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Claudio Abbado


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Showing 1-25 of 34 posts in this discussion
Posted on Dec 4, 2012 4:36:34 PM PST
Yi-Peng says:
I have been very fond of Abbado. He is a balanced conductor who brings out the lyrical and dramatic sides of a work. His music making improves with time and has stayed remarkably constant across the recordings I've heard.

I own many recordings of him in core repertoire. I have the maroon Beethoven symphonies box, his Chicago version of the Berlioz Fantastique, his Brahms cycle, his DG Dvorak New World and his Mendelssohn cycle. Each of them are gems in my opinion, especially his maroon Beethoven box.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 12:15:35 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012 12:17:57 AM PST
K.J. McGilp says:
I absolutely love Abbado's Bruckner 4 with the Vienna Philharmonic. His Mahler 8 is a favorite of mine as well. As with most conductors there are hits and misses. I feel that Claudio Abbado is truly one of the great conductors of the modern era.
I could say more but this thread sums it up for the most part.

Posted on Nov 30, 2012 8:51:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012 11:19:15 AM PST
I've liked Abbado's conducting most in the following composers: Prokofiev, Debussy, Ravel, Mahler, Bartok, Nono, Mendelssohn, Bruckner, Verdi Operas, Schubert, & Mozart, and I generally prefer his years with the London Symphony Orchestra over the later Berlin years, with some exceptions. I don't know any of the recent Lucerne DVD recordings.

Highlights would include his 'classic' recording of Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin: Bartok: The Miraculous Mandarin; 2 Portraits/Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, Ravel Daphnis et Chloe (my favorite digital version: Ravel: Boléro; Daphnis et Chloé; Alborada del Gracioso), Mendelssohn Symphonies 1-5 & Overtures: Mendelssohn: 5 Symphonies; 7 Overtures, Mozart Mass in C Minor (with sopranos Auger & Bonney): Mozart: Mass in C minor, K. 427 (417a), and his Debussy & Prokofiev, for which he has a special affinity--favorites would include his Debussy La Damoiselle Elue & Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun: Debussy: La Damoiselle Elue; L'Apres-Midi d'un Faune; Images for Orchestra N 2 Iberia, and the 2 Prokofiev Violin Concertos with violinist Shlomo Mintz: Serge Prokofiev: The Violin Concertos / Die Violinkonzerte. I also think Abbado is an unrated Bruckner conductor, and have liked his Vienna Philharmonic recordings on DG: Anton Bruckner: Symphonie No. 4 "Romantische" - Wiener Philharmoniker / Claudio Abbado, Symphony 7, & Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 - Unfinished. His Schubert Symphony 1-9 cycle with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is good too: Schubert: The Symphonies, though I probably prefer the Dresden Staatskapelle Schubert sets by Blomstedt and Sawallisch, and individual recordings by Jochum & Kleiber.

I've been less crazy about his Beethoven--especially the Berlin studio cycle on DG, which I didn't much like. The earlier Vienna cycle on DG is better I think, though probably not a top choice either. In addition, I've not been entirely keen on his Chicago S.O. recordings--except for an excellent Mahler 7th (which he's probably bettered in recent decades). I've also liked an early Boston S.O recording on DG that included Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy, and Debussy's 3 Nocturnes, and a suite from Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe--though again, I'm not sure whether this disc would be among my very top choices for any of these works.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 6:04:18 PM PST
HB says:
"One recording nobody has mentioned is Verdi - Requiem / Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Daniela Barcellona, Julian Konstantinov, Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic"

I have the DVD of this performance and it is extraordinary, although I am not sure it is superior to the much earlier recording of Bernstein, also on DVD. Both versions are extremely enjoyable.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 2:11:39 PM PST
K. Beazley says:
"you must be a poet."

I've been called lots of things, many of them unprintable, but never that. ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 1:27:20 PM PST
I have this DVD and I agree with you 100%. I can barely watch it without breaking down - such is my admiration for this man, and for this particular masterpiece of Verdi's. I love your commentary - you must be a poet.

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 1:04:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2012 1:04:42 PM PST
Now, about that lesser-entity-nephew of his... >>>
but his nephew does puccini
Puccini: Turandot

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 12:53:33 PM PST
Now, about that lesser-entity-nephew of his...

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 12:00:36 PM PST
Skaynan says:
Kim: Absolutely. The requiem is just amazing.

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 11:48:10 AM PST
K. Beazley says:
One recording nobody has mentioned is Verdi - Requiem / Angela Gheorghiu, Roberto Alagna, Daniela Barcellona, Julian Konstantinov, Claudio Abbado, Berlin Philharmonic, which was performed not long after his treatment for stomach cancer, & he looked like "death warmed over", his face gaunt & lined, with a rictus grin, he'd aged 20 years in just one.

But the performance, to commemorate the centenary of Verdi's death, was absolutely visceral & is not to be missed. Of all the Requiems on record I find Verdi's is the one which brings out most powerfully the terror of death & judgement - listening to it in a great performance can be like staring into the Abyss - & for a conductor to conduct it while he himself is standing toe-to-toe with the Grim Reaper, as was the case, has produced a performance of immense, almost frenzied power.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 11:23:54 AM PST
You're my hero! I agree with you 100%. I LOVE Abbado. Say no more.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 11:22:44 AM PST
What can I say? Abbado is a demi-god, in my opinion. I've everything he's ever recorded, on CD or DVD...and he has something truly spiritual in him which his musicians pick up and carry with a certain reverence. But most of this awareness he demonstrates in his conducting, appeared for me, after his close brush with death in 2000. His understanding of Mahler, for example, is at the very least, profound. And here, I quote from Werner Pfister's notes on Abbado's live concert of Mahler's Third with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra:"...with Abbado, ecstasy is never achieved at the expense of musical and rhetorical clarity: a powerful emotional charge is held in check by calm contemplation. Never for a moment does Abbado give undue emphasis to subjective mawkishness or an overly theatrical sense of world-weariness. Abbado's Mahler is precisely calculated and at the same time, intuitively felt".
Of course he has some of the world's greatest musicians under his spell, but his deep sense of something close to divinity shines forth in all of his conducting - especially with Mahler and Pergolesi.
Please forgive my hero worship - but in my own musical and daily life, he has made a enormous change. Yes, I'm an Abbado groupie (which doesn't exclude other conductors!) but you DID want opinions...happily! Good luck with your research - and don't quote me!

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 6:23:06 AM PST
I have his Mozart concertos with Gulda. When I first heard it I thought the orchestra sounded very strange, but having listened to it from time to time for a couple of years I have grown used to it and quite like it. I like Gulda in the Mozart and Beethoven concertos.

I also have his recent recording of the Mozart violin concertos with Carmingnola also on DG, but I really have to be in the mood for it: very fast tempi and a pretty "hard-hitting" approach (in lack of a better word).

I would like to hear his Mozart with Pires.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 28, 2012 6:06:16 AM PST
HB says:
"I heard his Mahler Ninth live with the Berlin Phil when they toured USA in the early Nineties."

I also heard Abbado conduct live, the Mahler 7th with Chicago. It was performed at the Dade County Auditorium in Miami, Florida, in the mid-eighties. Dade County Auditorium has really awful acoustics but Abbado was still able to get excellent sound out of the great CSO. It was a wonderful performance. I especially remember enjoying the 4th movement with all of its extra string instruments.

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 5:39:20 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2012 8:42:11 AM PST
Skaynan says:
Abbado is one of my all time favorite conductors. I love whatever he touches. I disagree about his Brahms- I think his Brahms: The Symphonies; Overtures; Haydn Variations is really great, and very underrated. And I definitely agree about his Schubert symphony cycle- the best out there IMHO, also quite underrated, and it only shows that he doesn't really have a problem with the "core German repertoire", contrary to popular belief.

Concerning the "German" repertoire- There is an apparent prejudice regarding Italian Conductors; Same things had been said about Giulini, and I find his Beethoven, Brahms, and Bruckner (the 7-9th) among the best recordings of this music. Go figure.

Edit: Checking the Amazon reviews of the Abbado Brahms set, I found a review from our old friend Santa-Fe Listener. He gives it three stars, and the review title reads "Abbado's Brahms is plush but tame and unimaginative". When Santa-Fe Listener slights something, it is usually the mark of a really great recording indeed! ;-)

Posted on Nov 28, 2012 5:16:27 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 28, 2012 5:25:04 AM PST
scarecrow says:
Abbado is always impeccable, and with his opera life he never short-changes the emotive, the passion, as many claim Boulez does. Abbado has had a great affinity for contemporary music, and this life-world he's brought to his Mahler,Stravinsky and Mussorgsky, It makes for a very clear, clean music, balanced, and refined. music,canvas. . He brings greater dimensions to the music than pure lyricism and or rhythmic drive as Solti was known for. . . . His Beethoven can be a bit too dramatic,storylike; but nonetheless just as good as anyone else. . .

I heard his Mahler Ninth live with the Berlin Phil when they toured USA in the early Nineties.I don't know what I said, perhaps I mentioned his friend Luigi Nono, He was gracious enough to invite me to talk to him for 10 minutes or so after a rehearsal. this. .while he was opening his mail, some of it had wax seals. . .

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 9:35:35 PM PST
Years ago I heard Abbado with the Los Angeles Philharmonic performing Mahler's Sixth. To date, it remains one of the two or three finest performances of this difficult score I've ever heard.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 9:00:00 PM PST
MF says:
Kim

'it was one of the most affecting performances I've ever experienced, usually only being so transfixed by live performances I've attended. Real "edge of the seat" stuff in a hushed yet intensely engaged fashion.'

Beautifully put - and exactly as I experienced it.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 3:23:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 3:24:54 PM PST
Mussorgsky: Choral Works- Night on Bald Mountain, etc.
was a favorite of mine in the days of vinyl. It was the first recording I had heard of the 'original' version of 'bald mountain' and though Abbado has re-recorded most of this album digitally, it remains a favorite. the 'four choruses' were new to me on this disc as well.

Mussorgsky: Boris Godunov
is a hybrid of two of mussorgsky's completed versions. If I had only one Boris godonov it would be this one. an Italian conducting a German orchestra may not seem a first choice for me, but it is.
(this has been reissued-but go for this one used if that isn't a problem- the Text is a MUST for this opera)

Mussorgsky: Khovanshchina - Abbado
he uses mostly the shostakovich. Again, I have several performances and this is the best of the lot.(yes, I've heard the gergiev)

Mussorgsky: St. John's Night On Bare Mountain; Works
this has a 'choral' version of Bald mountain. This is my favorite recording of Bald mountain of the MANY i've got...(caveat only that Svetlanov's seventies melodiya one is the RK-kind of wish he got his chops on the more guttural original version)

all that said, if you only want one abbado/mussorgsky disc:
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition, Night on Bald Mountain, Sennacherib, Salammbo, Oedipus, Joshua
Though it is a war horse, the 'pictures' here is amazing.
this disc also has those four choruses and the original version of 'night'.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 2:27:26 PM PST
HB

Thank you for the Haydn review - I think I will stick to what I have...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 2:10:21 PM PST
K. Beazley says:
MF,

Yes, I watched that same telecast. The finale in particular wa the most profound I've heard. In fact, it was one of the most affecting performances I've ever experienced, usually only being so transfixed by live performances I've attended. Real "edge of the seat" stuff in a hushed yet intensely engaged fashion.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 2:05:00 PM PST
march, not sure if you're a fan of the beethoven 6, but my recommendation of the berlin set has one of my favorite modern recordings of the 6th. for comparison, i also have abbado's 6th with the vienna, and they are quite different. the 1st movement is one of my favorite beethoven symphonic movements, and the vienna recording is much slower. i prefer it faster, but it is an interesting comparison.

Beethoven: Symphonies No 6 / Pastorale & No. 8

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 1:34:45 PM PST
John Spinks says:
Andrew,

No. I don't think I could pick a clear winner in the set. They are all very good in my view.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 1:31:21 PM PST
HB says:
"I wonder what people think about his Haydn?"

I just listened to two movements from the Haydn set you referred to, slow movement of 102 and the finale of 101. The playing is fine and it definitely sounds like Abbado knows his Haydn. While the performances are perfectly acceptable, they lack passion. I suspect these were studio recordings without the benefit of a live performance before the recording sessions. In other words, just another day at the office. One more comment: the CDs are all on the short side. None of them have more than an hour of music.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 1:30:00 PM PST
John,

Are these arranged in order?
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  17
Total posts:  34
Initial post:  Nov 27, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 4, 2012

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