Claudio Abbado, one of the very greatest conductors of the modern era, sadly passed away this week after a long battle with illness. A true gentleman of the podium, he eschewed the histrionics of a Bernstein or Karajan without sacrificing any of the deeply personal music-making associated with his more theatrical and media savvy contemporaries.
This documentary, available via the Naxos Video Library, shows the maestro in action both in rehearsal and performance, and some of the loveliest moments belong to colleagues and friends who attest to his great humanity and astonishing musicianship.
The music of Mozart featured prominently in Abbado’s symphonic repertoire, and this performance from the Naxos Music Library of some of the later symphonies is with the glorious Berlin Philharmonic, which he took over after the death of Herbert von Karajan in 1989.
And I can’t resist this clip from YouTube of the younger Abbado with the Vienna Philharmonic in 1991, conducting his beloved Rossini’s Overture to La Gazza Ladra; perfect!