Among the favorite composers of Claudio Abbado are undoubtedly Beethoven, Mahler, Schubert, Bruckner, whose works the Milanese conductor has kept performing throughout his career. For this performance of Bruckner's Fifth Symphony, played with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in 2011, Claudio Abbado breathed in the Viennese composer's work all his genius as a visionary and humble conductor, letting always the voice of the composer come to the fore.
Abbado seemed to be particularly fond of Bruckner's Fifth Symphony, a work which may seem quite cold at firt glance. Yet, the Milanese conducter performed and recorded several times this "contrapuntal masterwork" (as defined by the composer itself), ignoring its unfair reputation as an austere symphony, if not a bombastic one. Thankfully, Abbado's genius and the level of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, made up of high-flying soloists, shed a new light on this unloved work which suddenly appears modern, visionary, radiant and bright as a cathedral.
A genuine triumph on the Lucerne Festival's stage, this performance of Bruckner's Fifth Symphony has led the critics to unanimously praise the conductor. As The Guardian put it, the performance was "a vision of infinity, a collapsing of time and space into a single point of brilliance and intensity."
Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela – Lucerne Festival at Easter 2010