Haydn: Symphony No 94; Ravel / Giulini, Et Al

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Carlo Maria Giulini's large-scaled, warm-hearted Haydn is typical for its era--the live concert was recorded in 1979, before period-performance style had become prominent. The conductor's usual emphatic style--rich sonorities, exact rhythms, and insistence of full note values--makes for particularly robust-sounding Haydn, thankfully free of the heaviness that marred many of Giulini's latter-year recordings. The faster movements go at a moderately quick pace, while the Andante flows smoothly, even by today's standards. The "surprise" chord generates the intended shock effect, thanks to Giulini's scrupulous observance of dynamics, well captured by the spacious recording. The Bavarian Radio Symphony musicians play as if they're really enjoying themselves--which is not all that difficult in this delightful symphony.

Giulini's ear for orchestral color illuminates the delicate textures of Ravel's Mother Goose Suite--an interesting choice for a concert pairing. However, the low-level recording places the listener in a center balcony seat, requiring a significant volume boost for the woodwinds to register properly. No such problem affects the double basses, which resonate throughout the hall. Nor the strings, which sing sweetly in the graduated build-up to the magical conclusion, a passage that Giulini takes with exceptional deliberateness (reminding of his contemporaneous Mahler Ninth recording). In sum, while not the first choice for either work, the disc nonetheless should prove a treat for Giulini fans.

--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: PH05037

  • UPC: 881488503722

  • Label: Profil

  • Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn, Maurice Ravel

  • Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra