This recording is a tribute to conductor Carlo Maria Giulini (1914-2005), who was equally famous as opera conductor (Falstaff, Don Carlos, Don Giovanni, etc.) and as an orchestra conductor.
Walter Legge invited him to conduct ‘his’ Philharmonia Orchestra in London, whose brass section was created by Dennis Brain (1921-57).
This tribute consists of the following music:
Manfred Overture, Op. 115
Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 97 ‘Rhenish’, orch. by Mahler
Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 ‘Little Russian’
Performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra, Carlo Maria Giulini conducting.
Giulini expanded his repertoire at a careful pace, not conducting the symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven until the 1960s. During this time he was in great demand as a guest conductor of leading orchestras around the world, and made numerous well-received recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London and several others.
Overall, Giulini’s impact on the musical world of the mid-to-late 20th century is summed up by Anthony Tommasini in his New York Times obituary of 2005:
“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.”
Here is Maestro Giulini rehearsing for a performance of the symphony number 9 by Beethoven: