Tuesday, January 21, 2014

a great conductor

Claudio Abbado has died. Here's some tributes.

I never got to hear his conducting in person, but I encountered it on records very early. One of my first LPs was a gift of his expansive and well-seasoned Brahms Second with the Berlin Philharmonic. (This was years - a couple decades - before he became chief conductor there.) This and Bruno Walter's Fourth were the recordings that taught me to love Brahms's symphonies. Here's a small taste of his live performance of the same work with the same orchestra.

Strangely, I only have one other Abbado recording, another early-acquired LP that I still cherish. It was with the London Symphony Orchestra, of the Janáček Sinfonietta and the Hindemith Weber Metamorphoses, two early/mid 20C works that are perfectly to my taste. Again, I pretty much learned them from this record. I have to this day not found another recording of the Sinfonetta to match it for majesty and power, which is why I've kept it.

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