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Customer Discussions > Classical Music forum

Claudio Abbado

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Showing 1-25 of 34 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 27, 2012 11:36:56 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 26, 2013 10:11:44 AM PST]

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 11:44:17 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 12:18:44 PM PST
his stravinsky 'rite of spring' has been a staple of my collection since the days of vinyl.
his stravinsky, prokofiev, ravel and even bartok are always worth hearing.

His mussorgsky is a must have for me and considering, I'm partial to russians conducting russians...that is saying a lot.

Given everything, he is my favorite living conductor.

KNowing what I do know about you, I would send you to his schubert box.Schubert: The Symphonies
I have put the kertesz and marriner boxes on the shelf since it has arrived.
('the ghost writer' gave it three stars.... do I even need to go there?)

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 12:37:06 PM PST
abbado is one of my favorite conductors. i have several recordings, and i even got to see him live with the berlin once in ann arbor, michigan.

i recommended his tchaikovsky 3rd to you in your tchaikovsky thread: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 3, Op. 29 (Polish); and 1812 Overture

another set i very much enjoy is his beethoven: Beethoven: The Symphonies

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 12:43:11 PM PST
HB says:
I own the Abbado Mahler 5 with the Lucerne Orchestra and the 9th with the Mahler Youth Orchestra. I prefer the 9th because the young players play with incredible passion. Via Netflix I also saw the Abbado Mahler 2nd and 6th on DVD. They were both outstanding. His Beethoven 7th, on DVD, is possibly the most exciting performance I have ever heard of that masterpiece.

One thing I find curious about Abbado is his refusal to conduct any Puccini operas. Anybody know what is behind that unusual decision on his part?

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 12:49:09 PM PST
MF says:

I saw the last half of a televised concert with Abbado conducting at Lucerne Mahler's 9th - unforgettable. If it is on YouTube, watch at least the last movement.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 12:57:27 PM PST
Claudio Abbado can be a tough nut to crack. I count him among my favorites, but he alternates between inspired conducting worthy to be compared to the best and rather dull conducting that belies his star status. He's always been a modest individual and modesty isn't always the trait one wants in music. Yet he always sounds genuine, rarely mannered. When he's inspired, he's worthy to be compared to just about anyone.

I own a couple dozen of his discs and my impression is that he reached his peak during his Berlin reign. His early days could be inspiring and exuberant. His Prokofiev and Ravel with Argerich is very fine, and what I've heard of his early Mahler (2nd and 4th) is delightful. I don't own much of him at the LSO, but his Ravel Daphnis et Chloe is brilliant.

For me, his very best is his Mahler, especially at Berlin. His 1st, 5th, and 8th could easily be one of the 2 or 3 best recordings of the respective symphonies. His Wunderhorn songs is beyond compare. Outside of Mahler, he could be delightful in Prokofiev, with a stunning Romeo and Juliet disc at Berlin and a masterful Peter and the Wolf with Sting and the COE.

His greatest weakness seems to be in the traditional Germanic repertoire. Most of his Beethoven and Brahms falls below greatness, with the exception of a Brahms Double Concerto with Gil Shaham and Jian Wang that is electric and fresh from beginning to end. He started out great with Tchaikovsky but most of his later efforts lacks his final push of inspiration.

He was a great accompanist, probably more so than Karajan, his predecessor at Berlin. I continue to think modern music is his greatest strength. Both Karajan and Rattle seem much more suited to the Germanic repertoire than he ever did.

From what I've heard, he is clearly past his prime today, although I haven't heard any of his work since Berlin, with the exception of a dazzling Mahler 6 he recorded back in Berlin in 2004 during Rattle's tenure.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 1:02:37 PM PST
Haydn: 7 "London" Symphonies

I wonder what people think about his Haydn?
Worth getting?

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 1:14:11 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 1:14:55 PM PST
I was always disappointed in Abbado - Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Mozart - until I heard his later Mahler recordings. Now I realize he is the best alive when he is "on", but when is that?

Recently, taking clues from his Mahler, I guessed correctly I might like his Symphonie Fantastique, a piece where I've not accepted the usual recommendations. With my recent mania for opera, I now wonder where his best can be found in that repertory.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 1:28:14 PM PST
John Spinks says:
My favorite C. Abbado recordings:

1. Debussy -- Trois Nocturnes with the Boston Symphony Orchestra
2. Ravel -- Daphnis et Chloe: Suite No. 2 also BSO (originally coupled with the above)
3. Stravinsky -- Petrouchka with the London Symphony Orchestra (DG)
4. Schubert -- Symphony cycle with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (DG)
5. Tchaikovsky -- Syms. 1, 2, 5 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Sony)
6. Mahler -- Des Knaben Wunderhorn -- Berlin Philharmonic/Von Otter/Quasthoff (DG)
7. Mahler -- Sym. No. 7 in E minor -- Chicago SO (DG)
8. Mendelssohn -- Symphony cycle and Overtures with the LSO (DG)
9. Prokofiev -- Lt. Kije, Op. 60 -- Chicago SO
10. Prokofiev -- Scythian Suite, Op. 20 -- Chicago SO
11. Rossini -- Overtures -- LSO
12. Bartok -- Miraculous Mandarin, Op. 19 -- LSO (DG)
13. Berlioz -- Symphonie fantastique -- CSO (DG)
14. Brahms -- Hungarian Dances -- Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (DG)

Enough already. I pretty much like all of his work.

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

Are these arranged in order?

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.

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

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 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

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

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.

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

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

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'.

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

'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 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 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 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! ;-)

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 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 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!

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.

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.
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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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