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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Record of the Month - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonies - Released May 5, 2017 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - 4 étoiles Classica
As Iván Fischer approaches the completion of his live Mahler cycle with the Budapest Festival Orchestra on Channel Classics, he unexpectedly jumps backward to one of the early symphonies, the Symphony No. 3 in D minor. Fischer is known to take his time studying scores and absorbing them thoroughly before committing to making a recording, so he appears to have waited for more than a decade for something in this work to develop and lead to a fuller understanding. The Symphony No. 3 is Mahler's longest symphony, based in part on material he had used in his song cycle Des Knaben Wunderhorn, so it is challenging in terms of balancing its unusual six-movement form and interpreting its content. That Fischer has achieved unity and clarity in his interpretation is evident in this lucid performance, which is deeply compelling for its dramatic contrasts and moving in its glorious evocation of the spiritual in nature. This 2017 audiophile release features contralto Gerhild Romberger in the somber fourth-movement setting of the "Midnight Song," taken from Friedrich Nietzche's Also sprach Zarathustra, and she is joined by the Cantemus Children's Choir and the Bavarian Radio Choir in the joyous fifth movement, which is a setting of the Wunderhorn song "Es sungen drei Engel einen süßen Gesang." Yet the purely orchestral Finale is one of Mahler's most sublime movements, and the Budapest Festival Orchestra plays with a warm radiance that brings this symphony to its inspiring conclusion. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Exceptional Sound Recording - Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonies - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released October 21, 2016 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Classical - Released March 1, 2019 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Record of the Month
Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 7 has been subject to perhaps a greater variety of interpretations than any of his other orchestral works, with a classic version by Hermann Scherchen clocking in at well under 70 minutes but one by Otto Klemperer with the New Philharmonia Orchestra lasting more than 100. Is the work a big orchestral nocturne, as its later nickname, "Song of the Night," suggested? Is it a philosophical statement? An expression of Viennese neurosis? The work seems to spill over its own boundaries in an almost random way, but analysis reveals a careful overall harmonic structure. Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer, with his closely associated Budapest Festival Orchestra, leans toward the quick end of the spectrum (it's just under 75 minutes long), but the overall tone is warm, without the histrionic surprises of Leonard Bernstein's approach to Mahler. Only in the central Scherzo is there a real bite. Sample the finale, where he lets the movement's uneasy shifts of tonality and thematic material speak for themselves rather than putting you on a careening roller coaster ride, and he emerges at the end with real sunniness. In his hands the work is something of a song of the night -- and morning. Fischer, whose younger brother Adam has also recorded this work (how's that for sibling rivalry?), has the kind of control over the orchestra that comes from long acquaintance. This offers an X factor in the recording's favor, as does Channel Classics' fine sound from the Palace of Arts in Budapest and Fischer's own extensive reflections in the booklet. A recommended version of this thorny symphony. © TiVo
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Classical - Released June 22, 2018 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
With one of the very best orchestras in the world, the Budapest Festival Orchestra, one of today’s most fascinating conductor, Iván Fischer, offers one of the most beautiful recent interpretations of Mendelssohn’s integral A Midsummer Night's Dream. In other words: first the Overture, the phenomenal stroke of genius of a seventeen-year-old – one can only wonder where he discovered all of these orchestral inventions, as in 1826, templates were still rare and Berlioz had yet to enter the musical scene. Afterwards, the remaining pieces were composed sixteen years later for the theatrical presentation of Shakespeare’s play with musical interludes: thirteen very diverse pieces, ranging from the fabulous Scherzo − a masterpiece of finesse and orchestral invention – to delicious singing moments, as well as a pre-Mahler funeral march (reminiscent of Frère Jacques from Mahler’s Symphony No. 1), the overly well-known wedding march, the grotesque dance, and many more. There is little doubt that this is, if not Mendelssohn’s greatest masterpiece, at least one of his absolute pinnacle works. Presented here in a truly irresistible interpretation. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Best known for performing music by modern Hungarian composers such as Bartók and Kódaly, and also for his numerous Mozart recordings in the 1990s, Iván Fischer takes a surprising turn in his repertoire by recording Mahler's Symphony No. 6 in A minor, "Tragic," with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, a bold undertaking for any maestro, but one for which he is well-prepared. Fischer has performed Mahler live on many occasions, and has devoted considerable time to studying the music before committing an interpretation to disc, so his 2005 Channel Classics release cannot be called careless or hastily planned. This symphony may not be as difficult to interpret and perform as are others of Mahler's gargantuan essays, but because expectations are high among devotees, Fischer has a tough job pleasing the cognoscenti. (Curiously, many obsessive Mahlerians have a marked preference for this work, possibly because it is the most coherent and powerful of the purely instrumental symphonies. Fischer's performance can be enjoyed as one of the best sounding to come along in years -- the nuances in the brass and percussion are especially marvelous -- and it can be taken as one of the most reasoned and thoughtful interpretations as well. Fischer aims for clarity and balance, and gets a transparent reading from the BFO that reveals every note. Yet a real feeling for Mahler's exaggerated emotional world seems to be lacking, and when the music should be wildly hysterical, appallingly grotesque, and running headlong toward catastrophe, Fischer's version keeps safely back from the edge of the abyss, dusts itself off, and reminds us that it is, after all, only a symphony, not the end of the world. Alas, the great recordings of the Symphony No. 6 actually do sound like the end of the world, and can almost create physical sensations of heartache and terror. This recording, however well it sounds and despite its many interesting features, has no such power, and is much less gripping than it should have been. © TiVo
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Symphonic Music - Released October 16, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
As Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra progress through the symphonies of Johannes Brahms, one album at a time, the makings of a box set are becoming apparent. Not only has Fischer covered the First, Second, and now the Fourth, but the filler pieces have included the Variations on a Theme of Haydn, the Tragic Overture, the Academic Festival Overture, and assorted Hungarian Dances, giving this series the required selections for a deluxe reissue. Like the earlier recordings, the Fourth is expertly played in a mainstream interpretation, and the sound of the orchestra is rich and vibrant, sure to attract listeners who like their Brahms to have a traditional feeling. Fischer clearly communicates the intellectual and emotional sides of the symphony, and he inspires the orchestra to play with transparent textures, crisp details, and passionate intensity, producing an ideal combination. The sound of this hybrid SACD is superb, and Channel Classics' multichannel recording gives the orchestra credible presence and plenty of room to breathe. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
Gioachino Rossini is most readily associated with opera overtures than opera -- to whom he was a major contributor -- and to some extent with sacred choral music and piano literature. Perhaps least of all he is recognized as a composer of instrumental and chamber music; while he did not produce an inconsiderable amount in these areas, much of his symphonies, concertante-styled works, and chamber music is early and simply cannot keep their pride of place in comparison with his far mightier operas. Nevertheless, Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra have found much to admire in this neglected area of Rossini's efforts, and have recorded the Super Audio CD Gioacchino Rossini: Instrumental Music for Channel Classics. It includes two opera overtures, from La Scala di Seta and Semiramide, the first of his six String Sonatas in G major, two sets of variations, and a Serenata for rather odd combinations of instruments and finally a fanfare for four horns. The recording quality is strikingly immediate and forward, and the playing crisp and very professional. However, there is a rather bland, formal, and conservative feeling to most of it; the explosive excitement that kicks the disc off with the Overture to La Scala di Seta doesn't take hold and most of the rest comes off like a set of rather polite and uninteresting set pieces. There is a little peak of interest when the Andante, e Tema con Variazioni begins, owing to soloist Ákos Ács' lovely clarinet tone and the unanimity of the wind doublings, though once the piece gets rolling the same sense of ennui returns. It is not Rossini's music that's the issue here; certainly the string sonatas have been recorded as a set numerous times, perhaps most successfully by I Musici. The problem is that while Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra achieve great precision and discipline in this music, they lack inspiration; tempi are sluggish and the sparkle one usually encounters in Rossini's music is reduced to a dull glint. While the basic idea of putting together a program of Rossini's purely instrumental compositions -- and therefore providing an alternative to the mountains of CDs devoted to his opera overtures -- is a good one, as a vehicle for that, Channel Classics' Super Audio CD Gioacchino Rossini: Instrumental Music is simply out of gas. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 20, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Symphonic Music - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
This is only the second installment in Iván Fischer's series of the symphonies of Johannes Brahms on Channel Classics, but it already seems that the standard box set is being planned. His 2009 release of the Symphony No. 1 in C minor was paired with the Variations on a Theme by Haydn, while this hybrid SACD presents the Symphony No. 2 in D major with the Tragic Overture and the Academic Festival Overture. Assuming the next volumes offer the Symphony No. 3 in F major and the Symphony No. 4 in E minor, with no other filler pieces, then Fischer will have completed the customary Brahms symphonic set, ready for immediate reissue. This possibility may influence prospective buyers to get the recordings in one convenient package, but Fischer's Brahms is good enough to have as the albums are being released. It's hard to argue with Fischer's interpretive choices, because he fully grasps Brahms' intellectuality as well as his deep expressiveness, and touches the emotional core of the Second Symphony with complete sympathy and clarity of purpose. The Budapest Festival Orchestra is easily inspired by Fischer, and the musicians play with the fullness of tone and rhythmic flexibility of a world-class orchestra. Add to this the extraordinary audio quality that gives the orchestra credible presence and wonderful resonance, and it's easy to understand why connoisseurs might want to snap up the separate releases and not wait for a future complete cycle. Highly recommended. © TiVo
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Classical - Released September 9, 2016 | Channel Classics Records

Booklet Distinctions 4 étoiles Classica
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Classical - Released October 25, 2019 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet
Integral collections of Beethoven’s work are coming thick and fast in the runup to 2020, the 250th anniversary of the immortal composer loved by all. Admittedly, when one is a fan, enough is never enough. But one wonders what the editors and labels will do in 2027 for the bicentenary of Beethoven’s death with a selection of musicians which is more or less the same as today’s… Since the invention of the CD, every conductor wants to leave their mark on history with their very own interpretation of the Nine Symphonies. There is nothing more exciting for critics and music lovers alike than following the different styles of each different interpretation. The path chosen by Arthur Nikisch is passionate but challenging; there is no linearity and apart from from the sound quality, there is no sense of evolution, a strange concept in art as everyone knows. Each recording is the reflection of its time period with its stars, its unfairly overlooked artists and its followers of an exacerbated romanticism or a decanted, intellectual even abstract vision. Ivan Fischer’s version (Symphonies 1 & 5 here) is remarkable first and foremost thanks to the exceptional standard of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, founded in 1983 with his fellow countryman, the late Zoltan Kocsis. Made up of the best young musicians from the distinguished Hungarian conservatoires, this orchestra has quickly made a name for itself as a top tier European ensemble thanks to rigorous hard work, which involves the practice levels of an orchestra with the stringency of chamber music. The expert versatility of the strings, the character of the wind section, the power of the brass and the dancing, rhythmic bounce give this part of an integral work a very particular charm. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet
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Classical - Released July 3, 2015 | Channel Classics Records

Hi-Res Booklet
Fans of Gustav Mahler's joyous Symphony No. 4 in G major will relish this buoyant performance by Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, featuring soprano Miah Persson, for it is wholly in keeping with the light tone and merry spirit of the score and is as delightful as any other recording on the market. Along with the Second and Third symphonies, this is one of the so-called Wunderhorn symphonies because of its radiant setting of the German poem, "Das himmlische Leben" in the Finale, and because of the incorporation of related themes from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn. It expresses the youthful energy and magical sweetness of the first period in Mahler's symphonic style and is the culmination of this charming phase, before the onset of darker things in the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh symphonies. Fischer and his musicians are in a light and playful mood, and their reading is cheerful, energetic, and irresistibly gemütlich in its warmth and happiness. Some listeners may quibble over Fischer's seemingly casual use of rubato, which in spots can seem a little too arbitrary, but on the whole this remains a well-balanced and spirited performance, and the slight changes of tempo serve to give the symphony a gentle Viennese flavor that seems indispensable. The DSD multi-channel sound on this SACD is stunning in its clarity, wide in its dimensions, and vibrant in its tone colors, so there is much to rejoice over in this sublime recording. © TiVo