Carlo Maria Giulini, a few weeks shy of his 83rd birthday, conducts the La Scala Philharmonic in the finale of the Symphony No. 4 by Brahms.
I hadn’t seen this before (and only 224 others have viewed it on YouTube). There’s not a lot of Giulini this late in his career out there. The performance is certainly very slow … but for me at least, it lacks nothing in intensity for its pace, but rather gains from it. The lyricism is aching.
Giulini was always a great Brahms conductor. You might not want to hear this piece performed this way every time, but whether you like it or not, you have to admit that here he has made this piece his own, and puts his own view of it across. If I’m to hear Brahms’ Fourth again, this is what I want — a performance with something personal to say, and played as if lives are at stake.
UPDATE: YouTube took the video down that I had first displayed here. So, here’s another, also Giulini late in his career conducting the same piece, but this time with the Berlin Staatskapelle.