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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I am Claudio to everyone. No titles.", 23 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Complete RCA And Sony Album Collection (Audio CD)
Abbado was influenced by Furtwangler ( read my review Furtwangler's legacy box set, for more about that conductor), so was Barenboim and Thielemann. But as Gramophone 2012 states " Abbado has always got the big picture in view-the large concept and landscape of a piece in the way that is quite unique to him." His sound world was Italianite, not Germanic; orchestral colouring which spoke of sun, bright skies, but with dark weather, with a lighter sheen. He had a unique sound often with swift tempi and clarity.(see my reviews of the CD's below.)

The cardboard box set, has another box inside, with a lid on top. Smallish box for 39 CDs. One side has pictures of the sleeves, the other, CD numbers and works played. Sony box sets are renowned for their quality, like Toscanini RCA collection, Reiner, Colin Davis, Verdi and Wagner at the Met Box sets and Verdi great recordings. The sleeves are the originals. Behind, the Composer, music to be played and track numbers, but no CD number. That is found on the side of the box, and on the CD itself. The CD is white like the lid of the box, with Claudio Abbado and composer in red, music and orchestra with black wording, plus CD number. The CD's have been remastered this year from the original analogue tapes using 24bit/96kHz technology. Also, when you are dealing with Sony classic CDs, the sound, as with Decca, is always good. The booklet is in English, German and French. Track listings with a photo's of the Sleeves and Abbado. But no translations into English of songs and operas or CD- Rom. Also, an essay" I am Claudio to everyone", and it goes into his philosophy on music making, and about his psychological make up.

I like the fact that Abbado spent his years in Milan with Nono and Pollini, living a utopian vision that combined the avantgarde with working class concerns. Also, his deep commitment and development of young musicians and composers. At rehearsals he was friendly, understated and had a non-confrontational manner."Human affairs are all that really matters.In an age when people simply fail to listen to one another any longer". He believed music could teach us to listen to one another with greater openess.

I will go across the page, Composers first, music, then comments from Penguin guide and myself. The following is with the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra, 13 CDs.

MOZART: (1992). (Live) March in D minor. Serenade No 9 in D major.K 320. "Posthorn" serenade. March in D major. Divertimento No 11 in D major. "Nannerl Septet." K251. Abbado uses a modest chamber group from the Berlin Phil orch for the Divertimento K 251 and larger forces for the Posthorn serenade. The playing is lively. This is an enjoyable concert. (1994 ) Symphony No 23 in D major. Sinfonia concertante for violin, Viola and orchestra in E flat major.Wolfram Christ, Viola. Kussmaul, violin. Symphony No 36. Swift tempi. With an almost period instrument sound.
(1991.) Symphony No 28 (Live) No's 29 and 35. Though Abbado's Berlin sound is weighty, the finals are fast, but played with such verve that there is no sense of breathlessness.

MOZART: (1992.) Symphony No 31 "Paris". Masonic Funeral music. Symphony No 25. Symphony in D major" Posthorn". Abbado and the Berlin Phil defy the fashion for period instruments, in an exhilarating account of Mozart using modern instruments. This CD is warmly recommended to those who like to hear Mozart playing, which marries sweetness and purity to crisp rhythms and dramatic bite. (1990) Mass in C minor K427. Barbara Bonney. Arleen Auger soprano's. Hans Peter Blockwitz. tenor. There is no feeling of superficality or blandness here. With the tempo Abbado judges well. The other great strength are the two soprano's. There are a number of accounts of this work on disc, but few better than this.

BEETHOVEN:(1996) Symphony No 9. An Italianite sound, almost like a period instrument piece. The soloists Eaglen, Meier, Heppner and Terfel are good. MENDELSSOHN:(1995) A midsummer Night's Dream. Overture and incidental music. (excerpts). Barbara Sukowa speaker. Sylvia McNair soprano. Angelika Kirchschlager mezzo-soprano. Abbado blows the cobwebs away from this piece. Symphony No 4 "Italian". Warmly played with an Italian spirit about it, with no Germanic heavyness. Swift tempi. SCHUMANN: (1994)Concerto for Piano. (1997) Introduction and Allegro appassionato in G major. Concert Allegro with Introduction in D minor. With Perahia and Abbado the piano concerto comes across with refreshing eagerness, as if Schumann could scarcely pause for breath with an upsurge of inspiration. The G is the best known, the D the least known, but Perahia's playing makes it the most striking of the two. SCHUMANN: (1994) (LIVE) Scenes from Goethes Faust. Terfel, Mattila, Rootering, Bonney, Susan Graham. Headed by Terfel in the title role, and with Mattila as Gretchen,and could hardly be bettered at the time.

DVORAK: (1993) The noonday witch. Symphony No 8. MUSSORGSKY : (1995-1996) St Johns Night on the Bare mountain. Anatoly Kotcherga bass-Baritone. Khovanshchina. Marianna Tarasova mezzo. Scherzo. Intermezzo symphonique in modo classico in B minor. Festive march from Mlada. (1994) (LIVE) Songs and dances of death. Anatoly Kotcherga Bass. TCHAIKOVSKY: No 5 in E minor. MUSSORGSKY:(1981) Khovanschina: The Departure of Prince Golitsyn. Joshua. Salammbo. Chorus of priestesses. scherzo in b-flat major. the destruction of Sennacherib. St johns night on the Bare mountain. Odepipus in athens. Khovanshchina: Prelude. The capture of Kars. Gal Mezzo. London Symphony orch. Commemorates the centenary of Mussorgsky's death in 1891. There is a vital account of the original version of night on the bare mountain. Best of all are the choral pieces early and the untypical Oedipus in Athens. TCHAIKOVSKY:(1991) Symphony No 1 " Winter dreams" the Nutcracker suite. (1984) No 2, the Tempest. The No 2 account is very enjoyable. No 3.(1990) 1812 overture.The early symphonies are not as popular as the others. However, Abbado captures their unique qualities. No 4.(1988) The final is swift with the Russian dances coming to the fore. No 5.(1985) Romeo and Juliet. No 6.(1986) Pathetique. Marche slave. Chicago Symphony orchestra. Abbado conducts the 4-6 as if he were Russian himself.(1995 )(Live) Violin Concerto. A different approach to this well known concerto. and SHOSTAKOVICH: (1997) Violin Concerto. Midori-Violin. Berlin Philharmonic orch.

RACHMANINOFF: (1983) Piano Concerto No 2. Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini for piano. Cecile Liead. Cond Chicago symphony Orchestra. (1977) Piano concerto No 3. Lazar Berman. a very difficult concerto to play and this is one of the best. BRAHMS:Double Concerto.Chicago Symphony Orch. BERG: Chamber concerto for Piano and violin with 13 Wind instruments. Stern Violin. Yo-Yo-Ma cello. Peter Serkin piano. Members of the London Symphony orch.NEW YEARS CONCERT 1992: RICHARD STRAUSS:Don Juan. Burleske for Piano and Orchestra. Martha Argerich. Till Eulenspiegels lustige streiche. His Strauss is much like the American conductor Zinman's interpretations. Der Rosenkavalier. Trio "Marie Thres! Hab'mir's gelobt" Finale. "Ist ein Traum, kann nicht wirklich sein". (Act 3). Battle, Fleming, Von Stade, Schmidt. Berliner Philharmonic. A pity Abbado did not record Der Rosenkavalier. Singing is good. Fleming is one of the best Straussian soprano's around.

MUSIC INSPIRED by the German Romantic poet FRIEDERICH HOLDERLIN: (1993)(Live) BRAHMS: SCHICKSALSLIED for Chorus and Orchestra. RICHARD STRAUSS: 3 Hymnen. Mattila. REGER: An die Hoffnung for voice and orchestra. Mattila is excellent in both pieces. RIHM: Holderlin-Fragmente. (1977 version). Modern, but I liked it. Kosters baritone. Berlin Philharmonic.Holderlin inspired these musical settings. (1992) PROMETHEUS-THE MYTH IN MUSIC.BEETHOVEN: Die Geschopfe das Prometheus. Brilliant. Beethoven's ballet music, as you have never heard him before. LIZST: Prometheus. Amazing. WOW.! Abbado has captured the essence of Liszt and shown the lessions he learnt from Furtwangler. SCRIABIN: Promethee-Le Poeme du feu. Martha Argerich- piano. The composer was involved in the mystical theosophy movement. NONO: Prometeo. If you have seen the film 2001 directed by Stanley Kubrick, you will get some idea of what the music sounds like. This is the response of four composers to this timeless mythological tale. I really like this CD. The aim of these cycles, Abbado explains was to " treat the music as the driving force and incorporate it into other,more far-reaching programmes". These concerts were complemented by extra-musical programmes featuring film screenings, exhibitions, stage plays, lectures and readings. That is why some of us buy these box sets to find jewels such as these two CD's. Marvellous. Highly recommended.

(1992) (LIve) "Sofia. Zentralgefangnis 22 Juli 1942". "Papa" "Liebe Mama,papa und Schwesterchen"."Mein verhrter Vater"! reciters. Susanne Lothar and Bruno Ganz who took the role of Hitler in Downfall. NONO: Il canto sospeso. Barbara Bonney, Susanne Otto mezzo. Marek Torzewski tenor. MAHLER: Kintertotenlieder. Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. Mezzo; Marjana Lipovsek. Captures the spirit of Mahler. Berlin Philharmonic. ROSSINI: (1978) Overtures. Semiramide. La Scala di seta. Il turco in italia. Elisabeth, regina d' Inghilterra. Tancredi. Guillaume tell. London Symphony orchestra. Very fast tempi. VERDI: (1978) Overtures Nabucco. Aida. La forza del destino. Aroldo. Luisa Miller. I vespri siciliani. London Symphony Orchestra. Abbado brings forth the Italian flavour of these overtures. ROSSINI : (1992) (Live) Il Viaggio a Reims. Rossini wrote this fizzing piece of comic nonsense as a gala piece for the coronation of Charles X in Paris. The opera has virtually no story. it takes place in a Hotel where ten stars characters each take their turn to perform. Rossini refused to allow a revival in his lifetime. He used some of the material in his comic opera Le comte Ory. The cast is strong. Mc Nair, Terrani, Serra, Studer, Gimenez, Ramey, Raimondi, Frittoli. Berlin Philharmonia. VERDI: (1984) (Live) Simon Boccanegra. Bruson, Ricciarelli, Raimondi, Luchetti, Orchester der Wiener Staatsoper. Abbado conducts brilliantly. The singers are excellent, but the tenor has an unusual voice. However, I own this version of the opera and find it quite good.

MUSSORGSKY: (1993) Boris Godunov. Anatoly Kotcherga. Lipovsek. Ramey. Larin. Leiferkus. Langridge. Berlin Philharmonic. Abbado recorded this opera in its original version in conjunction both with live concert performances in Berlin and with the stage production at the Salzburg festival. Speeds regularly press ahead. The urgency of the composer's inspiration is conveyed as never before on disc. Glorious singing of Kotcherga as Boris. Larin sings with clarity and beauty. Ramey and Nikolsky are well contrasted. Lipovsek is a characterful Marina. Langridge and Leiferkus reinforces the starry strength of the team. J.S BACH: (1976) Brandenburg Concerto's. No 4, 5 and 6. I solisti dell orchestra del Teatro alla Scala. A set made to pay tribute to the late Claudio Abbado 1933 -2014. This set is highly recommended.
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