Vale Maestro Claudio Abbado (26 June 1933 – 20 January 2014)
Today the musical world awoke to the sad news that one of the greatest Conductors of the past 50+ years had passed away, Maestro Claudio Abbado. For more than my entire life this man has been conducting and has been a favourite contemporary conductor of mine the whole time I have been listening to music, you only need to look at my collection. His recordings of all genres rank as some of the best in the catalogue and he recorded extensively with many superb soloists and orchestras.
Maestro Abbado was Principal Conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic and of course, the Berlin Philharmonic, succeeding Herbert von Karajan in 1989 and recorded regularly with all. He was also Musical Director of two of the world's greatest opera houses, La Scala from 1968 to 1986 and Vienna State Opera from 1986 to 1991.
As an opera conductor he was somewhat of an all rounder, conducting everything from Mozart, Rossini and Bellini, through to Wagner, Berg and Debussy, not mention Verdi. I will always cherish his Aida, Carmen, Cenerentola, Don Carlos, Un Ballo un Maschera, Lohengrin and Macbeth as among some of my favourite recordings, especially Carmen, Un Ballo and Aida.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg that is Maestro Abbado's recorded legacy, according to Presto Classical he features in over 500.
So you can imagine the difficulty in selecting a suitable tribute. As a Verdian he was practically without peer and what better way to pay tribute to the passing of a legend than the composer's Requiem, a piece Maestro Abbado recorded four times. This is the first part of a video recording with Angela Gheorghiu, Daniella Barcellona, Roberto Alagna and Julian Konstantinov as soloists with the Berliner Philharmoniker and assembled choral forces of the Swedish Radio Choir, Orféon Donostiarra and Eric Ericson Chamber Choir.
Requiescat in pace Maestro Claudio Abbado, your vast recorded legacy speaks volumes of your inspirational musicianship and contribution to the Art of Music.