Carlo Maria Giulini dead at 91

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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:13 am

Hmmm, I heard some memorable concerts conducted by him in New York. A number of his recordings are excellent. 91 is just too young to die for so talented a maestro.
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Barry
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Post by Barry » Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:38 am

Very sad news.

I never saw him live, but based on his recorded legacy, I was of the opinion that he was the greatest living conductor.
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Post by pizza » Wed Jun 15, 2005 9:02 am

When it rains it pours. First Diamond and now Giulini. There are very few musicians of the old school left. :cry:

herman
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Post by herman » Wed Jun 15, 2005 9:58 am

I was just talking about Giulini with one of my neighbours this week, listing memorable occasions we'd seen him in the Concertgebouw. His top experience had been the Dvorak 8 and Firebird Suite. Mine had been Brahms 3.

Giulini had this intriguing way of conducting very close to the vest, even in big stuff like Bruckner. Most of the time his hands were right in front of his chest.

The Concertgebouw loved this conductor, his musical integrity and modesty. The Concertgebouw's motto is "beauty and justice," and Giulini was a perfect fit.

The best Beethoven 6 I know is a live performance by Guilini and the Wiener Symphoniker in the mid-seventies. His 80s Beethoven cycle (incomplete) with the Scala Orchestra is pretty neat, too.

Sometime ago someone on the net asserted Giulini had settled in Southern California, for medical reasons. Somehow I'm glad he spent his last years where he belongs, in Brescia.

His will be a lasting legacy.

Allen
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Post by Allen » Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:50 am

One of my desert-island discs is Giulini accompanying Perlman in the Beethoven violin concerto.

*********************************************

Conductor Giulini dies in Italy

Giulini was famed for his imposing presence on the rostrum
Conductor Carlo Maria Giulini, one of the most distinguished musicians of the 20th century, has died at the age of 91 in Brescia, Italy.
Giulini started out as a viola player, playing under such legendary conductors as Wilhelm Furtwangler, Otto Klemperer and German composer Richard Strauss.

He made his conducting debut in Rome in 1944, becoming musical director of the La Scala opera house in Milan in 1953.

From 1967, however, he abandoned opera to concentrate on orchestral works.

Giulini was regarded as a gentle, considerate man who enjoyed the affection of all the orchestras he led.

On the rostrum, though, he could appear frightening, his eyes staring wildly about him and his arms making great scything movements through the air.

Deserter

Born in southern Italy in 1914, he was enchanted by the wandering fiddle players who roamed the countryside after World War II.

As a five-year-old he asked his father to buy him a similar instrument.

He went on to study viola at St Cecilia's Academy in Rome and, on what he would later call the proudest day of his life, join the city's Augusteo Orchestra.


Giulini deserted the Italian army during the Second World War
Giulini served in the Italian army in Croatia in the early years of World War II but later deserted.

Although recently married, he went into hiding and only narrowly eluded the Gestapo.

He emerged when Rome was liberated by the Allies in June 1944 and agreed to make his public debut as a conductor.

The performance featured Brahms' Fourth Symphony, which occupied a special place in his career - in 1969 he made what was regarded as a definitive recording of the work with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Triumphs

Although Guilini's early passions were chamber music and the symphonic repertoire, his three-year reign at La Scala was considered a golden age for the opera house.

Working with Maria Callas and directors Luchino Visconti and Franco Zeffirelli, he was responsible for some of the great operatic triumphs of the post-war era, including La Traviata and The Barber of Seville.

Now firmly established as one of the world's great conductors of opera, Giulini made his first appearance in Britain at the Edinburgh Festival, leading the Glyndebourne Opera in Verdi's Falstaff.


His time with La Scala in Milan is considered a golden age
In 1958 he conducted the celebrated Visconti production of Verdi's Don Carlos at Covent Garden, marking the centenary of the Royal Opera House.

During the 1960s he began a long and fruitful relationship with the New Philharmonia Orchestra, recording an outstanding performance of Verdi's Requiem.

But Giulini tired of the rough and tumble of opera house life and devoted more time to concerts, taking regular engagements with the Israel, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics.

He became chief conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in 1978 and worked with several other orchestras in the United States.

Throughout his life he remained under the spell of the great composers. Placido Domingo said it was almost shocking to see someone so good demonstrate such power.

One soloist said Giulini's immersion in music was so deep it was almost too beautiful to endure.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/2369255.stm

Febnyc
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Post by Febnyc » Wed Jun 15, 2005 1:45 pm

Too bad - but a full life, well fulfilled.

One of my favorite Giulini recordings is a late-in-his-career disc of the last two Mozart symphonies. The pace is quite slow - not really labored, but almost getting there - and this approach has a lot of charm for me. I listen when I want to hear a languid Mozart D Minor or Jupiter.

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Post by pizza » Wed Jun 15, 2005 3:37 pm

Giulini was principal guest conductor of the CSO in the late '60s and '70s and it irked me that he wasn't offered the position of music director instead of Solti. His performances were always illuminating in some way or other no matter what he conducted.

I particularly enjoyed his wonderful recording of Mahler 9 with the CSO as well as his majestic Bruckner 8 and 9 with the VPO.

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Post by Heck148 » Wed Jun 15, 2005 3:50 pm

pizza wrote: I particularly enjoyed his wonderful recording of Mahler 9 with the CSO as well as his majestic Bruckner 8 and 9 with the VPO.
Yes, great musician. i've enjoyed his many fine recordings, esp those he made with CSO, with whom he seemed to share a special bond....

I heard him conduct live several times - LAPO. very fine performances...

Barry
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Post by Barry » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:46 pm

A couple vignettes that caught my eye in Anthony Tomasini's NY Times obit for Giulini:

<<<Sometimes during rehearsals Mr. Giulini would deliver philosophical discourses about the music that would baffle his players. Once, at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, two weeks before the first rehearsal of Brahms's "German Requiem," Mr. Giulini placed copies of the text on the stands of the players so that they could contemplate the words.

To Mr. Giulini, pondering the sacred message of this requiem was essential to playing it with musical understanding....>>>


<<<During his prime years, Mr. Giulini said that he found the public role of being a conductor uncomfortable and that ideally he would prefer to do no publicity at all. Maybe so. But in the 1982 Times Magazine article, Thomas Stevens, then the principal trumpeter of the Los Angles Philharmonic, suggested that Mr. Giulini enjoyed being a local icon more than he let on. He recalled driving on a freeway one day, when along came "this conductor-character Fellini couldn't have thought up - a big hat, sunglasses, the scarf, driving along in his Mercedes." >>>
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Thu Jun 16, 2005 6:02 am

From The New York Times:

June 16, 2005
Carlo Maria Giulini, Master Italian Conductor, Dies at 91
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI

Carlo Maria Giulini, the esteemed Italian conductor, an idealistic maestro acclaimed for his refined and insightful accounts of the standard orchestral repertory and for several now classic recordings of operas by Mozart and Verdi, died on Tuesday in Brescia in northern Italy. He was 91 and lived in Bolzano, Italy.

His son Alberto Maria Giulini announced the death yesterday.

Far from being an autocratic conductor or a kinetic dynamo of the podium, Mr. Giulini was a probing musician who achieved results by projecting serene authority and providing a model of selfless devotion to the score. His symphonic performances were at once magisterial and urgent, full of surprise yet utterly natural. He brought breadth and telling detail to the operas of Mozart and Verdi. Handsome and impeccably tailored, he was a deeply spiritual musician. The former New York Times critic Donal Henahan once called him "San Carlo of the Symphony."

Through most of his career, Mr. Giulini resisted assuming full-time responsibility for an orchestra. He had little patience with administrative details and a distaste for the glad-handing typically required of a music director of a major institution. Needing frequent periods for reflection and study, he preferred guest-conducting associations.

He had a 23-year relationship with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, starting in 1955 (his first American engagement). From 1969 to 1978 he was its principal guest conductor. He was also the principal conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra for three years during the 1970's.

In 1978 he became the principal conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Being a leading cultural figure in America's star-struck movie capital might have seemed a curious role for this discerning and reclusive Italian. He mostly restricted his commitment to 10 weeks per season, which brought criticism that he was not giving the full-time commitment the post demanded.

Still, he had splendid successes in Los Angeles, and might have remained there longer than six years had his wife, Marcella, not suffered a cerebral aneurysm in 1980, which impaired her movement and speech for some years and demanded his attention. (She died in 1995. Besides his son Alberto, an artist, Mr. Giulini is survived by two other sons: Francesco, who was his manager, and Stefano, a physician.)

Carlo Maria Giulini was born to well-to-do northern Italian parents in Barletta, a southern Italian town, on May 9, 1914. Raised in the Dolomites, in the Alps, he later enrolled as a student of the viola at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. His principal conducting teacher there was Bernardino Molinari.

At 19 he was hired as a violist in the Accademia's orchestra, which played in the acoustically vibrant Teatro Augusteo. There the impressionable Mr. Giulini worked with some colossal conductors of the day, including Wilhelm Furtwängler, Otto Klemperer and Bruno Walter.

During World War II, he was sent to the Yugoslavian front with the Italian Army. A bold opponent of Fascism, The Associated Press reported, he went underground and spent nine months hiding at the home of his young wife's uncle. When the Allies liberated Rome in 1944, Mr. Giulini made his conducting debut with the Augusteo orchestra, now renamed the Santa Cecilia Orchestra.

In 1950 in Bergamo he made his debut in staged opera, conducting Verdi's "Traviata," which he conducted again the next year with Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi, no less, alternating the role of Violetta. Mr. Giulini would become a notable colleague of Callas's.

In Bergamo, Mr. Giulini came to the attention of Toscanini and, more significantly, Victor de Sabata, who immediately took Mr. Giulini to La Scala, where in 1953 he succeeded de Sabata as principal conductor.

Mr. Giulini attributed his ability to empower each musician in an orchestra into collective music-making to his own youthful experience playing the viola.

"I had the great privilege to be a member of an orchestra," Mr. Giulini said in a 1982 interview with The Times Magazine. "I still belong to the body of the orchestra. When I hear the phrase, 'The orchestra is an instrument,' I get mad. It's a group of human beings who play instruments."

Yet Mr. Giulini was never particularly articulate about how he achieved such remarkable music-making from orchestra players. In the same interview he explained that a musician needed more than technique, that you must do more than get things "right."

"And only after this," he said, "comes this mysterious thing that is the life of the music."

Sometimes during rehearsals Mr. Giulini would deliver philosophical discourses about the music that would baffle his players. Once, at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, two weeks before the first rehearsal of Brahms's "German Requiem," Mr. Giulini placed copies of the text on the stands of the players so that they could contemplate the words.

To Mr. Giulini, pondering the sacred message of this requiem was essential to playing it with musical understanding. He never had an incisive or flashy technique. Yet if his cues were sometimes loose, his insights were always piercing, and his ear for nuance, texture and rhythmic subtleties was flawless.

By the late 1960's, Mr. Giulini had grown disheartened with working in opera houses, where he said he had to contend with insufficient rehearsal time, musically obtuse directors and too many singers interested more in jet-setting international careers than in substantive work. He restricted his appearances, and even the Metropolitan Opera was never able to engage him.

Still, some of his complete opera recordings are landmarks of the discography, including, on EMI Classics, a 1959 account of Mozart's "Nozze di Figaro" with Giuseppe Taddei in the title role, Anna Moffo as Susanna, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as the Countess, and the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus.

Mr. Giulini made careful choices in repertory, putting off conducting the symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven until the 1960's. History may judge that his legacy was undermined by his scant involvement with contemporary music. Except for conducting operas like Bartok's "Bluebeard's Castle" and occasional premieres of works by composers like Boris Blacher, Gottfried von Einem and Ezra Laderman, Mr. Giulini was most comfortable, and at his greatest, giving freshly conceived and uncannily detailed accounts of great scores by the masters, from Bach through Brahms.

As Mr. Giulini matured, his tempos, always on the spacious side, grew even more so. Some critics sometimes found his work vague, sluggish, even prissy. Reviewing a Los Angeles Philharmonic concert at Carnegie Hall in 1979, the Times critic Harold C. Schonberg wrote that during much of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony "this listener had the feeling that Mr. Giulini was equating slowness with profundity."

Still, at his best, Mr. Giulini made profundity seem exciting, in, for example, his magnificent 1971 EMI Classics recording of Verdi's most gravely beautiful opera, "Don Carlos," with Plácido Domingo in the title role and Mr. Giulini leading the forces of Covent Garden in London.

During his prime years, Mr. Giulini said that he found the public role of being a conductor uncomfortable and that ideally he would prefer to do no publicity at all. Maybe so. But in the 1982 Times Magazine article, Thomas Stevens, then the principal trumpeter of the Los Angles Philharmonic, suggested that Mr. Giulini enjoyed being a local icon more than he let on. He recalled driving on a freeway one day, when along came "this conductor-character Fellini couldn't have thought up - a big hat, sunglasses, the scarf, driving along in his Mercedes."
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Post by Jack Kelso » Thu Jun 16, 2005 7:34 am

One of his greatest recordings was of Schumann's Third with my home-town orchestra, the Los Angeles Phil. Here his genius for orchestral tone-blending truly comes through---and he's not afraid to use the large-bore brass the way Schumann had intended!

Unlike Bernstein, who recorded all the Schumann symphonies beautifully but ruined the coda to the Third, Giulini kept from losing his aplomb here, turning out a magnificently consistent performance overall.

Jack

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Post by Darryl » Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:06 am

pizza wrote:Giulini was principal guest conductor of the CSO in the late '60s and '70s and it irked me that he wasn't offered the position of music director instead of Solti. His performances were always illuminating in some way or other no matter what he conducted.

I particularly enjoyed his wonderful recording of Mahler 9 with the CSO as well as his majestic Bruckner 8 and 9 with the VPO.
Yes! And I'm waiting for DG to reissue that Bruckner 8. Please!

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Post by RebLem » Fri Jun 17, 2005 5:07 pm

I also heard Giulini live on a number of occasions in Chicago. My favorite recording of his is Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition with the CSO, but I have to say that a live performance of it I heard him do was even better than the recording. For me, the touchstone on the piece is The Ballad of the Little Chicks in Their Shells. In the live performance, it sounded very onomatopoeic, which is, I feel, the way it should be. The recording is a great deal less so.

I also remember a magnificent performance of the Brahms First Symphony I heard which, in my view, and that of many others as well, put to shame a performance of the same work I had heard performed only ten days earlier by the visiting Berlin Philharmonic under Herbert von Karajan. As at least one other person has remarked, his Mahler 9th was superb, and this time I can say that his recording is very much like the live performance I heard.

Giulini was a fine Schumann interpreter as well. I fondly recall a fine Rhenish Symphony as well as a wonderful experience with the seldom performed Das Paradies und die Peri for Solo Voices, Chorus, and Orchestra.

He will be missed. Rest in Peace.
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greygypsy

Post by greygypsy » Sun Jun 19, 2005 9:33 am

One of the highlights of my life was seeing Giulini conduct the LA Phil in Mahler's 9th. His years in LA were some of the greatest concert going experiences of my life. Many of his performances were truly religious experiences. Even relatively simple music like Beethoven's 4th had an otherworldly aspect with him at the helm. With the large amount of recorded concert performances available to record companies these days, I am hoping even more of his live performances will be made available soon. There evidently was some activity last year when he celebrated his 90th birthday, but there clearly must be more out there.

Heck148
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Post by Heck148 » Sun Jun 19, 2005 4:37 pm

greygypsy wrote:Even relatively simple music like Beethoven's 4th had an otherworldly aspect with him at the helm.
Beethoven's 4th symphony is not simple by any means, it is arguably the toughest Beethoven symphony from the technical aspect.

greygypsy

Post by greygypsy » Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:23 pm

And your point is.....

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Post by herman » Tue Jun 21, 2005 5:00 am

I think Heck's point is pretty clear, but I would like to hear (read) what are the peculiar technical challenges of the 4th. You know I love that symphony best (and have recently been called an idiot for saying so). :lol:

greygypsy

Post by greygypsy » Tue Jun 21, 2005 5:30 pm

As a clarinetist and one time chamber orchestra conductor, I also love the 4th. I first played it at Idyllwild in my youth some 34 years ago, and 7 years ago had the pleasure of leading a small chamber orchestra in Orange County Ca. in the piece. It is a rich, exciting piece that is one of B's best organized symphonic works. My comment was more that it is not a piece known for its "extra-musical" qualities, and those are the pieces that Giulini is most famous for (along with his earlier opera performances). I don't know Heck very well at all so was just curious by what he meant to say, or was politely putting me down a bit for supposedly not adequately expressing my appreciation for this work.

Heck148
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Post by Heck148 » Tue Jun 21, 2005 6:54 pm

herman wrote:I think Heck's point is pretty clear, but I would like to hear (read) what are the peculiar technical challenges of the 4th. You know I love that symphony best (and have recently been called an idiot for saying so). :lol:
I wasn't intending to put anyone down...LvB Sym#4 is technically quite challenging - the wind parts are quite tricky - the clarinet, and bassoon esp have licks that are required for every orchestral audition. the horn has some exciting moments as well.

the last movement is vey challenging for the strings as well as the woodwinds, esp if a fast tempo is desired...the constantly running 16th notes present a definite ensemble challenge. same with the third mvt - where the hemiola - the 3/2 pattern played over the metric 3/4 measures must be played by the whole orchestra, with the poperly placed accents...

the 2nd mvt has its challenges as well - the underlying dotted rhythm pattern must stay accurate and not become sloppy. the lovely melodic lines sing out over this pattern in one of Beethoven's finest slow movements...

As a bassoon player, I'm completely familiar with the part, which is very demanding - and not just the rapid staccato passages in the finale..the part is loaded with solos, one right after another, starting with that spooky-sounding Gb in the introduction!! 8) ...great piece, but very demanding to play well.

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