30 Sexy Sarah Palin Pictures

out in Mahler’s more refined writing, horns way back (a pale shadow of their incandescently lit counterparts in the San Francisco recording). Abbado’s ideally supple account of La mer (reviewed on DVD in December) has even dodgier moments: monster solo cellos as day waxes bright on Debussy’s sea and a weird spotlighting of consummate oboist Albrecht Mayer in the ‘Jeux de vagues’.

If you can hear through the weird balances to the sophisticated beauty of the performance, though, you’ll be spellbound by Abbado’s increasingly compelling Mahler, a brisker alternative to the daring metaphysics of Resurrection king, Bernstein. The San Franciscans sound hawkish alongside the graceful humour of the Lucerne strings’ minuet and their luridly sinister woodwind in the scherzo. Tilson Thomas’s Lorraine Hunt, surprisingly, is less awe and compassion incarnate than Abbado’s Anna Larsson; and the one false note from Lucerne soprano Eteri Gvazava only momentarily distracts from the infinite vistas and velvety-awesome resurrection chorale that follow Abbado’s searing judgement-day panics. All that Tilson Thomas does is theatre, however resplendent; Abbado operates on levels of musicality that even his previous recordings could only dream about. David Nice

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