What makes Abbado's Mahler performances so remarkable is that their impact is never achieved at the expense of the multiple sensitivities, subtleties and extreme sophistication. Together with one of the world's leading youth orchestras - the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester - Abbado performs Mahler's Fourth Symphony and Schoenberg's Pelleas und Melisande, the latter being preceded by an introduction that offers fascinating insights into this unparalleled composition. Introduction to Pelleas und Melisande by Alberica Archinto and Elli Stern.
“…let's start by praising the filmed introduction to Pelleas, with its abundance of apt paintings from the period, and the way the film-makers extend playwright Maeterlinck's original idea of colour-coding Pelleas as green, Melisande as blue and jealous husband Golaud as red into the underlining of the leitmotifs during the performance. As an ideally flexible, carefully textured performance, the Schoenberg must surely go straight to the top of all recorded interpretations. Mahler Four has strong competition from Abbado's earlier Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic versions... The Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra strings may not have quite the same sheen, but the extra degree of chamber-musical interaction and the phrasing of Juliane Banse in the most magical song-finale I've ever witnessed should tip the balance in this performance's favour.”
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