The news of Julius Rudel's death on Thursday at the age of 93 sent a sad wave through the music world. This first-rate conductor, impresario and gentleman left a huge mark, especially for his long stewardship of the New York City Opera.
For a lot of us, remembering Mr. Rudel's legacy means remembering that of stellar soprano Beverly Sills, too. They did some amazing work together. And sublime, nowhere more so than in their recording of "Marietta's Lied" from Korngold's "Die tote Stadt."
I got to ask Miss Sills about this exceptionally unhurried performance shortly before her death. She credited Mr. Rudel with suggesting and guiding the poignant interpretation, which she said was one of her favorite collaborations with the conductor.
Although this sound quality on this clip is not ideal, the magic sure comes through. Note how perfectly Mr. Rudel gets the orchestra to breathe with Miss Sills and how exquisitely he shapes the coda. Like I said, a first-rate conductor. He will be missed.