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Serving Genius: Carlo Maria Giulini [Hardcover]

Thomas D Saler

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Book Description

Feb. 15 2010

Serving Geniustells the life story of Carlo Maria Giulini, one of the most renowned and beloved conductors of the twentieth century. Detailing Giulini's extraordinary professional career, Thomas D. Saler also chronicles Giulini's personal life, including his musical awakening while growing up amid the spectacular beauty of the Dolomite mountains, his years as a student in Rome's Academy of St. Cecilia, his conscription into the Italian army during World War II, his nine months in hiding for his anti-fascist and pacifist beliefs, and his selfless devotion to his wife, Marcella.


A humble master who shunned the limelight, Giulini took a deeply emotional and subjective approach to making music. Saler provides uniquely detailed analysis of Giulini's nuanced musicianship and the way he conveyed that musicianship to the orchestra through physical gestures. Meditating on the very art of conducting at which Giulini excelled, Saler discusses each of the conductor's major musical appointments, including stints with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Vienna Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. The book also addresses his repertoire of choice, leadership style, and moral framework.


Drawing on extensive interviews with Giulini's family, music critics, arts administrators, orchestra members, and collaborating soloists,Serving Geniusdraws out the personal amid the professional life of this giant among twentieth-century conductors.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (Feb. 15 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 025203502X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252035029
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,291,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description



"Highly readable and musically substantive.  Strongly recommended."--Classical.Net

"It was wonderful to get to know the man we have met so often in his music-making."--American Record Guide


"A thorough, balanced and illuminating portrait of the charismatic Italian as man and maestro."--Chicago Tribune



"A fascinating full account of the ... conductor's unlikely path to his house in the Hollywood Hills."--Los Angeles Times

"This engaging and extensive biography shows why Carlo Maria Giulini stood apart from other maestri, and above the fray: because of his gentle humanity, his spiritual resonance with music, and his uncompromising seriousness of purpose. This is certainly a book I will recommend to all the conductors I encounter, as well as others because it captures the essence of an uncommonly inspired and inspiring human being."--Kenneth Kiesler, conductor, director of orchestras at the University of Michigan, and director of the Conductors Retreat at Medomak and Conductors Programme at the National Arts Centre of Canada

About the Author

Thomas D. Saleris a conservatory trained musician and was a longtime member of the Milwaukee Symphony Chorus. A freelance financial writer, Saler is the author of several books on personal finance, includingAll About Global Investing.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book worthy of its subject Jan. 20 2011
By Mogulmeister - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
FANTASTIC book! If Carlo Maria Giulini interests you, don't hesitate to buy this book. I really didn't want it to end. A lot of times, conductor biographies become an exercise in, he did this work here and that work there, and played this work a total of X times in his career, etc. While there is some of that (appropriately), what the book does tremendously well is give a sense as to the "hows" and "whys" of Giulini's unique style and approach. It is a very well researched book, and provides a lot of insight into Giulini the person, not just Giulini the conductor. This is really well done and highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Music to your eyes Feb. 7 2012
By John Wasik - Published on Amazon.com
Having heard Maestro Giulini conduct the Chicago Symphony some time ago, I can tell you he was an amazing talent. He conducted a Schubert mass that was among the most memorable performances I've ever attended in my more than 50 years of listening and loving all kinds of music. Saler presents a nuanced portrait of the great conductor and one worthy of his remarkable ability to connect with audiences. Even if you've never heard Giulini make music (please sample his recordings), this is a unique insight into a master of the baton.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended Jan. 16 2011
By j th witvliet - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Conductors as Karajan and Bernstein knew how to use publicity. Carlo Maria Giulini didn't care, but he was just as good a conductor, if not better. As a human being and a musician he was highly esteemed by those who worked with him. He well deserved this accurate biography.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Covers the basics, but misses the heart April 22 2013
By Victoria - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Overall, the book is well written, if somewhat dry, and covers his life from early school days, the difficult war years and into his most famous collaborations, with LaScala, Covent Garden, CSO and other orchestras. There are some black & white photos from youth to old age. Opera buffs hoping to find any insights into his opera career will be disappointed. I find it odd, that from his opera days, there are only a few interviews listed. Come on, one of the greatest opera conductors and all the author could come up with is Lord Harewood & Sir John Tooley (Covent Garden). Franco Zeffirelli could have provided much insight into the famous Callas/Visconti Traviata at LaScala. As to singers, only Robert Tear & Carol Neblett are listed. What??? I would have liked to hear from some of the singers Giulini worked with on his now classic albums, including: "Don Carlos", EMI Classics (Domingo, Cabballe, Verrett & Milnes, most of whom are still around); "Marriage of Figaro", EMI Classics (Taddei, Schwarzkopf, Moffo, Cossotto, Wachter & Cappuccilli -- Cossotto could have been interviewed; the "Verdi Requium", EMI Classics (Ludwig, Schwarzkopf, Baker & Gedda -- Ludwig, Baker & Gedda who are still alive could have been interviewed; "Il Trovatore", Deutsche Grammophon (Domingo, Plowright, Fassbaender, Zancanaro, Nesterenko -- Plowright, Fassbaender & Zancanaro could have interviewed; & finally Verdi's "Falstaff" (Bruson, Ricciarelli, Nucci, Hendricks, Gonzalez, Valentini-Terrani, all of whom could have been interviewed). Also, Lady Valeri Solti could have interviewed for insights into Giulini's relationship with Solti during the CSO years. The illness of Giulini's wife, Marcella, is treated sensitively & confirms what we already knew -- that he was deeply devoted to her. The lack of a discography is puzzling, considering his fame as an opera & symphony conductor. It's particularly annoying, because in the Preface, the author states that when he heard of Giulini's death, he put on a recording of Giulini conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus in the "In Paradisum" from Faure's "Requiem" and cried. Well, it might have been nice for the rest of us to learn if that recording is available. Yes, it's on Amazon.com as are all the other albums listed in this review. There's so much other wonderful music omitted from the book that we'll have to wait for someone else to write a more complete view of his life & career. It's better to have the book than not to have it, but it's missing the heart of the man -- the opera man, one of the all time greatest. Boo, hiss, for not including a discography or a CD.

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