By the saddest of coincidences, the DVD arrived through my letterbox on Saturday 18th January 2014 - and two days later, the world was stunned by the news of Abbado's death - which made viewing this DVD on the night of 20th January as much an act of homage and remembrance as an act of worship. But even in such circumstances, this is a document of a performance of astonishing power and emotion. The singing of both choir and soloists (especially Gheorghiu, my word!!) is extraordinary, the playing of the nonpareil Berliners is passionately committed - but above all, the visionary, transcendent conducting of maestro Abbado elevates this from the great to the sublime. His facial expression at the end - not in the slightest bit 'an act', but then he was never a showman like some - will tell you all you need to know. Watch it and let your life be changed. I promise.
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