"Carlo Maria Giulini 's death on June has been possibly the saddest musical absences of this year. I won 't get tired to affirm the musical world lost a wise man in all sense. The happy meeting with the Philharmonia was a successful event, this orchestra is simply magnificent. Woods, strings, metals are extremely powerful and filled with aristocratic profile when you require it. Giulini and this ensemble made important contributions. Go for instance to his Mozart' s Symphonies 40 and 41 of 1965 (London Label, hard to get it, by the way)
His vision of Tchaikovsky 's Second Symphony is the most complete and integral I have ever heard previously or even later. There have been fortunate, powerful, sumptuous and perfumed versions: Markevitch and Muti have made striking performances. But anyone of them has been able to equal this unique and eloquent reading. Giulini made a true dissection, an openhearted and systematic interpretation filled with details without losing the apex of the work. He underlined literally all the ingredients that consolidate it as the most Imperial of his three First Symphonies. There is emotion, lyricism, vitality, energy, expressive elegance and visceral approach. There is not any detail you may refuse.
His Sixth Symphony deserves special mention. Absolutely idiomatic, profound and persuasive. Giulini went to the core of the score and extracted all the substance to expose before us one of the most relevant and pyramidal versions in the history of the disc. There is an admirable fact you always should take in mind every time you listen it. Go for the expressive Waltz of the second Movement and then go to the Fourth Movement and realize how the composer reintroduces the same Waltz but in a dark tonality This is the key.
Francesca de Rimini is rich in details, precise and dramatic, although the best rendition of this page comes from Munch and the Boston Symphony.
Romeo and Juliet is a magisterial version, filled of flair and panache; once more the virtuosity of the Orchestra allows us to watch those little details, such as modulation, tempi, and careful sense of expression.
This album deserves without any bit of doubt, to be placed in the coveted list of the best and more successful re mastering records of the Year. Not only due its artistic significance but besides, the sumptuous fidelity and polished sound.
Bravo for the Sound Engineers of EMI. I really hope future feats keep going like this extraordinary event.
A must-buy; it 's my most sincere recommendation.
My Favorite "Pathetique"
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 05/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are lots of magical accounts of Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony available on CD -- Monteux (see my review), Mravinsky, Reiner, Markevitch, Karajan, Ormandy, Barbirolli, Silvestri -- but my hands-down favorite account of the "Pathetique" has always been Giulini's 1959 recording with the Philharmonia. It was previously available in several CD incarnations from EMI but has been out-of-print for years...until now! With this release, EMI has produced another gem in the "Gemini" series, the label's new incredibly inexpensive two-disc budget classical line. This set features four glorious Giulini Tchaikovsky recordings -- the aforementioned 6th Symphony, the 2nd Symphony also known as "Little Russian" (a brilliant performance!), Romeo and Juliet, and Francesca da Rimini, all with the Philharmonia from the late 50s and early 60s in grand golden-age stereo. Like the 6th, the 2nd and Romeo have been available on CD previously but were also OOP prior to this reissue -- only the Francesca was currently in-print via an EMI Seraphim title. Now you can finally hear for yourself what all the fuss is about, and you don't have to spend a fortune to do it."
Of course, this is the best Pathetique!
Sungu Okan | Istanbul, Istanbul Turkey | 09/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Carlo Maria Giulini, who is the best Italian conductor in my opinion, recorded these masterworks of Tchaikovsky in 1950's with one of the best English orchestras, Philharmonia. Giulini really knew how the music of Tchaikovsky perform. Especially, in Pathetique, there is something alive! There is not just the playing of notes, but there are more amazing things. In dramatic climaxes (such like the first movement and the desolate Finale), when you are listening, you can weep, trust me. It will get your tears. The second movement is Waltz and this is the smile behind the tears. The third Allego molto vivace mov. played brilliant, with clarity, precisely. In my opinion, this performance better than any Karajan version. It is comparable just with the classic Mravinsky recording. But Giulini make it more dramatic and intensive than any one!
And there are three more gems: the Little Russian symphony, infernal Francesca da Rimini and tragic Romeo and Juliet, which one of the best version available.
You can not go wrong with it! Just buy! It's recommended for all music lovers and Giulini admirers."
One of the greatest recordings of Pathetique!
Scriabinmahler | UK | 01/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
Giulini wasn't very successful with his DG recording of Pathetique which suffers from lack of tension in crucial moments. But his EMI version is no doubt the great recording. I wonder why EMI did not include this in the Great Recordiongs of the Century.
Giulini gives deeply felt and elegiac account of the 1st and the last movement with some beautiful phrasing and subtle rubato, and brings out not only the intense passion but also a sense of serenity no other conductors manage to capture. Climaxes in the outer movements are immensely powerful, played in Brucknerian grandeur.
2nd movement is most beautifully played with real singing tone in strings, truely graceful and warm account. 3rd movement is not driven like traditional rendering by Svetlanov or Mravinsky, yet powerful and effective with details you don't often hear in other recordings.
Coupled with equally outstanding performance of Francesca da Rimini and R&J Overture, this set is a real treat for anyone who loves Russian music. "