Schubert: Symphony No. 7 "Unfinished"; Beethoven: Symphony No. 2; Wagner: Siegfried Idyll

Claudio Abbado / Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Wiener Philharmoniker

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Schubert: Symphony No. 7 "Unfinished"; Beethoven: Symphony No. 2; Wagner: Siegfried Idyll Review

by Blair Sanderson

Claudio Abbado's relationship with the Lucerne Festival was famous and highly productive, not only for his many concerts with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, but also with guest orchestras, such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, who appear on this CD from Audite. The recording of Franz Schubert's Symphony No. 8 in B minor, "Unfinished," dates from 1978, seven years after Abbado had become the Vienna Philharmonic's principal conductor, while the 1988 performances of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 2 in D major and Richard Wagner's Siegfried Idyll were recorded when Abbado had been conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for nine years. These performances show responsiveness and flexibility, what one might expect from a skilled communicator like Abbado and two professional ensembles that knew the pieces thoroughly. Aside from the slight audience noise, the only quibble one might have with these live performances is Abbado's fairly conventional approach, which was mainstream for the time, but seems a bit dated today, in light of more historically informed performances. Fans of Abbado will be the most interested in these recordings, though they are also a good introduction for newcomers to his style of conducting.

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