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.
For this 2017 CSO-Resound release, Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra present Anton Bruckner's unfinished Symphony No. 9 in D minor in a monumental performance that impresses with its marmoreal weight, poignant lyricism, and brutal volatility. Not widely known for his few Bruckner recordings, Muti nonetheless delivers this symphony with the passion and sensitivity of an experienced Brucknerian, and possibly because he hasn't recorded it before, this live rendition of the Ninth seems like an attempt to make up for lost time. Muti's intensity and the orchestra's ferocious power combine to make a memorable reading that may remind listeners of performances by such greats as Günter Wand, Eugen Jochum, and particularly Carlo Maria Giulini, whose recordings of the Ninth are recognized benchmarks. While Muti only performs the three completed movements, and eschews any attempted reconstructions of the surviving Finale sketches, the performance has a genuine feeling of wholeness, and the Adagio particularly has the grandeur and pathos that make it feel like a convincing ending, albeit one that the composer did not intend.
This extensive release is the second installment of a ten-volume tribute to conductor Michael Gielen. Some of Michael Gielen's very first broadcast recordings made in the 1960s were of Bruckner's symphonies. The development of the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg is visible in these recordings, from the very earliest recording all the way to the incredible 2013 performance of Bruckner's Symphony No. 9. All of Bruckner's symphonies are included on this release. Four of these performances have never been previously released.
Daniel Barenboim is an expert in exploiting the impact of cyclical performances of composers works: This time he focuses his sharp intellect on all six of Anton Bruckners mature symphonies. Der Tagesspiegel described Barenboim's performance of the works with the Staatskapelle Berlin on six nearly consecutive evenings in June 2010 as a superhuman accomplishment and went on to praise how: His Bruckner is conceived and performed very theatrically, like an opera without words.
…It is, above all, a triumph for the Vienna Philharmonic: their second memorable live Bruckner Ninth in so many months. …Given my reservations over Bernstein's handling of the first movement, this is obviously no front-line library recommendation. But, Bernstein being Bernstein, he can misdirect parts of the first movement and still go on to conduct an utterly memorable performance. As Schumann said of Chopin in a rather different context: "Hats off, gentlemen, a genius!".
Richard Osborne, The Gramophone