Friday, 20 August 2010

Abbado: the zenith




Ever since I first clapped eyes and ears on Claudio Abbado's inaugural concerts with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in 2003, I knew that orchestral music-making never gets better than this. In their annual three weeks of working together, they've given us astounding Mahler, of which I've been uniquely privileged to hear the First and Seventh Symphonies live. All can be seen on expertly directed DVDs, with the exception of the Fourth - surely overdue for release.

Tonight marks what has to be an Alpine peak for both: the Ninth Symphony, written under a sentence of death similar to the one which afflicted great Claudio some years ago, and from which he miraculously emerged, frail in physical terms but stronger than ever interpretatively, capping even his years at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic with fresh wonders at Lucerne.

Let me simply draw your attention to the Festival's livestreaming in collaboration with Arte tonight (18.30 UK time). I'll go even hyperbolically further and add that if you only see one concert in your life, this has to be the one. And if you miss the live event, don't worry - it should be out on DVD in less than a year. Tschuss.

10 comments:

Minnie said...

Welcome back, David! Glad to hear the journey was so well worth all the attendant bother of travel: sounds wonderful ... wonderful sounds ...
Many thanks, also, for the Arte link (they're excellent, especially for their commitment to arts reportage as well as high quality documentary) - vielen Dank!

David said...

Well, we went to catsit and bask in the Rietberg Park. The Mahler was the omphalos, as it were, but would have gone even if disappointed in that area (which seemed very likely given the demand).

I owe quite a few reports and who knows if I'm even back yet (he says mysteriously). But I DO want to hear from anyone who took up the livestream option. Which I proselytized for both here and on The Arts Desk. DID anyone else see it before I sound off?

Minnie said...

Well, as long as the cat isn't a black tom named Behemoth ...
Hope you're having a wonderful time.
So sorry [shame upon me] but arrived too late to the party to actually catch the livestream broadcast. Realised my mistake too late also (there was a clue in the 'livestream' designation, Min, tchah). Terribly dense of me. My loss.
Hope Arte does the decent thing & broadcasts it in their European concert series in due course.
Bis sp├Ąter.

David said...

No, a mostly invisible and antisocial character called Sid, and a younger 'un which just lies around and sets engine going if stroked. A stressbusting activity, catstroking, but more than that I can't say for 'em. Owners now back and they showed no greater affection for their return, lurking in the Rietberg, so there we go.

Arte's transmission date is, I think, 18 September - I'll doublecheck that. Then a DVD release next year some time.

Colin Dunn said...

Thank you for that wonderful clip of the finale from Mahler's Symphony No 7 (the librarian in me wonders if Abbado was using the Kubik or the Ratz edition). The long-breathed passages and phrases, not choppy (as this movement can so easily be). Abbado cleary sees in his mind's eye the end point and he's leading the orchestra towards it. And how very attentive the orchestra is in that clip, especially a second violinist near the back of his section: eyes up, following the maestro, expressively leaning into the music stand where emphasis is required and that he was also giving, surely, with his violin.

Excellent. Is there any chance of a snatch of the Ninth?

Minnie said...

Thanks, David - most cats definitely stressbusters extraordinaire.
Had the date as 19 Sept (Arte usually have a classical concert transmission on Sunday evenings) + noted it on your NIB recommendation on TAD; but v likely to be wrong.

David said...

No, Minnie, correct as ever. And thanks for that. Mind you, I still seem to be alone in experiencing the great event (both ways). Rule one. never ask on a blog, as the silence may be deafening...

But Colin, of course you're right: the long vision, without ever being longwinded, is what makes Abbado's latest Mahler even more remarkable than before, and what a lot of pleasures you have in store. The DVDs so far are of 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7 (plus an amazing Debussy La Mer). All have little Medici-posted clips on YouTube. 9 is yet to come, but Abbado's been patient so we can be too.

Minnie said...

Ah, no - D: DO ask! Perhaps back up blog offer with other means: I am sometimes dilatory in catching up with favourite blogs, but check email religiously(unavoidable, thanks to prompt-plugin: not exacty summoned by bells, but not far off it!).
So glad - + relieved - Arte are doing the decent thing; looking forward to the transmission.

David Damant said...

Cats relate strongly to places not to people - even if moved to a new home, they will often try to return ( butter on the paws is supposed to help ) Students of Naval History will remember that Admiral Lord St Vincent disagreed, and said that his cats ran to greet him when he returned after long voyages ( Remark by his Lordship to the House of Lords when everyone was panicking about an invasion by the French: " My Lords, I did not say they cannot come. I only said they cannot come by sea")

David said...

Well, I can assure you that said recalcitrant Sid DID seem a bit upset with his owner for having left him, but after a day he then came when she called from out of the undergrowth up the lane to the Villa Wesendonck, and was much more biddable by me in her presence...

I do think both Sid and Timmy would miss their prowls around the Rietberg Park if they were to be moved - the whole of Wagner's Green Hill Before Bayreuth is their lobster.