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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTE GENIUS
Mahler 9 is often referred to as a death-haunted work.For me,there is much to uplift the spirit.The final movement is as much about a journey into the beyond as a farewell to life.Mahler was obviously a man in turmoil in the 9th.His marriage was over,graphically noted in his own words in the score "Almschi" (his pet name for his wife Alma) and "to live for you,to die for...
Published on 11 Feb 2011 by Mr. P. Johnson

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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A feedback on the sound quality of this recording
Three stars only for the quality of audio recording. There is nothing to add to the rave reviews of the fine music making, which all other reviewers has been focusing on.
The only real drawback of this blu-ray disc is the fact that the DTS-HD Master Audio audio track is encoded at only slightly higher bitrate of 1.8 Mbps then a core DTS of 16-bit/48 KHz/1.5 Mbps...
Published on 6 May 2011 by Pedant


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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTE GENIUS, 11 Feb 2011
By 
Mr. P. Johnson "carffion" (Port Talbot, South Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Mahler 9 is often referred to as a death-haunted work.For me,there is much to uplift the spirit.The final movement is as much about a journey into the beyond as a farewell to life.Mahler was obviously a man in turmoil in the 9th.His marriage was over,graphically noted in his own words in the score "Almschi" (his pet name for his wife Alma) and "to live for you,to die for you".
The final bars takes one to a place where there is no rhythm,no beaten time.

It takes a special conductor to wring (without histrionics) all the emotion from this remarkable score.Many so-called great conductors have failed.

However,we have a maestro here enjoying his own resurrection (following serious illness) at the helm of his own hand picked orchestra.What has been recorded here for posterity is arguably the finest Mahler 9 ever recorded.

The silence at the end of the last note (silence which seems to be maintained for an age) is awe-inspiring and I am green with envy at one of the other contributors who has seen all these concerts live!

Claudio Abbado's rebirth at the helm of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra is THE miracle of classical music today. Forget the young conductors who attain instant genius (such as Dudamel for example).Here is a legend who deserves the title.Unassuming,unfussy,methodical,forensic,glorious Abbado.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Mahler 9 by Abbado, 8 Feb 2011
By 
Nick BOCKEN (EKEREN Belgium) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
About quality of sound and image no more should be said, just perfect.

However, about the atmosphere much is to be written. I was fortunate to sit in the concert hall during all the concerts, which were used for this recording. It is very easy : the apparently simplicity with which Abbado satisfies the audience for Mahler, allows an exceptional atmosphere in the concert hall : deep feelings, extremely good relationship between the orchestra groups, an elegant Mahler sound that nobody other than Abbado manages to create. The emotions that Abbado himself undergoes (just look at his face and gestures), are reflected in music. All this is shown phenomenally on this blu ray: it might sound strange, but almost the perfection of sound and images are obtained on this blu ray. For those who are less lucky, not being able to attend the concert, this blu ray disc will give a near live concert.

A must for every music lover, but certainly for the Abbado fans.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mahler's 9th., 5 April 2011
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Stanley Gray "frenlect" (Nantwich Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This is one of the greatest performances of any symphony I know. No wonder the audience gives a long standing ovation at the end of the performance. There is obviously a great rapport between Abbado and his hand-picked orchestra which plays magnificently. Picture and sound are excellent. A Blu Ray to treasure.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Abbado's Spiritual Mahler, 24 Jan 2011
By 
J Scott Morrison (Middlebury VT, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Claudio Abbado formed the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in 2003; it is made up of principal orchestral players from all over Europe coupled with a core group of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, themselves mostly alumni of Abbado's Mahler Youth Orchestra, a marvelous ensemble in their own right. Performing as principals are such musicians as violinist Kolja Blacher, violist Wolfram Christ from the Berliner Philharmoniker, cellist Natalia Gutman, and Wiener Philharmoniker double bassist Alois Posch. All four members of the Leipzig String Quartet as well as harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet are likewise part of the ensemble; wind players include flutist Jacques Zoon, clarinetist Sabine Meyer and her woodwind ensemble, horn player Bruno Schneider, and trumpeter Reinhold Friedrich. So, even though they are, so to speak, a pick-up orchestra, they have been together through eight Festivals and play like a long-standing ensemble of the highest accomplishment. This DVD is one of the several they have made with Maestro Abbado of the symphonies of Gustav Mahler, some of which I've reviewed here: e.g., Mahler - Symphony No. 7 / Claudio Abbado, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Mahler - Symphony No. 5 / Claudio Abbado, Lucerne Festival Orchestra, etc. I've been very impressed with all of them. This performance from the summer of 2010 of Mahler's last-completed numbered symphony, the Ninth, tops the list. This is a simply sensational performance. I had earlier reviewed a DVD of Abbado conducting the Mahler Jugendorchester in the Ninth, Mahler - Symphony No. 9 / Claudio Abbado, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, Accademia Di Santa Cecilia, Rome and raved about it; this one tops that one. In fact, it is, for me, the Ninth of a lifetime.

The Ninth is one of those works which comes to have a special place in the hearts of all who love it. For me, it is the symphony most likely to make me break down in tears at its conclusion. I did that with the earlier DVD and I certainly did it with this performance. The symphony ends as softly as it is possible to play (and to hear) and Abbado doesn't lower his right hand at the end of the symphony for a good two minutes. The audience maintains a rapt silence until Abbado finally lowers his hand and then they burst into a tumultuous ovation that goes on and on. Fittingly, I must say. One sees, in the audience, tears streaming down several faces. For me (and for many others), this symphony, written not long before Mahler's own death, is his farewell to life and I will admit that because of my advanced age and sometimes fragile health it reminds me in the most beatific fashion of my own mortality. Those final moments convey a peaceful acceptance of the inevitable, for Mahler and for me and, I daresay, for others. I suppose that knowing about Abbado's own fragile health adds to the emotion of the performance. The symphony's first and fourth movements are among the greatest slow movements ever written. And they are played as movingly as I've ever heard them.

To sum up, this is a great performance of a great symphony. It is filmed with taste (and includes an option to focus entirely on the conductor, although I prefer the usual visual highlighting of the players as well as the conductor) and the sound recording is excellent. I viewed this DVD in regular format, not Blu-Ray, and was mightily impressed; one can only imagine how the Blu-Ray will look and sound.

TT=94:56; Format: NTSC 16:9; Sound: DTS HD Master Stereo, PCM Stereo; Region: 0 (worldwide); Disc Format: DVD9

Scott Morrison
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb performance, 4 Feb 2011
By 
Charles Eccles (Bedfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
First, let me say that this is a performance "to die for". Abbado clearly sees the final adagio as a transition to the hereafter and his treatment of the final pages is as much a spiritual as it is a musical experience. This really needs to be seen, not just heard, to be believed.

It is a relief to report that both the picture and sound quality are superb. On my system, at least, I would say this the best sound so far in the Abbado cycle. This disc is of course produced and mastered by Accentus, not Euroarts, though the production crew is the same as for the previous Abbado recordings from Lucerne.

So, no problems. A MUST for all music lovers - not just Mahler fans.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A feedback on the sound quality of this recording, 6 May 2011
By 
Pedant (Frederiksberg C, DK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Three stars only for the quality of audio recording. There is nothing to add to the rave reviews of the fine music making, which all other reviewers has been focusing on.
The only real drawback of this blu-ray disc is the fact that the DTS-HD Master Audio audio track is encoded at only slightly higher bitrate of 1.8 Mbps then a core DTS of 16-bit/48 KHz/1.5 Mbps found on the standard DVD disc.
Ironically enough the same production team at the Accentus (producer Michael Beyer) has produced the blu-ray disc of Abbado's Mahler 5th symphony for the EuroArts. This blu-ray disc has a DTS-HD MA track of 24-bit/48 KHz/4.3 Mbps which is a huge improvement over the sound track of standard DVD recording of the same concert issued 6 years ago.
So I do not recommend to pay a premium for this blu-ray disc compared to the same recording on a standard DVD. The picture quality of the standard DVD is probably less appealing on a huge TV screen, but this is a no issue for a music lover - just sit more then 3 meters away from the screen.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate Mahler experience!, 20 Feb 2011
By 
Steen Mencke "s.mencke dk" (Denmark) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
Since the beginning of Claudio Abbado's recording relationship with Mahler back in the early 1970's, it has been abundantly clear that here was a conductor with an extraordinary flair for the style of this at the same time childishly extrovert and emotionally twisted composer, a conductor who understood to perfection how to translate a very peculiar and extensive use of the symphony orchestra into very effective music. In those days I did, I must admit, miss a bit of the neurotic part of Mahler, his schismatic relations to stif (and often hypocritical) Judeo-Christian morality, his at times spasmotically depressive "Weltanschauung", and his life-long fear of loss and death. For proper illumination of these facets of the music one had to turn to Leonard Bernstein, the other great Mahlerian of the era, who admittedly, for better and for worse, laid it on a bit thick at times.

I feel bad saying this, but - to me at least - it seems that Abbado's much publicized protracted near-death experience (or maybe it is just age?) has turned his focus elsewhere in Mahler's symphonic output. Since the beginning of the present set of symphonies (recorded on DVD, and now Blu-ray, at the summer festivals in idyllic Lucerne), of which the 8th is now the only one left to be tackled, we have been given an otherworldly beauty combined with dark introspection and the most oppressive - but never caricated - angst, as well as artistically perfect musicianship, and the picture is now complete. On the back of the cover of the 3rd symphony the New York Times is quoted, calling Abbado "the most respected living conductor", which, certainly when it comes to Mahler, is an all but inescapable conclusion. I can think of no one who in that field could even scratch his knee caps.

Much has been said and written over the years about soloists and their ability to work constructively with other musicians. I think it was Menahem Pressler, undaunted octogenarian pianist of the Beaux Arts Trio for going on 56 years, who once said that he gave up a career as a soloist because not just the touring activity but also the mindset would damage his work with the trio. He may have been absolutely right at the time, but today it seems soloists are made of a different clay, and I can only say that the handpicked Lucerne Festival Orchestra is an unmitigated joy to both watch and listen to. Like a shoal of sardines the members twist and turn in perfect unison in their sometimes superhuman attempts to give the last drop of their essences for a maestro, who has, in this troupe of extraordinary artists, found a Pretorian guard who will literally lay down their lives to turn every minute shade of his unique insight into reality. I'm not saying that the Berlin Philharmonic didn't try to do the same - or the Vienna ditto, for that matter - but the devotion and the will to sacrifice oneself utterly for the good of the larger purpose, as experienced in these recordings, is little short of incredible.

How fare the music then? Well, I hate to say: "I lack the words needed for an adequate description" - for what then is the point of a review, but ... I'm afraid that for once I find that I really do. Compared to his recording of the 9th with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester back in 2004 (as well as his otherwise marvelous BPO CD-recording of 2002), Abbado is just that much more THERE. In almost every phrase I find things in the music I never heard before, and the suspense and intensity is, for want of a better word, Hitchcock'ian (or is it 'esque?). Gaunt and occasionally teary eyed, Abbado presides over the solemn rites of the tortured soul of Gustav Mahler, and at the end of the unprecedented close to two minutes of dead silence following the last notes of the valedictory Adagio, I sincerely thought: "OK, now the violins get up and carry the maestro - drooling and cyanotic - off stage like they did Sinopoli; anything less would be an anticlimax". Not quite yet, though. May whosoever guards the last existing iota of Mahler's genius grant Abbado another decade or two of service to the cause. No better man could conceivably be found!

Every issue in this series of Mahler symphony recordings is a revelation - the 2nd, 6th and 7th in particular. This 9th is an unmissable non-plus-ultra of inspired music-making. Get it now - or, trust me, you'll be the poorer for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars While Bernstein with Vienna in 1971 is probably the most iconic and extraordinarily special Mahler 9, this is the greatest!, 9 Sep 2011
By 
R. Mathes (Cos Cob, CT, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
For anyone wanting the finest Mahler 9 available in any format, I truly believe this is the one. Once you know Mahler I think experiencing the great Bernstein performances are as important as hearing Pears sing Britten or Rostropovich play Shostakovich, especially when Bernstein conducts Mahler's Ninth. He owns the work, even when he loses it within a performance like his terribly flawed Concertgebouw performance from 1985, which I'll defend to the death as still being incredibly powerful. His greatest performance, like Abbado's, is also on video, with Vienna in 1971, contrary to popular opinion (most people say it is his Berlin Philhamonic account but that is marred by a massive missed entry of the entire Trombone section at the peak of the work and all sorts of other anomalies). The Vienna video, ironically filmed in Berlin's Philharmonie, must be seen as it's incredibly moving and extraordinary.

That said, in terms of execution, intensity, performance standard, visual and sonic brilliance and all around quality, this is the Mahler 9 for the ages and Mahler's Ninth Symphony is one of the world's greatest masterpieces without a doubt. To watch this all star band with Sabine Meyer on First Clarinet and Natalia Gutman on Cello and all of the other magnificent soloists, who have become as familiar as the New York Yankees of yesteryear, is a pleasure and a privilege. Their joy in making music under this seemingly selfless and giving conductor, who is completely about the music and the music alone, is palpable and amazing. Press buy with one click now! R Mathes
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply moving performance of Mahler's ninth, 26 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This is a deeply moving performance from a uniquely dedicated orchestra conducted by one of the world's best conductors. Just see how the audience is spellbound after the final adagio.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MOST SATISFYING NINTH, 10 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This is the best performance of the ninth that I ever heard. Extremely ballanced with nothing missing. The sound is very homogenous yet very clear and detailed. The picture is also first rate. Sorry, notheing to complain about. Five stars all the way.
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Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free]
Mahler: Symphony No. 9 [Blu-ray] [2011] [Region Free] by Lucerne Festival Orchestra (Blu-ray - 2011)
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