||Eberhard Wächter - Don Giovanni
Joan Sutherland - Donna Anna
Luigi Alva - Don Ottavio
Gottlob Frick - Commendatore
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - Donna Elvira
See below for full cast
Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus
Conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini
Stereo recording, 1959
XR remastering by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, June 2012
Cover art: "Don Juan and the statue of the Commander" (detail) - Alexandre-Évariste Fragonard, oil on canvas, circa 1830-1835
Total duration: 2hr 42min
©2012 Pristine Audio.
Download ID: 1629632-34
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"Without question one of the supreme recordings of the twentieth century"
Sounding better than ever before in this new transfer and XR remastering
MOZART Don Giovanni [notes /score / synopsis and libretto]
Recorded 7-15 October 1959
Abbey Road Studios, London
Transfers from HMV Box SLS 5083
Cat Nos. ASD 3349-51
Eberhard Wächter (baritone) - Don Giovanni
Joan Sutherland (soprano) - Donna Anna
Luigi Alva (tenor) - Don Ottavio
Gottlob Frick (bass) - Commendatore
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano) - Donna Elvira
Giuseppe Taddei (baritone) - Leporello
Piero Cappuccilli (baritone) - Masetto
Graziella Sciutti (soprano) - Zerlina
Philharmonia Orchestra & Chorus
Chorus Master Roberto Benaglio
Harpsichord Professor Heinrich Schmidt
Carlo Maria Giulini conductor
ALL downloads include full score of Don Giovanni
REVIEW - EMI CD REISSUE, 2002
It seems incredible now that Carlo Maria Giulini was the third choice of conductor for this famed recording. First choice was Beecham, and when that fell through, Walter Legge, the producer, engaged Klemperer, who, though weakened by illnesses and accidents, began working on the recording, only to withdraw after three days because of pericarditis. Legge sent an SOS to the then relatively unknown Giulini, who responded positively, though, as the booklet tells us, with some trepidation. The rest is indeed history, as the whole ensemble proceeded to work like a dream, and produce what in this case is without question one of the supreme recordings of the twentieth century, and will surely never be surpassed on disc.
Credit must go to Legge for two things in particular; firstly for assembling the peerless cast, and secondly for overseeing the technical aspects so faultlessly. The beauty of the singers is that, as befits the nature of the opera, they were either young (Alva, Wächter, Sutherland and Cappuccilli in their thirties, Sciutti in her twenties) or in their absolute vocal and dramatic prime (Schwarzkopf, Taddei and Frick). Giulini himself was just 45, and the whole project has a dynamism and wicked sense of humour that could only be obtained with a team possessing this blend of talent, comparative youth and experience.
To anyone who knows her only in 19th century Italian repertoire, Sutherland is a revelation here. She sings Donna Anna's arias with rare delicacy and elegance, plus the expected technical brilliance, while Schwarzkopf is simply perfection as Donna Elvira, transforming her from what can sometimes be a mournful nag into a woman of great dignity and strength of character. The young Sciutti was an inspired choice as Zerlina, giving her a delightfully disingenuous quality that is as endearing as it is entertaining.
The men are equally good; Wächter was an exceptional Don, and in his vocal colouring contrives to reflect brilliantly all the different ways the character presents himself to those he wishes to manipulate, be they male or female. Alva makes an appropriately sweet-toned and rather deadpan Don Ottavio (though he is a touch rhythmically slack in places), and Cappuccilli makes an hilarious Masetto, aflame with righteous indignation and sexual jealousy. Frick is in his best cavernous voice as the Commendatore, reminding us of the great recorded Hagen he was to become soon after this.
A cast ‘to die for’, then, no doubt about that. Yet there are plenty of opera sets that fail to ignite despite the starriest of line-ups. It’s the pacing of the whole thing that is so superb, and here the continuo player, Heinrich Schmidt, makes a huge contribution. He gets the passages of recitativo secco bowling along at a terrific rate, emphasising the knockabout humour. In particular, the exchanges between Don Giovanni and Leporello are outstanding, the master’s twitting of the servant having, for modern ears, unmistakable echoes of Blackadder and Baldrick.
The orchestral playing is what finally lifts the performance to the sublime level it achieves. Giulini draws the most sensitive, stylish and dramatically aware playing from the Philharmonia, especially from the strings, who produce a warmth and beauty of tone that is very special. This serves to underline how this opera came to mean so very much – arguably more than any other 18th century stage work – to the Romantics of the 19th century.
The recording captures all of this faithfully, with a balance that manages to make the singers sound just a little larger than life without losing the correct perspective. One of the greatest musical and dramatic experiences available on disc, then, and one that I personally will always treasure.
Gwyn Parry-Jones, MusicWeb International December 2002 [link]
Notes on the recordings:
With this recording apparently out of print (except for MP3 copies of the 2002 EMI reissue, I mistakenly thought - being unaware of another, 2009 EMI reissue on CD!), I was delighted to find that a set of near-mint HMV LPs delivered superb sound quality for remastering purposes. The discs themselves played slightly sharper than electrical readings suggest was the true pitch sung - and has thus been corrected from 448Hz to 442.6Hz.
Other than that I've sought to bring greater clarity and accuracy to the sound through 32-bit XR remastering, which has revealed truly superb sound quality from start to finish of this timeless recording.
Click here to view additional notes
Carlo Maria Giulini
notes from Wikipedia
Carlo Maria Giulini (May 9, 1914 – June 14, 2005) was an Italian conductor.
Giulini was born in Barletta, Italy, to a father born in Lombardy and a mother born in Naples; but he was raised in Bolzano, which at the time of his birth was part of Austria (it was given to Italy in the Treaty of London (1915)). Therefore, most of the neighbors spoke a dialect of German, and the local music he heard tended to be Austrian/ Tyrolean. He recalled being transfixed by the town band.
Giulini was given a violin for Christmas in 1919, when he was five, and progressed rapidly with local instructors, notably a Bohemian violinist (and local pharmacist) whom he called "Brahms." In 1928, the distinguished Italian violinist/composer Remy Principe (1889–1977) gave a recital in Bolzano, and auditioned Giulini; he invited Giulini to study with him at Italy's foremost conservatory, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. Giulini undertook his studies there two years later, at the age of 16. He studied viola with Principe, composition with Alessandro Bustini (1876–1970), and conducting with Bernardino Molinari.
At the age of 18, in order to supplement his family's income (which had been depleted by the Great Depression), he auditioned for the viola section of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia's orchestra, at the time Italy's foremost orchestra. He recalled crying for joy when informed that he had won the audition and would be the orchestra's last-desk violist. Among the guest conductors he played under were Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Richard Strauss, Victor de Sabata, Fritz Reiner, Pierre Monteux, Igor Stravinsky, and Otto Klemperer. His first public performance was the First Symphony of Brahms under Walter. Giulini told interviewers that he detested the dictatorial, often demeaning manner of Molinari, the orchestra's music director, but loved the gentle manner of Walter, who he said had a gift for making every musician feel important.
In 1940, Giulini won a conducting competition, whose prize was the chance to conduct the St. Cecilia orchestra, but before the concert, Giulini was drafted into the Italian army, made a second lieutenant, and sent to the front in Croatia. However, because of his commitment to pacifism and intense opposition to fascism and to Benito Mussolini, he did not fire his gun at human targets. In 1942, on a 30-day break in Rome, he married Marcella de Girolami (1926–1995), his girlfriend since 1938; they remained together until her death 53 years later. In September 1943, the Armistice between Italy and Allied armed forces was signed, but the Nazi occupation refused to abandon Rome, and Giulini's Italian commander ordered his troops to fight with the Nazis. Giulini chose instead to go into hiding, living for nine months in a tunnel underneath a home owned by his wife's uncle, along with two friends and a Jewish family which was avoiding Nazi arrest and deportation. Posters around Rome with his face and name instructed that he be shot on sight
After the Allies liberated Rome on June 4, 1944, Giulini - who was among the few conductors not tainted by associations with Fascism - was chosen to lead the Accademia's first post-Fascist concert, held on July 16, 1944. On the program was the Brahms Symphony No. 4, which he had studied while in hiding. It became the work he conducted most frequently over the course of his career, with a total of 180 performances.
Giulini began working with the Chamber Orchestra of Rome in 1944, and was made its music director in 1946. He worked with Milan Radio from 1946 to 1954, and also with the RAI's Rome orchestra. He conducted a staged opera for the first time in 1950 in Bergamo - La traviata, with Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi alternating in the role of Violetta. He also revived several obscure operas, including works by Alessandro Scarlatti. His work in Bergamo came to the attention of Arturo Toscanini, when the latter heard his radio broadcast of Debussy's La mer (not Haydn's Il mondo della luna as has often been reported). Toscanini asked to meet the young conductor, and the two men formed a deep bond. Toscanini recommended Giulini for the musical directorship at La Scala; Giulini had also won the attention and support of Victor de Sabata, the principal conductor of La Scala. Sabata suffered a heart attack in 1953 and left the position, which went to Giulini. Though highly admired, he resigned after members of the audience jeered Maria Callas during a run of operas from February, 16 to April 27, 1956.
In 1955 he had made his American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, leading to a 23-year association with the orchestra; he was its Principal Guest Conductor from 1969 to 1972, although he continued to appear with them regularly until March 18, 1978. In 1956, he began his association with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
In 1958, Giulini conducted a highly acclaimed production of Verdi's Don Carlos at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. During the 1960s, 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.
After 1968 Giulini abandoned opera, not wanting to compromise his artistic vision, and concentrated on orchestral works. In addition to his role in Chicago, he was music director of the Vienna Symphony from 1973 to 1976. From 1978 to 1984, he served as principal conductor and Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, launching his tenure there with performances of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. In 1982 he returned once more to opera, conducting a widely acclaimed production of Verdi's Falstaff with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Giulini's most notable opera recordings include the 1959 Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus versions of Mozart's operas The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni for EMI, as well as his live 1955 recording of Verdi's La traviata with Maria Callas. He also made recordings of Verdi's Requiem and the Four Sacred Pieces, which were highly praised. Admired orchestral records include Debussy's La mer and Nocturnes, Dvořák's 9th Symphony and Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Brahms's 4th Symphony and Mahler's 1st and 9th symphonies with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven's 3rd and 5th Symphonies, and Schumann's 3rd Symphony with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Brahms's four Symphonies, Bruckner's 7th, 8th and 9th symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic, and Dvořák's 7th and 9th Symphonies with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam. Most of these discs were recorded for the Deutsche Grammophon label. His live recording of Britten's War Requiem made in the Royal Albert Hall in 1969 which is available as a BBC Legends recording was a Gramophone Award winner.
He was principal conductor and music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra from 1978 to 1984.
Giulini and his wife, Marcella (d. 1995), had three children. He died in Brescia, Italy at age 91.
Notes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlo_Maria_Giulini
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