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More delights from Lucerne,
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This review is from: Mahler; Prokoviev: Lucerne Festival: Mahler: Symphony No. 1; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3) [Blu-ray]  [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
Abbado and his hand-picked players continue their Mahler symphony series with a detailed and absorbing account of the first. The concert begins, however, with Prokofiev's 3rd piano concerto, here played by Yuja Wang. This is my first acquaintance with this artist, and I am left wondering why I have not heard her previously. On the evidence of this recording, she has a prodigious technique and a true insight into Prokofiev's music. She integrates splendidly with her accompaniment; Abbado spends much time looking over his shoulder at the soloist, and who could blame him. The spiky sections of the concerto trip effortlessly off Wang's fingers, and the broad melodic sections are suitably romantic. Orchestra and soloist bring the work to a breathtaking finish.
Abbado demands much from his orchestra in the Mahler, revealing its inner workings whilst creating an atmospheric experience. The faces of the players reveal how great is their determination to give of their best for Abbado, and he acknowledges their efforts during the applause.
Video quality and direction are of a high standard. Wang displays no histrionics but a half-smile shows when she is enjoying herself.
My first impression of the multi-channel audio is that it is slightly subdued, but louder passages open up gratifyingly to to give a convincing concert-hall effect. Dynamic range is high, and low frequency sounds are excellently reproduced - the bass drum is palpable. My impression is of being in a seat about half-way back in the hall; violins are smoothed out somewhat. Microphones are noticeable by their absence - I tried in vain to see where they were placed. The piano is not given artificial prominence, but is nevertheless clear. Audience noise is negligible. If forced to find fault, I would ask for a little more high frequency level, but that's being overly critical.
I have read elsewhere that the blu-ray of Mahler's second symphony in this series has problems with the multi-channel audio. If true, it would be a great pity as the three others that I have tried are excellent.
Mahler; Prokoviev: Lucerne Festival: Mahler: Symphony No. 1; Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3) [Blu-ray]  [NTSC](7 customer reviews)