Notes and Editorial Reviews
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Symphony No. 9
Claudio Abbado, cond; Gustav Mahler Youth O
EUROARTS 2054004 (Blu-ray: 84:00) Live: Rome 4/2004
This performance of the Mahler
Ninth comprises a sort of appendix to the set of symphonies that has been recorded at the Lucerne Festival since 2003 (Andrew Quint included the Blu-ray of the Lucerne Festival recording of the Ninth, recorded in 2010, on his Want List in
35:2). I reviewed the DVD in 29:2; please see that review for a fuller assessment of this concert.
It was quite energizing to watch this video after a hiatus of a few years. The intensity of this performance is in stark contrast to the more meditative (and longer, by about five minutes) version recorded six years later; the instrumental attacks are sharper and more pointed, and the humor of the second movement is manifest in the smiles of the first violinists as the seconds dig into the
rhythm, as well as on the face of their conductor.
Perhaps the most important difference between this and the (very fine) later performance, though, is in the mutual admiration so evident between these incredibly talented young musicians and their mentor. One measure of the quality of this orchestra is clear in the later video: Two members of the youth orchestra in 2004 are participants in the Lucerne band of 2010. Concertmaster Raphael Christ is now Lucerne’s principal second violinist, and oboist Lucas Macias Navarro is now the principal oboist in the Lucerne orchestra.
The sound of this concert, recorded at the (then) new Concert Hall of the Santa Cecilia National Academy, is excellent. I had neither surround-sound nor high-definition TV when I reviewed this performance the first time, so this Blu-ray is something of a revelation. For the infectious enthusiasm of the performers, this is now my Abbado Mahler Ninth of choice.
FANFARE: Christopher Abbot
Liner notes by Donald Mitchell.
Picture format: 1080i Full HD - 16:9
Sound format: PCM Stereo, DTS-HD Master Audio
Region code: 0
Booklet notes: English, German
Running time: 84 mins
"The triumph of Abbado in Mahler's Ninth Symphony - A lesson in rigour and inspiration." -- II Tempo, Rome
"They are young; the best of the best of the best; drawn from more than 20 European countries, incredible talent, marshalled and disciplined into an orchestra like no other, with every principal a soloist to die for, every player absolutely focused in his and her purpose, and every section trying to outdo, not each other, but itself." -- Michael Tumelty, The Herald
Works on This Recording
Symphony no 9 in D major by Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra
Written: 1908-1909; Austria
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