Receive a weekly collection of news, features and reviews
I too heard Rostropovich perform the Dvorak Concerto. It was with the San Francisco Symphony in the late 1960s. My wife and I had season tickets in the last row of the balcony (seats L110 & 112). I had a small Norelco tape recorder which my wife smuggled in with her oversized bag. I still have the tape in the attic but no workable tape recorder to play it on. Anyhow, the performance was of course highly enjoyable, but not so my recording. I played it for my father who asked "Where's the cello?" I had placed the microphone between the seats but not forward enough so the sound was too muffled. But I have his recording with Boult and I think others.
Apparently, Rostropovich is well established as the cellist par excellence in all of us who have the chance to see him even once.
I wonder if anyone of the older ones in this forum had the chance to see David Oistrach live. I did not (I was a bit too young to know, when there was a chance to see him).
Those who have seen him from my older friends/musicians, particularly the violinists, claimed that he was the Violin of the past century in terms of the beauty of sound and the sheer authority in the violin playing. I just treasure the few good recordings (as far as the production is concerned) I have, while I recognise they are too little too late.
I came to discover Giulini rather late. I think it was probably 1978 (or was it 77?), the Time magazine featured his Dvořák 9th with CSO as one of the classical recordings of the year, so I bought the LP. I liked what I heard so bought some more LPs of his. Now luck has it that he became the music director of LAPO a few months later. It was considered a coup then, the reticent maestro coming to the flashy town of Hollywood. So Giulini became the musician I saw live the most, at least a dozen times, and I feel most blessed. He always left me with the sense of deep commitment. The first concert I attended was with Claudio Arrau, my The favorite pianist of all time, and I still haven't heard any version surpassing the Beethoven 4th they played together. Unfortunately he wasn't a drill master, so in his later years LAPO's playing became lackluster technically, especially the brass making mistakes routinely (that is why I regard his recordings with CSO highly, CSO being a precision machine). Then he was gone as swiftly and unexpectedly as he came. His wife became gravely ill and after only 4 years or so it was abruptly announced that he was going back to Italy. He was supposed to come back as a guest to conduct subsequent years but it never materialized. I attended his penultimate concert before the departure, and I vividly remember to this day the emotion I experienced. The main feature was Brahms 4th. It started like a long sigh and was proceeding awfully beautiful. In fact, it was so beautiful I became afraid, thinking "there is no way this could maintain" especially the way LAPO many times had clumsily played by then. The 2nd movement came and gone, the 3rd too, but something was going on. The greatness not only remained, it piled on. At the beginning of the last movement I became so firmly convinced it was going to be this way till the very end and with this realization my heart started pounding like never before in a concert. I think the orchestra musicians also finally realized that they were losing this beloved figure who they had taken for granted, thinking the relationship would last a long time. That night they played their hearts out. My heart remained beating wildly till the end. It was the most emotional concert I was in.
Those times, the first morning they start selling the single tickets (I never liked the season tickets, I wanted to choose what I liked to attend) I would drive up to L.A. and get there 30 minutes before the box office opens and wait in line. There would be already several people ahead of me. I paid $6 each for a balcony seat. To see someone like Giulini at six bucks.. how lucky I was! And that is how I was able to go to 30~40 concerts a season then. Now it is impossible, the ticket price being so high - the parking alone costs about 3 times of that.. no wonder they cannot recruit young patrons any more.. One year while I was in line, totally unexpectedly the maestro with his wife emerged from the upcoming stairs walking toward the same building. A few people left the line, ventured to approach, shook hands and paid respect. But I wouldn't dare because I didn't want to disturb this gentle giant in his private moment. I was just content to see this beautiful, gracious man from so close. Much later, on the day I heard the news of his death I cried. He resides forever in my heart.
Thanks for your insights, botari. Although I can never feel to your level for the Brahms symphonies, I would mention high praise for Giulini's CSO Bruckner 9.
Yes tjh, that Chicago B9 is a very good one. I have it on both LP and CD (earlier issue - by now, you may know I usually don't like the remastered ones, whichever label they come from). I was always going back and forth between that and DG VPO.. until I got the live VPO one on 'Memories Excellence' label. I know DG claims their's is a live recording. But almost always in the major label's commercial live recording I miss the frisson. They usually smoothe things out too much. No exception there, the DG recording is grand, EMI a little less so but more fiery. But the untouched ME version truly features fire and grandeur in perfect proportion. In fact, I consider it as the greatest B9 I know, eclipsing everything. His later Stuttgart recording I like the least.
Join the Club today and receive all three great Gramophone products for just £106 per year.
An £86 saving than if bought separately.
The latest news, features, blogs and reviews delivered weekly to your inbox!
User our new store map to help you find your nearest Gramophone stockist
If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.
Gramophone is brought to you by Mark Allen Group
Gramophone is part of MA Music, Leisure and TravelAbout Mark Allen Group | International licensing