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Warwick Arnold
Limelight, January 2015

Orchestral Concert - BRAHMS, J. / SCHOENBERG, A. / BEETHOVEN, L. van (Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Abbado) (NTSC) ACC-20282
Orchestral Concert - BRAHMS, J. / SCHOENBERG, A. / BEETHOVEN, L. van (Lucerne Festival Orchestra, Abbado) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) ACC-10282

It is an intensely moving memorial. [Abbado’s] beloved “hand-picked” orchestra respond to his slightest gesture; what an extraordinary ensemble they are—a hyper-attentive giant chamber group all listening to one another, shaping phrases with love and care.

The main work is the Eroica Symphony…This was a loving performance crafted from years of experience and deep wisdom with phrases floating weightlessly and moments of breathtaking stasis and innigkeit. There is some exquisitely beautiful playing here such as that by oboist Lucas Macias Navarro. The sound is superb and the filming intelligent without gimmickry. © 2015 Limelight Magazine Read complete review

Bruce Surtees
The WholeNote, September 2014

I doubt that there could ever be a nobler and more flowing version of the Tragic Overture than heard here. The Song of the Wood Dove that brings the news of the death of Tove to King Waldemar stands well on its own, magnificently conveying the enormity of the awful news. The immense augmented orchestra supports the outstanding mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura as the Wood Dove. The very fine Eroica is played with total commitment, immaculate in detail and dynamics and enormous authority. A well-balanced, albeit unusual program played with effortless virtuosity and a fine showcase for the late conductor. © 2014 The WholeNote Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, September 2014

In this DVD from the 2013 Lucerne Festival the Lucerne Festival Orchestra presents a program spanning three pillars of the German Romantic repertoire. At the same time it is the last of Claudio Abbado’s performances caught on video. And these performances are incomparable. His subtle musical control leads in particular to one of the best Eroicas you might ever have heard. © 2014 Pizzicato

Tim Pfaff
Bay Area Reporter, July 2014

The goings-on are specifically and concretely musical. Mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura’s rendering of the Wood Dove’s Song is of a piece with the orchestral players. The instrumental deployment of her steady, penetrating voice makes its climactic outcry all the more effective for its having been held back, then released without shimmers of vibrato. The players respond with sonorities so refined that the energy used producing them never shows as difficulty—only energy. © 2014 Bay Area Reporter Read complete review, July 2014

…the performances are quite good, with mezzo-soprano Mihoko Fujimura handling an excerpt from Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder effectively and with Abbado leading the orchestra in Brahms and Beethoven with his customary attentiveness, skill and intensity. Fans of Abbado will certainly want this DVD for both the quality of the music-making and the chance to see the conductor in performance near the end of his life. © 2014 Read complete review

Colin Anderson
Sinfini Music, June 2014

On this DVD [Abbado] leads a weighty outing for Brahms’s magnificent Tragic Overture, passionate and striving. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra plays with power and sensitivity, and phrases are eloquently moulded. There follows a 20-minute chunk of Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder…[which] darkly embodied by Mihoko Fujimura, who laments over the dead Tove.

Such luxuriant music is followed by Beethoven’s boundary-breaking ‘Eroica’ Symphony, here given an expansive and clean-textured account, keenly played by these top musicians. Abbado secures an expressive and dynamic response, and a certain elegance, the latter maybe slightly at odds with the revolutionary fervour of the work. A worthy memorial, captured in excellent picture and sound. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review

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