Monday, January 20, 2014

The Podium is Empty

Today, January 20th 2014, conductor Claudio Abbado passed away. The loss has left a vacuum in the classical music world. Not only was he one of the giants of the podium, but also a founder and co-founder of many fine orchestras. He helped in exposing many composers to the general public, that may otherwise have remained in the shadows were it not for his conviction and dedication to expanding the repertoire. Not all of his recordings could be considered to be definitive versions, although quite a few are, but it seems that most of them served to elucidate and shed more light on the works involved. I would strongly recommend and endorse any of his recordings, but two of my own favorites and that I consider to be definitive readings, are Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky, and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 7. The Mahler in particular, because of its sprawling nature, has always been considered a difficult one in which to sustain momentum, but Abbado does it full justice. Great musicians like him are a rare breed, and with him gone, rarer still. The musical landscape is missing a mountain.

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