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This review is from: Mahler: Symphony No.9 [DVD]  (DVD)
This is a film of a concert given in Rome in 2004 by the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, conducted by Claudio Abbado. The lights go down in the concert hall at the last climax of the finale, thus leaving a full ten minutes to go until the blissful end.
Blissful? Yes, for I have long considered the finale of Mahler's ninth to be one of those pieces that perhaps would be good to die to, and it was terribly moving to me to watch these youthful players performing such beautiful death music. I do not think I was taking much notice when I first played this disc, but it has since grown on me, so much so that now I think it is an astonishingly brilliant performance. The commitment by the players to give their all right through to the very end is plain to see in the sweat on their faces. They hardly put a foot wrong - no, they do not put any foot wrong! Abbado clearly enjoys himself and one reads great pride in his face at the marvellous progenies under his direction. Abbado's eyes are always on the look out and he clearly knows the score inside out.
It's always arguable whether a DVD of an orchestral performance is better than a CD. I often think the former is just a complement to the latter, but in this instance I was very pleased to have been able to experience something that was quite special indeed.
Alas, there are no extras on the disc. It would have been interesting to have seen Abbado in rehearsal with the orchestra. However, the accompanying booklet includes a good piece by Donald Mitchell and a small spiel about the orchestra itself. At the back of the booklet 124 players in the orchestra are listed and it was shaming to see only two are British. But, if the quality and professionalism of these players are representative of European music teaching, then the future of classical music is assured.