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On Forbes: In Memoriam Claudio Abbado: A Discography

Claudio Abbado at Wien Modern in 1992. Photo courtesy Wiener Konzerthaus, © Christof Krumpel

The 13 Best (??) Recordings of Claudio Abbado on

When a fine artist dies, we hear that it is a major loss to art. This is usually gross exaggeration: when Mozart died short of 36 years age, just as his career was really taking off, that was a great loss to art. Ditto for Schubert’s demise at 31 or when Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga died days short of his 20th birthday, with so much promise of future greatness.

But when an accomplished and celebrated artist dies in the autumn of their years, with great accomplishments behind them, not that much ahead of them, and often after they have retired or passed their artistic peak, it isn’t in any meaningful way a loss to the greater community. (Though it certainly is one to friends and family). Instead, one should react with gratitude and joy for having been given so much by the artist, and amazement at how much these women and men were allowed to touch our lives—living on in the memories and legacies, recollections of ours and influences on us.

Claudio Abbado, who died on January 20th, aged 80, falls right between the tragic loss and life-fulfilled templates...

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Anonymous said...

Two of my favorites: Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina from the Vienna State Opera and Rossini's Il Viaggio a Reims, his first recording with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. The third could be Mozart's Waisenhausmesse with Janowitz, von Stade et all and the Vienna Philharmonic.

jfl said...

Indeed: "Il Viaggio a Reims" is absolutely fantastic and made it only because there had to be cut somewhere.