Classical Music Replay: Robert Cowan makes his pick of the latest reiss ues "Eminence" 5 65943 2)
Schumann: Carnaval, Symphonic Studies, Kreisleriana Geza Anda (piano) (Recorded: 1953-1955) (Testament SBT 1069); Rossini: Overtures to `The Barber of Seville' etc Philharmonia / Carlo Maria Giulini (Recorded: 1959-1964) (EMI 'Eminence' 5 65943 2)
Friday 12 April 1996
Rossini overtures can tell you a great deal about who's conducting them. It's all in those crescendos; they can accelerate (Furtwangler), seethe (Toscanini), glisten (Reiner), laugh (Beecham) or thump (Dorati), Carlo Maria Giulini, however, is a master of stealth and style, a "beautiful mover". Listen to the way he builds The Thieving Magpie's first crescendo (at 5'25") with horns and woodwinds cheekily cavorting over a chug-along rhythmic base, then gradually intensifying until bass and side drum harden the mix. It's thrilling, but it's also fairly subtle - which is why you can listen again and again without getting bored. Or you might try the opening of The Barber of Seville overture, where strings answer winds with the utmost elegance and the oboe effects a perfect phrasal arch. Thereafter, the playing is both muscular and refined. The Silken Ladder has pin-sharp oboes and busily scuttling strings; Semiramide opens with a superb horn quartet; and William Tell is distinguished by a broadly etched storm (absolutely no hint of the pier) and a superb Gallop. The sound is, well, pretty good - a bit glassy perhaps, but lively enough. And there are more Rossini overtures where these came from: perhaps Eminence might add them to some of Giulini's Verdi overtures.
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