Claudio Abbado conducts Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra

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Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester

Claudio Abbado — Conductor

Program notes

More than a taste or an affinity of the composer's, Gustav Mahler is at the heart of the life of the musician Claudio Abbado.

This very Italian conductor, born in Milan in 1933, was for fifteen years the director of the Scala. He was trained in Vienna with Hans Swarowsky and he is extremely familiar with the culture of Central Europe, of its literature and its fine arts. It is with the Second symphony by Mahler that he chooses to make his debut, at thirty-two, with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Vienna. The Youth Orchestra he founded in 1986 bears the name of Gustav Mahler. Since then, Abbado continues to exhale the complex beauty of the Viennese composers' symphonies in all the concert halls of the world.

That evening in April 2004 at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, it is with the very same Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra that he conducts Mahler's last finished symphony, the Ninth Symphony. Composed in 1909, it was premiered in 1912 by Bruno Walter, who was a close friend of the composer and whom Abbado heard conduct in Vienna... In this absolute masterpiece of a symphonic work, Claudio Abbado, one with his orchestra, delivers a very moving interpretation which rises like the most beautiful prayer.

After the last notes have vanished as in a dream, time seems to stand still and reality is held at bay: A long moment goes by before applause comes to trouble this moment of grace offered by a conductor transfigured by the impact of the piece.

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