Notes and Editorial Reviews
Symphony No. 3
Claudio Abbado, cond; Anna Larsson (alt); Women of the Arnold Schoenberg Ch; Tölz Boys’ Ch; Lucerne Festival O
EUROARTS 2056338 (DVD: 102:00) Live: Lucerne 8/19/2007
This is the fifth in a series of Lucerne Festival Mahler concert DVDs featuring Claudio Abbado and his hand-picked summer orchestra, a series which began in 2003 with a luminous performance of the “Resurrection” Symphony. I have enthusiastically reviewed the other releases, and since Abbado’s Mahler Third has been
universally acknowledged as among the most authoritative, this release is essentially self-recommending.
In the first movement, summer enters in a delightfully understated way, at first merely flexing its muscles, then systematically building to full-throated exuberance for its final statement of triumph. This is a performance that makes the most of the quiet moments as well as reveling in the “Rabble”; Abbado once again demonstrates his mastery of dynamic contrast. Mahler’s “flower” piece projects intimacy as well as puckish animation. The satiric Scherzando both complements and gently satirizes the delicacy of the Menuetto. For the posthorn solo, the camera pans toward the ceiling as the echoing tones of Hannes Läubin’s posthorn float earthward.
Anna Larsson’s sober, eloquent “O Mensch” is free of melodrama; her statuesque physical presence is visually striking. Kai Frömbgen (the uncredited English horn) manages a subtle glissando that is very effective. The fifth movement follows immediately. The cherubs of Tölz are characteristically fresh-voiced and angelic, while the women’s voices complement them perfectly; Larsson adds a note of gravitas. The opening strains of the final Adagio are almost inaudible, foreshadowing the Adagietto of No. 5. But the performance is anything but understated as passions ebb and flow, building inevitably to a glowing, cathartic close.
Camerawork is efficient and sharp; there are relatively few audience shots and panoramic views—the viewer gets the chance to see the musicians as individuals, and a radiant Abbado is once again in his element. The sound has transparent brilliance and depth: every reed-buzz and drum-tap is audible, while the low tones anchor this immense canvas. The usual stereo, Dolby, and DTS surround options are available.
With this DVD, Mahlerites have access to an audio-visual triple crown: Bernstein/VPO/DG; Haitink/Berlin/Philips, and now Abbado in Lucerne on EuroArts. Warmly recommended.
FANFARE: Christopher Abbot
Picture format: NTSC 16:9 anamorphic
Sound format: PCM Stereo / Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
Booklet notes: English, German, French
Running time: 102 mins
No. of DVDs: 1 (DVD 9) Read less
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 3 in D minor by Gustav Mahler
Anna Larsson (Alto)
Tölz Boys Choir,
Lucerne Festival Orchestra,
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Written: 1893-1896; Hamburg, Germany
Date of Recording: 08/19/2007
Venue: Culture and Convention Center, Lucerne
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