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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine consolidation of Abbado's previous Gramophone 2005 CD Award of the Year for the same symphony, 11 Nov. 2011
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.6 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Abbado has the enviable reputation of being one of the world's finest Mahler conductors. This has been further reinforced by his set of performances held at Lucerne with his hand-picked orchestra constituting the Lucerne Festival orchestra. This very large orchestra, apart from containing musicians of outstanding individual abilities, also lays great stress upon their empathy and experience with the world of chamber music. Thus is achieved the unusual combination of orchestral size allied to individual and corporate sensitivity. This suits Abbado's particular vision of Mahler and this is apparent throughout this very fine performance which some would describe as close to definitive.

Abbado has made two previous and successful recordings of this symphony for CD in 1979 with the Chicago Symphony and then in 2005. This latter recording with the Berlin Philharmonic was voted record of the year by the jury at the influential `Gramophone' magazine. The current recording was made in 2006 and differs little from the 2005 audio-only CD. Of course there is the undoubted huge advantage of actually seeing the interpretation unfold before our very eyes.

This symphony is often considered to be Mahler's most tragic symphony and much has been made of the significance of the hammer blows incorporated in the music - the blows of fate. Tragic events of Mahler's life are associated with this and these are regularly referred to as the death of his young daughter, the diagnosis of his own fatal illness plus the loss of his job. Another possibility is the effect of unrest preceding the 1914 war. However all of these events came after the composition of the symphony which was first performed in 2006 and which had been written at a particularly happy time in Mahler's life. So how does Abbado see these conflicting situations?

The first movement march comes over here as fairly jaunty rather than tragic. The cowbells take their place as depicting mountain scenery. Observation of Abbado's face shows delight, pleasure and encouragement. No sign of a tragic interpretation here. The second movement is essentially a peaceful and serenely melodic invention and yet again this is the impression we get from Abbado's body language. The scherzo follows and still the jaunty mood prevails. Abbado, in line with other conductor's reverses the order of these two central movements in order to balance the musical content more evenly within the context of the whole work. Mahler himself pondered over this balance before the final publication.

The last movement brings a considerable change however. In this very long 30 minute movement the mood clearly darkens and Abbado's body language is altogether more sober. At this point it is reasonable to read tragedy into the work without really understanding the motive for its inclusion and the conclusion is certainly bleak. In this performance Abbado holds the audience in total silence for a remarkably extended period before turning to acknowledge applause. There can be no doubt that he sees this symphony as ending in tragedy. This is projected as a considerable contrast with the mood of the first 3 movements and is thus all the more powerful as a concluding statement.

The generously spacious layout of the orchestra allows the camera work to succeed in providing both sensitive detail as well as panoramic views. This visual element makes a telling contribution as we are able to see the changing body language of the conductor and this adds to our understanding of the sounds he brings to our attention. The sound is presented in wide-ranging DTS 5.1 and stereo formats and captures all of this with admirable lucidity.

I would therefore suggest this is a clear contender for potential purchase by collectors and should give much pleasure and satisfaction to all eventual purchasers of the recording. This is a quality product in every way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary, 3 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.6 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
(I bought the DVD version of this release.)

After listening to Abbado's DG recording of this symphony in November I have spent the last two months listening to every other version that I could get my hands on. Among the many Barbirolli is great; Bernstein's first recording with the NY orchestra is spot on; Solti is cataclysmic; Boulez will show you details you've never heard before.

But I finally listened to this version today, on a CD with the audio ripped from this DVD, and all I can say is that this is absolutely extraordinary. I don't routinely expect a "shattering emotional experience" listening to a live orchestra; less so a CD at home; and certainly not sitting in the car in a swimming pool car park waiting for my daughter, which is where I was tonight at the end of this.

This recording is wonderful and truly awesome. It's a real shame that this performance is not available on CD.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another in Abbado's fine Mahler series, 18 Mar. 2011
By 
Mr. John Manning (Penarth, Vale of Glam Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.6 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Abbado reinforces his reputation as a Mahler interpreter, guiding his orchestra through the composer's "Tragic" symphony. Little needs to be said about the quality of his Lucerne Festival Orchestra, who invariably respond admirably to Abbado. The final movement with its "hammer-blows of fate" is a truly moving experience.
Euroarts' production values are maintained in this recording; pictures and sound are excellent, as is direction.
I feel the DTS HD surround sound is somewhat less focused on this disc than on the others I have auditioned, almost putting the listener inside the orchestra and spreading the postioning of the instruments beyond the front speakers. This is not necessarily a criticism, as there may be a heightened sense of involvement with the music. Overall the sound is comparable with other blu-rays in this Mahler series, (I exclude Symphony no. 2 as reviews have deterred me from purchasing it), with a wide frequency and dynamic range. Mahler's heavy use of percussion is captured well; the engineer left headroom for the hammer blows, which are startling. Imagine a fairground 'try your strength' machine where you have to hit a target as hard as you can with a large wooden mallet. That roughly describes what happens here, the target being a wooden block that makes the dead sound that Mahler specified. But what a sound! The bass drum is also beautifully clear.
A winner, then, and my thanks to all involved in its production.
P.S. 29/04/2011 - see other reviews for the blu-ray version of the second symphony, now corrected and sounding magnificent. Well done Euroarts.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gift for Husband & He Loved It, 3 Feb. 2014
By 
L. S. Quigg (Berks, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.6 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Really delighted with this & he loves listening to it, especially after the recent passing of the conductor Claudio Abado.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahler 6, 14 Oct. 2010
By 
Ayjaybee "woodnymph" (Chulmleigh, Devon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.6 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This was a purchase to replace a standard DVD and it was worth the change. Even as a DVD it is a brilliant recording and in bluray it even better.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Mahler music: Abbado and the sixth symphony, 15 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.6 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I've recently heard and seen on TV the final moments of Claudio Abbado conducting the sixth symphony of Gustav Mahler. It was a live concert with the Lucerne festival Orchestra. What I've seen in those final moments touched my heart in a way few works of art can. It was not the fact that it was Mahler sixth symphony (a work that for years fascinates me) but the face of the conductor. It seems like Abbado himself touched in those last moments the gates of death. Indeed, I see it in my mind, a man standing in front of a bridge, under him a vast darkness, and he look over that bridge, to the other side. Mahler's works are like that, like many great works of art, they prepare you for your death in a way your life by their own prepares you. But seeing the face of the conductor again it reminds me how close pain is to life. The final bars ends, the work ends, and all that remains of what was heard is a vast silence that although the applause cuts remain in the air, in the lower depth of those how feel such close to the music. In his face Abbado seems to draw the attention of how private this work is, how lonely he felt when the final notes surround him, it is a great work, a powerful and devastating one, and also one that when you will look closer enough you will feel the fire burns you out. During some of Mahler works there are moments when you feel as though you are hearing sounds from a world that is so private, so personal that you ask yourself whatever was going in his mind that moments, when he set and wrote.
More then most Composers Mahler's music seems to touch the daily life of the modern era. Like other painters and authors he seems to see how crucial life are, how much depth the soul of man have, and how lonely life are in the modern society.

Abbado felt it, his own agony in Mahler sixth, a work that for some people come so close to their heart that it has devastating impact. I encourage every person who interested in music for wherever he is to try and hear Mahler symphonies. It doesn't have to be the sixth symphony but other, each of his works represent a lonely walk in mind of a man that is not that different from you or I. He said by himself that is time is yet to come. Today it seems so many conductors conducts Mahler, in so many places in the world, so his time may have come. For me it was already when I was 11 years old, when I've heard one of his symphonies for the first time. Its music that belong to other time, a time that is no longer excites, but Abbado face show it, music that was written above his time, above time.
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Mahler: Symphony No.6 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free]
Mahler: Symphony No.6 [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free] by Lucerne Festival Orchestra (Blu-ray - 2010)
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