Claudio Abbado, Hearing the silence

Berliner Philharmoniker, Lucerne Festival Orchestra

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Claudio Abbado — Conductor

Program notes

Dedicated to the most secret conductor, Claudio Abbado, this documentary is also a lesson about life and music.

An original portrait sketched under the sign of the German poet Holderin – the actor Bruno Ganz recites on of his poems at the beginning of the film. Claudio Abbado is sparing in his words although he is generous in his emotions. That is what makes this documentary special: Abbado talks about his illness (he was operated on for cancer in 2001) and the revolution this illness caused in his life, he shares a little of his private life and talks about his work as a conductor.

We also see him at the age of 35, in 1965, in an interview he gave in Vienna just after directing the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in Bruckner's First Symphony. We also find out that he and his companion Zubin Meha sang in the choirs of Musikverein under the direction of Bruno Walter, Herbert von Karajan, Hermann Scherchen and Joseph Krips solely for the purpose of attending the rehearsals of these legendary conductors.

Many interviews of orchestra musicians, namely those from Berlin who talk about his departure in 2002, provide us with a clearer picture of his personality. As for the testimonial of is friend Bruno Ganz, it gives us a very personal insight into this exceptional being.

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