Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Perhaps this is related to health problems not sure, but as soon as CD graphics changed to current style the performances lost stature with me.
I think that his health problems have given him a different take on Mahler. His recent disc of mostly Parsifal
excerpts is excellent. He does, though, have a slight tendency to concentrate on the architecture at the expense of the drama (though this isn't distracting or as bad as Boulez's 1970 Bayreuth set). I am, then, reticent to apply this change across the board. For whatever reason, he sees Mahler in a different light. I listened to his new 6th, which seems to be one of the more polarizing of the new cycle, again. Yes, it is lighter and it isn't quite as dramatic as the 6th probably should be. However, there is a sense of resignation. It's as though Abbado says at the beginning, "He dies. Get over it." His lighter touch allows the architecture, and the machinations of fate written in the score, to come through clearly.
However, he isn't turning the most brilliant cycle ever, and that is the problem. If he likes a grim, fatalistic approach, then he should do it to the utmost of his rather considerable talents. And not with the Berliners. Their unfortunate time with the second-rate Mahlerian Von Karajan did them no favors.