A worthy and dignified farewell to a true luminary: music, words, and silence all have their turn in this concert dedicated to the memory of Claudio Abbado, the visionary conductor who passed away on January 20, 2014. The Lucerne Festival Orchestra pays homage to the man who brought them together, a devoted friend and consummate artist. The empty podium—left unoccupied during the first movement of Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony—is a powerful symbol of the void left by Abbado's death.
Actor Bruno Ganz reads a poignant selection from Hölderlin, a favorite of the maestro, before Abbado protégé Andris Nelsons comes to the stage to conduct Berg's Violin Concerto with soloist Isabelle Faust, a stupendous performer whom Abbado admired greatly. Nelsons and the LFO close out the evening with the final movement of Mahler's Third Symphony, a journey from soft pianissimo to poignant triumph. "In his absence," wrote Fiona Maddocks in The Guardian, "Claudio Abbado could not have felt more present."