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Claudio Abbado & Lucerne Festival Orchestra - Bruckner 5 [Blu-ray]

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Abbados approach to the music of Bruckner is soft and songlike, at times tense and urgent, but constantly filled with warmth of feeling not only the Neue Zürcher Zeitung is full of praise when Claudio Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra play Bruckner. Their interpretation of his awe-inspiring Fifth Symphony reflects the composers burgeoning powers and exquisite compositional artistry. As The Guardian poetically states: The composer himself, one suspects, might have leapt to embrace Abbado as an ideal interpreter.

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Anton Bruckner, Claudio Abbado
  • Directors: Michael Beyer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, HiFi Sound, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Accentus
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007KY4UU0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,039 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have been going to concerts for about half a century and have yet to see a live performance of Bruckner's fifth symphony. However, having seen both the DVD and Blu-Ray of this Summer 2011 performance by Claudio Abaddo and his Lucerne Festival Orchestra, I believe that this clear and crisp video with excellent sonics comes close to what I've missed by not having seen a live performance. Great Bruckner conductors have the ability to create a sense of unity across these massive four-movement works, instill a pulse that links the great outbursts, the lyrical outpourings, the luftpauses, while at the same time avoiding the impression of a series of disconnected episodes. And Abaddo and this exceptional group of players achieve this in remarkable fashion. Watching Abaddo conduct, without a score as with all of his Lucerne Festival videos and his Beethoven symphony cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic, I cannot help but think about how it must have been a shock to the Berlin Philharmonic musicians when Abaddo took over the podium following the death of Herbert Von Karajan. In this video of his performance of the Bruckner fifth, his emotion-conveying facial expressions, his continuous eye contact with his players, is in marked contrast to his distinguished predecessor in Berlin who conducted in a precise and controlled manner, but with eyes closed and with a facial expression that conveyed little if any of the emotional content of the work he was conducting. It is sad that Bruckner was never able to attend an orchestral performance of this masterpiece, and maybe it is fortuitous that he was too ill to attend the premier of his fifth symphony in Graz, conducted by Franz Schalk who had secretly adulterated the score, changing the orchestration and inflicting massive cuts, especially in the finale.Read more ›
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I first encountered Bruckner in the early 60's, and have had Bruckner "phases" ever since, unlike Mahler, of whom I have been a constant devotee since that same time. My initial Bruckner opus was the sixth symphony, his most succinct, and which has remained my favorite since those days(great tunes, well integrated). From there I branched out to earlier and later works. The fifth has always been the toughest nut to crack for me.

Listeners first encountering this 5th. symphony, if they were familiar with other Bruckner works, could be forgiven for thinking that the first movement in particular was constructed from discarded pieces of melody from earlier symphonies, strung together with no overall plan in mind. Certainly, the developmental agenda is not obvious. However, things seem to get more cogent as the movements progress, although there are still instances where beautiful little snippets of melody are left hanging without resolution.

Abbado does a pretty good job of hanging all this together - no mean feat for what must be a devilishly difficult conducting assignment. Just watch how he creates the little nuances in rubato and volume.

Gerhard Knapp in his review has doubts about the Lucerne orchestra being the ideal Bruckner orchestra, and I know what he means, although I think it's more the hall than the orchestra. If you listen during the brass chorales, you can tell the Lucerne hall, being narrow and relatively low-ceilinged, has a short decay time, thereby making it hard for the music to breathe in the Bruckner "cathedral of sound" manner. Compare this recording to, say, the Bruckner 7th, recorded by Welser-Most and the Cleveland Orchestra in Severance Hall. The difference in reverberation, and therefore fullness of sound, is quite marked.
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Format: DVD
Bruckner's Fifth Symphony, composed during a troubled time in the composer's life, was competed in 1876 and had its first orchestral performance as late as 1894. Compared to the the more free flowing Fourth Symphony, this longer work can seem more episodic, rambling and even experimental. Heard in this superb performance by the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under the direction of Claudio Abbado, it sounds magnificent.

While Abbado's interpretation is certainly not barnstorming, neither is it limp wristed. Although utilizing a large orchestra Abbado approaches many aspects of this work more as a piece of chamber music-thus the subtleties of the wind and brass writing are gloriously displayed. His hand picked orchestra plays flawlessly and the whole symphony is expertly paced. While Gunther Wand's DVD version is also noteworthy , its filming is somewhat dated and the performance is less coherent than Abbado's.

Listening and watching on a decent home theater system I found the warm and clear sound perfectly acceptable. The performance is additionally well filmed. Highly recommended.
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Format: Blu-ray
Bruckner's Fifth Symphony is a difficult piece to bring off: episodic and at times almost disjointed and lacking the inner drive and structural cohesiveness of its siblings. It seems that the composer, after the glorious Fourth, was trying out both new and traditional venues (an abundance of counterpoint) and exploring formal innovations which not always quite jell. As a whole, the symphony needs a firm grip on its development and, moreover, a stress on some of its proto-modern features in rhythm and harmony, in brief: sharp contours to the many outbursts and a loving hand with the lyrical passages. For me, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski's 1996 CD recording with the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra delivers all this, and more. On DVD, Günter Wand (in dated video and audio) is fine, Franz Welser-Möst with the great Clevelanders more incisive, though sometimes hampered by the reverberant acoustic of St. Florian.

Abbado's recording has received much praise elsewhere, and I gladly agree that his is a very special reading, full of warmth and sensitivity to the composer's mood swings. I do not quite concur with Ian Giles regarding the problems with the recording's dynamic range he experienced: I listened (with headphones) to both soundtracks and, yes, the dynamic range is wide and some piano passages are low in volume indeed, but all in all the dynamics are not out of line for me. The video is very good, so is the audio, up to today's very best standards (see C Major!). As to the interpretation, I don't find the Lucerne Festival Orchestra ideally suited to Bruckner's idiom and his sonorities. At times I sensed some tentativeness in ensemble or intonation, too subtle to pinpoint exactly.
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Claudio Abbado & Lucerne Festival Orchestra - Bruckner 5 [Blu-ray]
This item: Claudio Abbado & Lucerne Festival Orchestra - Bruckner 5 [Blu-ray]
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