With this special edition DG pays tribute to an extraordinary musical partnership. The 5CD box set collects all the concerto recordings made by pianist Martha Argerich with conductor Claudio Abbado over more than 45 years.
"…DG's new recording is magnificently balanced, creating a darkly glittering tapestry of sound and Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic could hardly be more acute or sympathetic partners. Those interested primarily in the Second Concerto should certainly winkle this disc out from a dauntingly long list of alternatives." ~Grammophone
This recording is remarkable in that while Abbado, and the wonderful London Symphony Orchestra's players, are playing mostly atonal music that can seem downright strange, dissonant, and strident, especially to ears that are not used to Berg, they have no trouble conveying the beauty, lusciousness, and excitement of much of this music. This is particularly true in the beginning and end of the "Lulu Suite," the final movement ("Marsch") of Berg's "Three Pieces for Orchestra," and the final selection of the five "Altenberg" lieder.
Mehta's is a performance of extremes, of tempo as well as dynamic, and the CBS recording—which has oddities of balance but which in general is more spacious and less closely focused than one expects on this label— underlines the contrasts.
Overall the sound is breathtakingly vivid with tremendous impact but plenty of space round it, so that the heavyweight bass drum and multiple timpani beats leading into the "Glorification of the Chosen One" in Part 2 are as shattering as I have ever known them, matching the violently immediate recordings of Solti (Decca) and Abbado (DG).(Edward Greenfield, Gramophone, July 1978)
Abbado's Verdi recordings are some of the finest available and this Requiem recording is no expection. Abbado takes a less ferocious approach than say Muti, or Barenboim, balancing the dramatic moments effectively against the more introspective aspects of the score. Ricciarelli is in fine form here, singing with a fine sense of line and intense emotional declamation. Her intonation is perfect. Verrett blends seamlessly with Ricciarelli, making the most of their duet and capturing the intense sadness of much of the writing quite well. Domingo, in his first recording of the part, provides a steady stream of golden tone, effortlessly produced. His emotional temperature runs about right here - not overly dramatic - after all, this is not Aida - but strong feelings kept on a tight rein. Ghiaurov is phenomenal. His gigantic bass somehow anchoring the entire quartet and chorus into an imposing yet gorgeous Verdian soundscape. There are many excellent Verdi Requiem recordings - this is surely one of the very best.