Academic journal article Notes

Claudio Abbado: Hearing the Silence; Sketches for a Portrait

Academic journal article Notes

Claudio Abbado: Hearing the Silence; Sketches for a Portrait

Article excerpt

Claudio Abbado: Hearing the Silence; Sketches for a Portrait. DVD. Berlin Philharmonic; Vienna Philharmonic; Lucerne Festival Orchestra; Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra / Claudio Abbado. Produced and directed by Paul Smaczny. Live concert performance directed by Gary Halvorson, and produced by Michael Bronson. [Germany]: EuroArts Music International, 2005. 821936-0005-95. $26.99.

Paul Smaczny, vice-president for Music & Documentaries at EuroArts Music International since the late 1980s, continues to refine his skills as a filmographer of musical subjects in the present biographical work focusing on Claudio Abbado. (Smaczny has also produced portraits of Kurt Masur, and Peter Ustinov's narrative portrait of Mendelssohn). For Hearing the Silence, Smaczny extensively examines the factors that Abbado drew upon to secure himself in the ranks of world class musicians. Abbado's longtime friend, the Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, performs the majority of the narration. But, several musicians who have played under Abbado make appearances and commentaries as well. Albrecht Mayer, principal oboe for the Berlin Philharmonic, describes the very subtle movement of his gestures. Others describe his nonverbal communication with musicians, and his ability to not let outside influences break his concentration.

Abbado is not a showman, nor is he selfish in his music making: "For me, the best audience is one that stays silent. …

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