Like a cry of Nature'': thus the expression mark that opens Gustav Mahler's First Symphony and the programme of the Festival 2009 which takes up Nature as its guiding theme. Mahler, in the First Symphony, shaped the cry of nature'' into a musical vision of an entire human life in four stages from a spring-like upsurge of feelings through desire and suffering, to the end of earthly existence and the entrance into Paradise. The opening treats listeners to a spectacular début as the twenty-two-year-old Chinese pianist Yuja Wang plays Sergei Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto. In her Lucerne appearances she displays the full range of her artistry as Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto demands not only lyricism and intimacy but brilliance and virtuosity. Claudio Abbado has realised a dream with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. The orchestra consists of an exclusive ensemble of handpicked musicians like Kolja Blacher and Sebastian Breuninger, Natalia Gutman, Clemens Hagen and Jens Peter Maintz. Claudio Abbado is undeniably a supreme Mahler conductor and his best selling recordings with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra symphonies No. 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 (on Blu-ray No. 1, 2, 3 and 6) have already been released on EuroArts have set new standards in interpretation of works by Gustav Mahler.
This is a concert of which I'm most proud and honoured to say'I was there',As i wrote at the time,if the composer had died after writing this,you'd imagine - from Claudio Abbado's performance with his good-looking once- a-year superband,at least-that his mission on earth was already perfected. Not to be missed. Performance ***** Picture and Sound ***** --BBC Music Magazine,Sept 2010
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