Carlo Maria Giulini / Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Giulini in America

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This is the second in a two-box series of Giulini in America releases, reissuing recordings from the Italian conductor that have long been out of print. The first box covered Carlo Maria Giulini's recordings from the late 1970s and early 1980s with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and focused on Beethoven and Brahms; these, from the mid-'70s, feature the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and are partly devoted to late Romantic pieces that put the famed Chicago brasses to work. These recordings were critical favorites in their day, but they had a low-key quality that sometimes worked against popular acceptance. The highlight here is perhaps the Mahler Symphony No. 9, which takes up all of the fourth CD and part of the fifth; the vast sweep, the poetic climb toward transcendence, the conductor's willingness to draw out a quiet passage to the max, and the huge orchestration canvas all combine here to produce a magnificent effect. The Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition makes a fine Chicago brass showcase, and the often quietly melodic pair of Dvorák symphonies are also beautifully done. But some of the other pieces may or may not appeal to individual listeners. The almost poky opening movement of the Prokofiev Symphony No. 1 in D major, Op. 25 ("Classical"), loses the music's acerbic quality, and the trio of Schubert symphonies will either be subtle or, at least in the case of the extremely deliberate second movement of the Symphony No. 9 in C major, D. 944 ("The Great"), sluggish. Deutsche Grammophon was at its engineering high point in the mid-'70s, and the label's technicians got impressively clear results when turned loose in Chicago's well-upholstered Orchestra Hall. The remastering has been sensitively done and Giulini fans, at the least, will be glad to have these recordings in one place.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88
1 10:56
2 11:36
3 6:56
4 10:49
Pictures at an Exhibition
5 1:50
6 2:39
7 1:07
8 4:31
9 0:36
10 1:16
11 2:39
12 0:48
13 1:20
14 2:23
15 1:29
16 2:05
17 2:08
18 3:53
19 5:44
blue highlight denotes track pick