Claudio Abbado conducts Bruckner's Symphony No. 5

Lucerne Festival in Summer 2011

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Program notes

A Bruckner Fifth adored by the audience and the international critics.

Among those to top the list of Claudio Abbado's favorite composers are Beethoven, Mahler, Schubert, and (last but far from least) Bruckner, whose symphonies the great maestro conducted right up to the end of his career. Abbado breathed all of his genius into this Symphony No. 5 with the 2011 Lucerne Festival Orchestra—the genius of a conductor both visionary and humble, for whom the composer's music and voice always took pride of place.

Despite an undeserved reptutation as a bland and bombastic symphony, the Fifth was a particular favorite of the Milanese conductor, who performed and recorded the "contrapuntal masterwork" (as Bruckner himself called it) on multiple occasions. In 2011, Abbado's genius and the virtuosic Lucerne Festival Orchestra transformed the ugly duckling symphony into a modern and visionary work: 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."

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