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Mahler: Symphony No. 6 - Lucerne Festival Orchestra & Claudio Abbado [Blu-ray]

4.8 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The Lucerne Festival each year opens with a concert given by the resident Lucerne Festival Orchestra. This is an elite ensemble founded by Claudio Abbado that is based on the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, to which are added internationally renowned soloists and chamber musicians. Marking the centenary of the
symphony's premiere in 1906, Abbado leads a heart-felt rendition of Mahler's
tragic and prophetic Symphony No. 6; the performance was made all the more
powerful because of Abbado's long association with Mahler's music.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Claudio Abbado
  • Directors: Michael Bayer
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Classical, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish, Italian
  • 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: EuroArts
  • DVD Release Date: September 28, 2010
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003X859FM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,503 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

5 star
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3 star
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Top Customer Reviews

By Mr John Haueisen VINE VOICE on December 24, 2010
Verified Purchase
Mahler's Sixth Symphony is a great way to see the benefits of Blu-ray technology. The crystal-clear picture and enhanced sound are best shown off by a work like this. You'll hear sounds you never heard, coming from each speaker. I started to point out how well you can hear individual instruments that Mahler's 6th allows "cameo solos," like the xylophone, tuba, timpani, harps, cymbals, French horn, and of course the cowbells and giant wooden block and hammer. But then I noticed that all the horns and strings and woodwinds seemed to be getting cameos too. This is such an unusual work that each instrument seems to get a chance to shine, and the Blu-ray technology enabled this beautifully.

Be sure your neighbors are away if you turn up the volume. Not only will you hear the distant cowbells, but the drums will threaten to shake the walls and floors. My two little fox terriers left the room with their tails down--and they usually like Mahler!

Don't let the subtitle "Tragic" make you think less of this Mahler symphony. Many Mahler enthusiasts agree that it is "tragic" only in the sense that, despite all our successes, sufferings and trials in life, mortality will claim us in the end.

Abbado and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra do it again, turning in the best performance of Mahler's Sixth since Leonard Bernstein did it decades ago. For those familiar with Mahler's Sixth, yes, this includes two devastating hammerblows with a large wooden mallet and a resonating wooden box--finally these are hammerblows approaching the huge mallet used by Leonard Bernstein. I could rave on about how clearly you can see and hear each instrument as it plays its part in this giant symphony, but you can see it for yourself.
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I continue to be in awe over these fine performances of the Mahler symphonies by Abbaddo. I had all of the Mahler symphonies on CD, but must admit I appreciate Mahler much more now that I get to see the orchestra. The sound, video quality and direction are perfect. They call this the tragic symphony but for me it was pure joy. I have watched some Berstein performances on DVD and to date I will take Abbaddo or Thielmann anytime....Those old video recordings do detract from my enjoyment of the pieces....and my musical training simply is not able to tell if one performance exceeds another. I did get the Chailly Mahler symphonies 2,8 and 9 based on reviews....the rest by Abbaddo.
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Abbado has the enviable reputation of being one of the world's finest Mahler conductors. This has been further reinforced by his set of performances held at Lucerne with his hand-picked orchestra constituting the Lucerne Festival orchestra. This very large orchestra, apart from containing musicians of outstanding individual abilities, also lays great stress upon their empathy and experience with the world of chamber music. Thus is achieved the unusual combination of orchestral size allied to individual and corporate sensitivity. This suits Abbado's particular vision of Mahler and this is apparent throughout this very fine performance which some would describe as close to definitive.

Abbado has made two previous and successful recordings of this symphony for CD in 1979 with the Chicago Symphony and then in 2005. This latter recording with the Berlin Philharmonic was voted record of the year by the jury at the influential `Gramophone' magazine. The current recording was made in 2006 and differs little from the 2005 audio-only CD. Of course there is the undoubted huge advantage of actually seeing the interpretation unfold before our very eyes.

This symphony is often considered to be Mahler's most tragic symphony and much has been made of the significance of the hammer blows incorporated in the music - the blows of fate. Tragic events of Mahler's life are associated with this and these are regularly referred to as the death of his young daughter, the diagnosis of his own fatal illness plus the loss of his job. Another possibility is the effect of unrest preceding the 1914 war. However all of these events came after the composition of the symphony which was first performed in 2006 and which had been written at a particularly happy time in Mahler's life.
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Great sound, terrific picture quality and superb playing by Claudio Abbado's "customized" Lucerne Festival Orchestra. I'm happy it's a part of my collection and can truly say nothing negative about this great Blu-ray presentation. Abbado is without question of today's great Mahler interpreters and I try to buy everything put out with him and this terrific ensemble. I wasn't disappointed when I added this to my collection.
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