In his final performances with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in August 2013, Claudio Abbado conducted Anton Bruckner's unfinished Symphony No. 9 in D minor, and this recording is drawn from the best takes from those concerts. Considering that this rendition came near the end of Abbado's life and stands as a worthy testament to his achievements, it's easy to read too much into the interpretation, and to view it as a mystical or transcendent reading because of the circumstances. On the one hand, Abbado's understanding of this symphony was as thorough as any conductor's, and the Lucerne musicians played with seriousness and dedication, offering a version that has impressive power and expressive depth. On the other hand, there are many competitive recordings that either match Abbado's for strength and feeling, or surpass it in purely technical terms of sound quality and reproduction. Certainly the sound is exceptional, according to Deutsche Grammophon's high standards, and this stereo recording is exceptionally clean and noise-free.
DG offers a terrific bargain here that anyone who follows this celebrated pianist will want to hear.
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.
In January 2014, music lovers worldwide were saddened to learn that Claudio Abbado had passed away. Deutsche Grammophon feels immensely blessed and proud to be releasing together with Accentus Music Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, which was recorded as part of Abbado’s final concert.
"…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
Claudio Abbado has a highly-developed feeling for Prokofiev's sound world. (…) it is Abbado that casts the strongest spell. Throughout both concertos textures are more delicately coloured, dynamic nuances scrupulously observed and there are feather-light string Sonorities. (…) the engineers produce a beautifully refined and homogeneous balance and (save for the fact that the soloist is a shade larger than life, albeit not so much as Perlman for HMV), it is very impressive indeed. There is plenty of space round the instruments and the sound is truthful.
This DVD gives us an idea of how Abbado has altered his approach to the conducting of Beethoven, Gone are the thick, heavy, well upholstered sounds with slower tempi of a few years ago…
The town of Palermo was illuminated and Claudio Abbado revealed his strong Sicilian roots. Viewers of this concert, broadcasted on TV all across Europe, were inspired to see the maestro so relaxed, gesticulating so emphatically.