Claudio Abbado's Mahler

The Mahler craze continues unabated. Some performances go down well, others indifferently. There is nothing indifferent about Claudio Abbado's work in general and his Mahler in particular. With the Boston Symphony Orchestra he offered the massive Third Symphony - and a formidable performance it was in Carnegie Hall.

Abbado is the only conductor in recent memory to encompass the entire scope, the huge sweep of this complex score. Details all fit into an inexorable whole, not by will power or sheer force of personality, but because he had thought the work through from beginning to end.

By asking the BSO to play quietly and by building his dynamic spectrum from a genuine pianissimo, the full range of Mahler's orchestral effects could be savored. Pacings were ideal, and control was dazzling.

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