Last Monday one of the true greats in music passed away -- Claudio Abbado.
The brilliant Italian conducted many of the great symphony orchestras around the world. He was known as a perfectionist in a way I can admire.
According to reports, he was very detailed in preparing musicians for performances. And when the time came to play in the great concert halls, he allowed them to totally express themselves, bringing dynamic emotion to the music. He understood the music and respected the musicians. One conductor called the performances "electrifying."
I'm strictly a layperson when it comes to classical music. I love to listen to it while I'm writing and at work. I first became aware of Claudio Abbado about eight years ago when I came across recordings of works by Beethoven, Mahler, Mozart and others that he conducted. They were simply extraordinary.
My favorite was Abbado's masterful work with the Berliner Philharmoniker's performance of Dvorak's "New World Symphony."
Abbado was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2000 but gave us more wonderful music until he passed away at age 80.
Fortunately, we have his recordings that will remind us of his genius.