Sunday, December 16, 2012

Carlo Maria Giulini & Itzhak Perlman – Brahms – Violin Concerto D Major op. 77

   Carlo Maria Giulini debuted as a conductor one month after liberation of the Rome. Hiding nine months, threatened with death by German occupants, he was studying Brahms’ Symphony No. 4. This work became culminating position in the program of his long awaited debut after liberation of Rome in 1944. His devotion to Brahms’ music has the rank of the symbolic redemption of German culture. Consecutive interpretations of composer’s work became Giulini’s specialty, and the Symphony No. 4 he conducted later up to 180 performances.
   Giulini was early recognized as opera conductor when thank to the recommendation by Arturo Toscanini, in 1953 he took the directorship of La Scala. In 1955 he made his American debut with Chicago Symphony Orchestra which became the beginning of a long term cooperation leading to the moment when in 1969 he was honored with the nomination to the post of Principal Guest Conductor. This position has been established especially for him during the time Music Director of The Chicago Symphony was nominated Sir Georg Solti. Carlo Maria Giulini as the first artist occupying post of Principal Guest Conductor remained on it from 1969 to 1972, when he came back to Europe to take the post of Chief Conductor of Vienna Symphony Orchestra (1973-1976). After his resignation the post of Principal Guest Conductor in Chicago Symphony was empty to 1982 when the title has been taken by Claudio Abbado.

Brahms – Violin Concerto – Itzhak Perlman, Carlo Maria Giulini (1977)

   Archive recordings with Chicago Symphony Giulini were made since the moment of conductor’s American debut (Rossini’s Overture “L’italienne à Alger” recorded November 9th, 1955). First commercial recording was Schumann’s Piano concerto with Arthur Rubinstein for RCA (1967). His cooperation with the orchestra was most prolific after the period of his employment, spanning the years 1975-1978. One of the best was 1977 EMI (1C 063-02 899) quadraphonic production of Johannes Brahms Concerto for Violin and Orchestra D major op. 77 with Itzhak Perlman. Recorded in Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st 1976, published in 1977 this record won Grammy Award for Best Engineered Classical Album in 1979. It is certainly one the best performances of Brahms' Concerto. Each of three parts can be seen as different in its own kind and perfect as complete piece. And all together are consisting greater artistic entirety.

Brahms' Concerto, Adagio – I. Perlman, C. M. Giulini, Chicago SO

   No doubt this is perfect performance, perhaps because it is joining three great names Carlo Maria Giulini, Itzhak Perlman and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Itzhak Perlman is one of the best violinists born after the war – he was born August 31st, 1945 in Tel Aviv. In dozens of phonographic recordings he is clearly more melodious than any other violin virtuoso. In most difficult, spectacular pieces he uses very own style of building the structure of the composition he interprets. The most original qualities of his art are subtle, nuanced differences between every element of the phrase. Even contrasting elements are connected as parts of one work. Perlman’s possibilities are unbelievably wide, he can be smooth and expressive, mellow and dramatic, and his emotionalism is much higher than most of violin masters, but he is still intellectually advanced and technically balanced.
   The Giulini/Perlman interpretation of Brahms’ Concerto is phenomenal. First part Allegro non troppo is less dramatic and more balanced than usual performances. Joachim’s cadenza is played more as musical art piece than as virtuoso exhibition. In central movement Adagio violin and orchestra create an organic unity to build wide spread and condensed utterance. In conclusive part – Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace – Poco più presto – artists decided to diminish a valiant effect for more poetic and melodious depth what gave them a chance to elicit more ambiguous, maybe even more abstractive meaning of the composition.

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