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“Abbado's account of Mahler's Seventh was always a highlight of his cycle and remains the ideal choice for collectors requiring a central interpretation in modern sound. Steering a middle course between clear-sightedness and hysteria, and avoiding both the heavy, saturated textures of 19th-century romanticism and the chilly rigidity of some of his own 'modernist' peers, he is, as the original review reported, 'almost too respectable'. That said, it's all to the good if the forthright theatricality and competitive instincts of the Chicago orchestra are held in check just a little. Even where Abbado underplays the drama of the moment, a sufficient sense of urgency is sustained by a combination of well-judged tempos, marvellously graduated dynamics and precisely balanced, ceaselessly changing textures. For those put off by Mahler's supposed vulgarity, the unhurried classicism of Abbado's reading may well be the most convincing demonstration of the music's integrity. This is a piece Abbado continues to champion in concert with performances at the very highest level.”
“Abbado's command of Mahlerian characterisation has never been more tellingly displayed than in this most problematic of the symphonies; even in the loosely bound finale Abbado unerringly draws the threads together.”
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