Top 10 Claudio Abbado recordings

Gramophone Thu 12th January 2017

A beginner's guide to the finest Claudio Abbado recordings currently available

Beethoven. Berg Concertos

Faust vn Orchestra Mozart / Abbado

(Harmonia Mundi)

'Abbado encourages his players to maximise the expressive quality of each theme, while keeping a firm hand on the unfolding of the larger design.'

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Berg Wozzeck

VPO / Abbado

(DG)

'The Vienna Philharmonic responds superbly to Abbado's ferociously close-to-the-edge direction.'

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Bruckner Sym No 9

Lucerne Festival Orch / Abbado

(DG)

'Abbado in Lucerne radiates clarity, wisdom and vision, qualities that over the years one had come to expect of him.'

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Mahler Sym No 6

BPO / Abbado

(DG)

'I can’t remember hearing a tauter, more refined performance than this, nor one that dispenses so completely with the heavy drapes of old-style Mahler interpretation.'

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Mahler Sym No 9

Lucerne Festival Orch / Abbado

(Accentus)

'When the music finally ends and, as in any truly great account of this highly affecting score, one feels that life itself is ebbing away, all present are held in awed silence. Even when the time comes for Abbado to finally lower his hands and for the players to put down their instruments, the spell remains unbroken for a while longer. The ovation when it comes is suitably tremendous.'

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Mendelssohn Symphonies Nos 1-5

LSO / Abbado

(DG)

'This was one of Abbado’s biggest recording projects with the orchestra of which he was music director and remains a richly rewarding legacy.'

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Mozart Die Zauberflöte

Mahler CO / Abbado

(DG)

'Abbado, directing his beloved Mahler Chamber Orchestra, gives the music its true and wondrous import. The playing throughout is alert and scrupulously articulated.'

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Rossini Il viaggio a Reims 

COE / Abbado

(DG)

'Abbado's conducting is masterly. His ear for Rossini's sonorities cannot be faulted. Rhythmically, Abbado is exceptionally brilliant; it is a very alert performance, passionate and precise in the Toscanini manner.'

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Schubert Symphonies

COE / Abbado

(DG)

'Anyone worried that a band with the words 'Chamber Orchestra' in the title might sound too puny for the later symphonies, need have no worries at all. The playing here is as satisfyingly powerful as it is polished.'

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Verdi Macbeth

Sols incl Domingo, Ghiaurov; La Scala / Abbado

(DG)

'A newcomer won’t find much fault with this Abbado set, scrupulously prepared, executed and recorded.'

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