Mozart: Symphony 39, Sinfonia Concertante *, Piano Concerto 23 **
- Rossini: Stabat Mater ***
- Schubert: Mass *
- Verdi: Rigoletto ** , Il Trovatore ***
- Vivaldi: Credo *

_ * "Giulini: The Complete Sony Recordings" - the box under review.
_** Giulini In Vienna : Deutsche Gramophon recordings
*** DG recordings not yet collected in a box - mostly Berlin Philharmonic (this would be a 9 CD set)


GIULINI IN VIENNA: The DG box is a more attractive proposition than the Sony box.
A larger percentage of works were new to his repertoire. Of the fifteen CDs in the DG box, only five are devoted to remakes.

---------- Vienna Philharmonic, 11 CDs, 1979-1991.
This is Late Giulini: Slow, Serious, Thoughtful. Not Excitable:

- Bruckner: The 9th Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic is an improvement over his earlier recording.
Technically, the Chicago Symphony has a more impressive brass section, which should matter in this symphony, but their sound is just too healthy for this anguished, end-of-life music.
The extremely slow tempo in Vienna is also more effective in bringing out the manic-depressive quality of Bruckner's music (which I have a tendency to wallow in).
Symphonies 7 and 8 (new to his discography) also impress.
[Giulini also recorded Bruckner's 2nd Symphony for EMI with the Vienna Symphony in 1975: Bruckner: Symphony No. 2 In C Minor (1877 Version) - Not in this box.]

- Brahms symphonies do not respond quite so well to the conductor's world-weary approach.
An interesting contrast to Giulini's more conventionally vigorous London and Chicago Brahms, but those early recordings are the ones I will listen to for pleasure.
The First Symphony starts out promisingly in Vienna, but once he reaches the big tune in the finale, forward momentum grinds to a halt and never recovers.

- Brahms' German Requiem (new to Giulini's discography)
More than anything else in the box, this dramatic performance reminds me of young Giulini.
The booklet points out that this is one of the few works for which Brahms left (unpublished) metronome markings. Apparently Giulini is closer to them than most conductors.
On the slow side at 73:32, but
Furtwangler was even slower (79:25 in Stockholm).
Treasurable recording, even if I ultimately prefer that speed-demon Otto Klemperer (69:07): Brahms: Symphonies; Ein deutsches Requiem (Klemperer Legacy)

---------- Vienna Symphony recordings, 4 CDs, from earlier in the 1970s, so they don't really count as Late Giulini:

- Concertos: Legendary Beethoven with Michelangeli, and almost forgotten Liszt with Soviet pianist Lazar Berman (he was once spoken of as the successor to Richter and Gilels).

- Unexpected is Gottfried von Einem's 52 minute oratorio "An die Nachgeborenen" ("To Posterity") with Julia Hamari and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. A 1975 recording made shortly after the premiere.
First CD release. Was it ever on LP?
Confession: I used to listen to a lot of contemporary music, until I turned 50 and realised that Time Is Running Out.
A lot of work went into "Die Nachgeborenen", but I doubt if I will listen to it again.
I've done my duty.

Presentation: Everything comes in an attractive cardboard box with a nice booklet, but its not original jacket format so you don't get cover art or program notes.
Pleasant Surprise: Full texts and English translations are provided for the German Requiem and "An die Nachgeborenen".
Unpleasant Surprise: Nothing is provided for Rigoletto, not even a link to Universal's website. Verdi's opera is basically an afterthought in this collection.

No claims are made as to remastered sound (the Einem and Liszt must be 1970s analog), but it all sounds fine to me.


A number of Giulini's concert performances with the Berlin Philharmonic have also been issued on the Testament label.
Pricey, but nice..
Some feature composers new to his discography (Gabrieli, Geminiani, Webern), but most are alternate views of music he had already recorded for the major labels.
On the Amazon search bar, enter
Music: Giulini Testament

Sometimes this duplication got out-of-hand.
There are three recordings of Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" to choose from - All with Brigitte Fassbaender and Francisco Araiza:
- 1984: Berlin Philharmonic, DG studio recording Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde
- 1984: Berlin Philharmonic in concert, live on Testament
- 1987: Vienna Philharmonic in concert, live on Orfeo
One could almost justify this if different singers were involved.
To see your options, on the Amazon search bar, enter
Music: Giulini Lied von der Erde
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