CLAUDIO ABBADO 3 Classic Albums 4792549

. . . [this set] gives a broad overview of his career and his gifts . . . The Vienna Philharmonic plays with exquisite beauty, but also much excitement in these popular "Hungarian Dances". Having all 21 of them is always a pleasure, and the lesser known works have no shortage of charm . . . Abbado brings both vigor and grace to his end of the bargain . . . [the Rossini disc] finds the conductor in excellent form . . . These are outstanding renditions of these evergreen overtures, lean and exciting. All the favorites are here, and if for whatever reason you don't own these pieces, this is as fine a sampler as one could wish for. First-chair soloists are uniformly distinguished, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe uses a lean, crisp approach to phrasing. As for Abbado, he was peerless in Rossini for most of his career, and he's engaged and excitable here . . . [Verdi choruses]: If nothing else, this program demonstrates just how promising an artist Abbado was. It also showcases his mastery of the theatre; for years, Abbado was the top Verdi conductor available. It's not easy to take opera choruses out of context and build a viable album, but the selections -- which mostly date from the late 1970's -- are heartily sung, and brilliantly led from the podium. You'll see that I also give equal credit to longtime choral conductor Romano Gandolfi, who along with Abbado enhanced and enriched the tradition that is La Scala. Even the famous "Gloria all'Egitto" (from "Aida") is staggeringly effective . . . [these singers sing] with heft and uncommon strength, occasionally joined by some of the great operatic voices of that time. The 15 choruses come with three riveting choral movements from the "Messa de Requiem" . . . compelling . . . when he was on, he was one of the best in the world. All three of these albums enforce that opinion, and are a must if you don't already own them.