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Claudio Abbado Memorial

January 20


Stingray Brava fully dedicates Sunday, January 20 to conductor Claudio Abbado, who died five years ago. Enjoy countless performances under the baton of this Italian maestro. Following his 1960 debut at La Scala in Milan, he was assistant to the revered Leonard Bernstein in New York. By 1966, Abbado was already working with the Berliner Philharmonic and in 1989, the year the Berlin Wall fell, he succeeded Herbert von Karajan as chief conductor! Enjoy multiple Beethoven Symphonies, gala performances from the Berlin Philharmonic and interesting documentaries which will give a great insight in Abbado’s musical mind!

Sunday, January 20 at 7:45 | Europakonzert 1991 – Prague

The Berlin Philharmonic, led by maestro Claudio Abbado, perform their first Europakonzert in Prague in 1991. Since then, the founding of the orchestra on May 1st in 1882 is annually celebrated with a concert in a European city of cultural significance. Soloists in this first edition are soprano Cheryl Studer and pianist Bruno Canino. On the program are various works by W.A. Mozart, like the overture and a selection of arias from the opera "Don Giovanni", his Symphony No. 29 (K. 201), Scena and Rondo for Soprano and piano forta obligato and Orchestra (K. 505) and the Symphony No. 35 (K. 385), nicknamed "Haffner".

Sunday, January 20 at 10:00 | Hearing the Silence

Claudio Abbado was one of the world's finest and most-respected conductors. He held the post of musical director with La Scala in Milan from 1968 to 1986, with the Vienna Opera from 1986 to 1991, and the Berlin Philharmonic from 1989 to 2002. He was strong advocate of the development of young musical talent, and was instrumental in the foundation of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the European Union Youth Orchestra, and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra. He also founded the new Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Filmmaker Paul Smaczny has followed his career over the years, regularly filming and interviewing him. In this profile, Abbado talks about his life and work, his conception of music, and his favourite compositions. Discover never-before-seen interviews combined with images of the conductor during rehearsals and concerts, interviews with friends and colleagues, and archival material. The result: a complete portrait under a new and unexpected light.

Sunday, January 20 at 11:30 | Lucerne Festival 2004 - Gala Concert

Conducted by Claudio Abbado, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra draws outstanding orchestral musicians and soloists such as Kolja Blacher, Natalia Gutman, Reinhold Friedrich, and Sabine Meyer. This live recording from the Concert de Gala 2004 includes the Vier letzte Lieder for soprano and orchestra by Richard Strauss, with world star Renée Fleming and a concerto performance of the second act of Richard Wagner's opera Tristan and Isolde featuring Violeta Urmana, Mihoko Fujimura, and René Pape.

Sunday, January 20 at 14:00 | Europakonzert 1994 – Meiningen

The Berliner Philharmoniker, Daniel Barenboim and Claudio Abbado star at the Europakonzert 1994 in Meiningen, Germany, performing Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 and Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2. Popularly known as the Emperor Concerto and composed in Vienna between 1809 and 1811, Piano Concerto No. 5 is Beethoven’s last completed piano concerto and often performed by star pianists such as Daniel Barenboim. A few decades later in 1877, Brahms completed his Second Symphony, which is often compared to Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony given its cheerful and pastoral character.

Sunday, January 20 at 15:35 | Lucerne Festival 2005 - Mahler, Berg, Schubert

In the years between the completion (1906) and premiere (1908) of Gustav Mahler’s 'Symphony No. 7', the composer's life changed rather dramatically. He quit his position at the Wiener Staatsoper, his first daughter died, and he was diagnosed with a cardiac anomaly. Because of the ‘dark’ character of several movements (the second and fourth movement are titled ‘Nightmusic’, and the third movement is titled ‘Schattenhaft’, meaning shadowy), the symphony is nicknamed ‘Song of the Night’, a name which the composer himself did not agree with. This 'Symphony No. 7' is Mahler’s most abstract work, which may account for its bad reception by musicians and listeners alike at the work's premiere. Even today, the 'Symphony No. 7' is rarely programmed, as it seems to be one of Mahler's least popular works. Unjustly so: 'No. 7' is uniquely structured, moving from dark to light and from dark to a jubilant finale. In Mahler's later work, 'No. 7' is certainly no less accessible than the more frequently-played 'Symphony No. 9'. Of of today's leading conductors, no-one skips this symphony.

Sunday, January 20 at 19:30 | Beethoven - Symphony No. 6

It must have been quite a concert: at 6:30 PM on December 22, 1808, the poorly heated Theater an der Wien provided the backdrop for the premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4. His Choral Fantasy, his concert aria ‘Ah! perfido’, selections from the Mass in C and his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies were performed. Each and every one of these compositions is a masterpiece; their influence on music history has proven enormous. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, ‘Pastorale’, is a text book example of programme music: Beethoven cleverly sketches the peace and quiet of the country life. Performers: Claudio Abbado & Berlin Philharmonic