Mahler Symphony no. 7 (2019)

Mahler

Budapest Festival Orchestra

Ivan Fischer

A REVALIDATION!

“I am happy that the Dutch TV company VPRO made a documentary of our recording of this great symphony. This film is available on the internet. [YouTube/Mahler 7/Iván Fischer] It documents my efforts in proving that the last movement of Mahler’s seventh symphony – despite some doubts of Mahler experts – is a masterpiece. This work is often seen as enigmatic, fragmented, less accessible than the other, beloved Mahler Symphonies. May this recording contribute to a revalidation!

Mahler returns here to a perfect balance. He ended the 6th Symphony in a tragic minor key. Here he offers us the full journey from darkness to light. And what a journey it is! Please note the most magnificent scherzo framed between the two unique night music episodes! I love this symphony.”

– Iván Fischer

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Budapest Festival Orchestra

Ivan Fischer is founder and Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The partnership between Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra has proved to be one of the greatest success stories in the past three decades of classical music. Intense international touring and a series of acclaimed recordings for Philips Classics, later for Channel Classics have contributed to Iván Fischer's reputation as one of the world's most visionary and successful orchestra leaders.

He has developed and introduced new types of concerts, "Cocoa-Concerts” for young children, "Midnight Music” concerts for students, "Surprise” concerts where the programme is not announced, "One Forint Concerts” where he talks to the audience, open-air concerts in Budapest attracting tens of thousands of people. He has founded several festivals, including a summer festival in Budapest on baroque music and the Budapest Mahlerfest which is also a forum for commissioning and presenting new compositions.

As a guest conductor Fischer works with the finest symphony orchestras of the world. He has been invited to the Berlin Philharmonic more than ten times, he leads every year two weeks of programs with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and appears with leading US symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Earlier music director of Kent Opera and Lyon Opera, Principal Conductor of National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, his numerous recordings have won several prestigious international prizes.

Ivan Fischer studied piano, violin, cello and composition in Budapest, continuing his education in Vienna in Professor Hans Swarowsky’s conducting class. Recently he has been also active as a composer: his works have been performed in the US, Holland, Hungary, Germany and Austria, and he staged successful opera performances.

Mr. Fischer is a founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society, and Patron of the British Kodály Academy. He received the Golden Medal Award from the President of the Republic of Hungary, and the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum for his services to help international cultural relations. The French Government named him Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2006 he was honored with the Kossuth Prize, Hungary’s most prestigious arts award. He is honorary citizen of Budapest. In 2011 he received the Royal Philharmonic Award and the Dutch Ovatie prize. In 2013 he was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London.

As of August 2011 Ivan Fischer is music director of the Konzerthaus Berlin and principal conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin.

Ivan Fischer

Ivan Fischer is founder and Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra. The partnership between Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra has proved to be one of the greatest success stories in the past three decades of classical music. Intense international touring and a series of acclaimed recordings for Philips Classics, later for Channel Classics have contributed to Iván Fischer's reputation as one of the world's most visionary and successful orchestra leaders.

He has developed and introduced new types of concerts, "cocoa-concerts" for young children, "Midnight Music" concerts for students, "surprise" concerts where the programme is not announced, "one forint concerts" where he talks to the audience, open-air concerts in Budapest attracting tens of thousands of people. He has founded several festivals, including a summer festival in Budapest on baroque music and the Budapest Mahlerfest which is also a forum for commissioning and presenting new compositions.

As a guest conductor Fischer works with the finest symphony orchestras of the world. He has been invited to the Berlin Philharmonic more than ten times, he leads every year two weeks of programs with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and appears with leading US symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra.

Earlier music director of Kent Opera and Lyon Opera, Principal Conductor of National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, his numerous recordings have won several prestigious international prizes.

Ivan Fischer studied piano, violin, cello and composition in Budapest, continuing his education in Vienna in Professor Hans Swarowsky’s conducting class. Recently he has been also active as a composer: his works have been performed in the US, Holland, Hungary, Germany and Austria, and he staged successful opera performances.

Mr. Fischer is a founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society, and Patron of the British Kodály Academy. He received the Golden Medal Award from the President of the Republic of Hungary, and the Crystal Award from the World Economic Forum for his services to help international cultural relations. The French Government named him Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. In 2006 he was honored with the Kossuth Prize, Hungary’s most prestigious arts award. He is honorary citizen of Budapest. In 2011 he received the Royal Philharmonic Award and the Dutch Ovatie prize. In 2013 he was awarded Honorary Membership of the Royal Academy of Music in London.

As of August 2011 Ivan Fischer is music director of the Konzerthaus Berlin and principal conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin.

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Mahler Symphony no. 7 (2019)

Mahler

Budapest Festival Orchestra

    Sonograma (CAT)

In this extraordinary version, the Orchestra of the Budapest Festival, formed by top-level musicians, dominates the exhibition theme and accurately points out the sound effects that Mahler demands in this symphony. Imagination, expressiveness, nocturnality, melancholy and sadness are the words that appear in the meticulous writing of the bohemian Austrian composer.

Marçal Borotau[read full review]

    Gramophone 'RECORDING OF THE MONTH'

(...) Here and everywhere it's a performance full of first-time wonder in which the natural Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra relish Mahler's pathos and bathos, with an account that is not just beautiful but intensely moving symbiosis between Fischer and his players completely transcends the painstaking preparation that will have gone into the making of it. (...)

Edward Seckerson[read full review]

    MusicWeb International 'RECORDING OF THE MONTH'

This is a tremendous performance of the Seventh, magnificently played and recorded. It’s one of the best accounts of the symphony that I’ve heard. I believe this is the last instalment of Iván Fischer’s Mahler series: he’s gone out on a very high note indeed.

John Quinn[read full review]

    Klassik.com -

Iván Fischer dirigiert die Siebte – sicher einer der Höhepunkte seines Mahler-Zyklus mit dem Budapest Festival Orchestra. (...) Das Schöne ist, dass man das auf dieser Aufnahme alles auch hören kann. Vor allem im Surround-Modus entfaltet sich bereits mit dem ersten volltönenden Solo des Tenorhorns eine breite orchestrale Klangbühne, von der Piccoloflöte bis zum Kontrafagott, von den geteilten Soloviolinen bis zur Tuba, von der Gitarre und der Mandoline bis zum Glockenspiel. (...) Somit wird anhand der Siebten mustergültig deutlich, dass es Iván Fischer bei Mahler nicht um eine Psychologisierung oder programmatische Ausdeutung der Musik Mahlers gehen dürfte, sondern um den rein musikalischen Reichtum. >> Interpretation: 5 stars Sound Quality: 5 stars Repertoire Choice: 2 stars Booklet: 4 stars

Dr. Aron Sayed[read full review]

    Diapason -

L’approche d’Ivan Fischer se caractérise par sa palette chaude « mitteleuropéenne », un travail admirable sur la rondeur, le fondu, la complémentarité et la puissance sonore.

Christophe Huss

    BBC Music Magazine [Orchestral Choice] -

A blazing new dawn for Mahler’s Seventh (...) Iván Fischer dances with brilliant fanfares (...) Throughout there’s a transparency to the recorded sound, even in the heftiest passages, which is beautifully underlined by natural, state-of-the-art recording. >> 5 Stars for Performance + 5 Stars for Recording

David Nice

    Opus Klassiek

Iván Fischer en zijn orkest hebben met deze uitvoering van Mahlers Zevende een groots monument opgetrokken dat zich kan meten met de beste vertolkingen (...) een hoogtepunt in Fischers Mahler-cyclus. (...)

Aart van der Wal

    Stereophile

(...) Iván Fischer’s love for Mahler's music comes through so strongly that his conducting sweeps you away. Jared Sacks' engineering is, as always, superb. The silence and clarity of the high-resolution DSD format convincingly conveys the depth and breadth of Budapest's Palace of Arts and the sheer force of the orchestra. The big climaxes—there's also one at the end of the first movement—are thrilling. This is a wonderful recording.

Jason Victor Serinus

    Myscena.org

(…) All things considered, I am inclined to endorse Ivan Fischer’s new release as the best Mahler 7th on record. Fischer plays slow and loose with his tempi, sometimes extending the low brass to lip-bursting point, but he treats the symphony as a story to be told and what comes over is a vivid account of an artist’s life, errors and all. Unlike other maestros, he does not try to improve Mahler. If some of the composer’s decisions are questionable, so be it. The Budapest Festival Orchestra are fabulously flexible, joining in what feels like a voyage of discovery, a walk on a rickety bridge above a croc-infested creek. Strong stuff.

Norman Lebrecht

    KZ April 2019

Iván Fischer heeft zijn Budapest Festival Orchestra in korte tijd naar de wereldtop geleid. (...)Het orkest doet het allemaal perfect uit de doeken met fijn gedoseerde schakeringen in klank en sfeer. Ook de emotionele zeggingskracht is zorgvuldig afgewogen (...)

Eddie Vetter

    HRAudio.net -

(...) From the opening bars of the 1st movement it is clear that we are to be guided though this ‘darkness to light’ symphony by capable hands. (...) The movement’s striking central section (from 8.50) with its soft trumpet fanfares and woodwind cries is performed with all the fantasy and imagination one could wish for and delineated by orchestral playing of the utmost sensitivity.(...) an outstandingly realistic recording. The sound is miraculously detailed yet possesses a remarkable tonal warmth and coherence that places it above most of the considerable competition available in high resolution versions of this work. (...) The present issue deserves the highest recommendation for both performance and sound quality. There can be little doubt that, for many, it will be the top choice for a recording of this symphony.

Graham Williams

    Financial Times 4 Stars

(...) Every phrase, every note, every dot and dash of their performances is polished till it shines. Put a great, panoramic Mahler symphony in front of them and the result is a kaleidoscope of previously unnoticed detail. (...) this is a Mahler Seven that stands apart from the competition. (...)

    BBC Radio 3

... teaming with detail ... every phrase moulded with care ... each emotional nuance embraced with affection ... a rare sense of impetuous spontaneity ... he makes me love it as much as he says he does ... superb recording ... which you ought to sample in surround ...

    Stereophile

After listening to DSD128 files of Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra's new recording of the symphony for Channel Classics, I've come to consider it a somewhat shy flower that puts on a brave face and remains in the shadows until a strong conductor coaxes it into the light and convinces it to share all of its bloom and fragrance. Of sunny bloom, Mahler's Seventh has a lot, especially in its fourth movement (Nachtmusik II) and portions of the finale. If you've got a sound system that can do full justice to a huge Mahler orchestra, you'll hear an extended conclusion that starts jubilant, happy and carefree, and ultimately lets loose with a kitchen sink of sounds that include tubular bells, percussion, and every means of exaltation you might imagine save hundreds of choristers praising the heavens. True, these are not the sounds of Christian spiritual transcendence and deliverance that Mahler shares at the end of his two choral symphonies, the Second and Eighth. Nor does the Seventh end with anything approaching the Fourth symphony's childlike view of Christian paradise. Instead, the Seventh's music is far more personal and aspires less to the universal. That isn't to suggest that human celebration and jubilation aren't something worth trumpeting about. But the Seventh is ultimately a far more secular and personal affair than some of Mahler's other creations. Iván Fischer is sometimes criticized (rightfully) for prioritizing sheer beauty of sound over emotional expression. Here, however, his love for Mahler's music comes through so strongly that his conducting sweeps you away. Jared Sacks' engineering is, as always, superb. The silence and clarity of the high-resolution DSD format convincingly conveys the depth and breadth of Budapest's Palace of Arts and the sheer force of the orchestra. The big climaxes — there's also one at the end of the first movement — are thrilling. This is a wonderful recording.

Jason Victor Serinus [read full review]

    HRAudio.Net -

This magnificent recording of Mahler’s 7th Symphony from Channel Classics is announced as the final release in the survey of the composer’s symphonies undertaken by Iván Fischer and his superb Budapest Festival Orchestra that began almost 14 years ago. As co-founder of the Budapest Festival Orchestra and founder of the Hungarian Mahler Society, Fischer’s Mahlerian credentials are impeccable, and it was clear with the first release of the 6th Symphony in 2005 that this was going to be a thrilling series of recordings. Each subsequent issue has conclusively proved that to be the case. While other conductors have begun and completed Mahler cycles – usually under live conditions – the long gestation period adopted by Fischer has had the inestimable benefit of allowing, through meticulous preparation, conductor and orchestra to hone their interpretation of each symphony before committing it to DSD. During the recording of the Symphony the Dutch TV company VPRO made a film entitled: ‘Iván Fischer and the eclectic Mahler (recording the 7th symphony)’ that is available on You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQs5mlTs4Vw. Those contemplating adding this recording to their libraries should make this film obligatory viewing; not just for the valuable insights Fischer provides in documenting his conception and approach to this piece, but also for allowing one the opportunity to observe the heart-warming close collaborative relationship and genuine respect shown by the musicians to their Music Director. From the opening bars of the 1st movement, it is clear that we are to be guided through this ‘darkness to light’ symphony by capable hands. The initial tempo is perfectly judged with a tenor horn solo that is firm and forthright. The march that follows is trenchant while Fischer’s transition into Mahler’s wonderful lyrical second subject allows the BFO strings to swoon and soar rhapsodically. The movement’s striking central section (from 8.50) with its soft trumpet fanfares and woodwind cries is performed with all the fantasy and imagination one could wish for and delineated by orchestral playing of the utmost sensitivity. The same is true of both Nachtmusik movements where one can relish the contribution of individual soloists within the orchestra – the horns and woodwind in Nachtmusik I and the violin, mandolin and guitar solos in Nachtmusik II. Once again Fischer’s tempi seem ideal for these eloquent and, in the case of II, seductive accounts of these subtle interludes. The central Scherzo, placed between the two Nachtmusiks, is marked Schattenhaft (shadowy) and with Fischer and his players making the most of the composer’s often grotesque orchestral effects its sinister and eerie quality is chillingly conveyed. In the liner notes (referring to the film mentioned above) Fischer writes: “It documents my efforts in proving that the last movement of Mahler’s seventh symphony – despite some doubts of Mahler experts – is a masterpiece”. Few will disagree, having listened to this performance, that he has achieved his aim. From the opening pounding timpani and brass fanfares, the joyous exuberance of this vigorously contrapuntal finale is captured with playing of breathtaking virtuosity and elan. Fischer and his marvelous musicians chart their course through this multifaceted movement with complete assurance in a manner that would surely convince any skeptic of its worth. One need hardly mention that the experienced engineering team of Jared Sacks and Hein Dekker have worked their usual magic in the Palace of Arts, Budapest and achieved an outstandingly realistic recording. The sound is miraculously detailed yet possesses a remarkable tonal warmth and coherence that places it above most of the considerable competition available in high-resolution versions of this work. So what about a recording Mahler’s 8th Symphony from these artists? It is unlikely that this will be undertaken, and not just because of both the cost and logistics involved. When Channel records with the Budapest Festival Orchestra the ‘studio’ sessions are planned for a period following one of the orchestra’s 4-6 weeks tours. It is, of course, possible that a one-off concert performance will eventually appear but that is not what Maestro Fischer is trying to achieve with making recordings. The good news is that these artists have recorded ‘Das Lied von der Erde’ for release next year. In the meantime, the present issue deserves the highest recommendation for both performance and sound quality. There can be little doubt that, for many, it will be the top choice for a recording of this symphony. Performance: 5 out of 5 stars Stereo Sonics: 5 out of 5 stars Multichannel Sonics: 5 out of 5 stars

Graham Williams [read full review]

    Musicweb International - Recommended Recording

(...) Iván follows his revitalising Third with a similarly talented Seventh; as before, the engineering is first rate. (...) Iván's first movement is spaciously conceived, with a full-fat tenorhorn, alert phrasing and a pleasing sense of purpose. His strikes me as a considered approach, in every sense of the word, but that's not so suggest it's without nuance or character. Some may prefer a freer, more seamless line, but at least there's no shortage of ear-pricking incident. Hein Dekker and Jared Sacks's judiciously balanced, 'hear through' recording is a great asset in this respect, Mahler's smaller, easy-to-miss epiphanies beautifully caught. As for the playing, it's beyond reproach, with ravishing harps and well-blended Wagnerian brass. Iván's opener also seems darker than some, but then, like Gielen, he doesn't shrink from the music's equivocations; in short,, he forges a much tougher, more absorbing narrative here than most. (...)

Dan Morgan

    The Guardian, The Observer

Iván Fischer, conducting his Budapest Festival Orchestra (Channel Classics), is an eloquent champion, celebrating the work’s eclecticism – cow bells, courtly dances, folk song – in a blaze of aural invention. His players, as ever, are lithe, spirited, virtuosic.

Fiona Maddocks[read full review]

    Pizzicato -

(...) Ivan Fischer takes a close look at the diversity of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony, and not the least due to the excellent playing of his Budapest Festival Orchestra, this is a strong account of the work. The recorded surround sound is excellent.

Remy Franck

    Crescendo Mag Be 4 x ten

(...) Mahlérien émérite à la tête d’un orchestre d’élite, Ivan Fischer construit à un rythme lent une intégrale qui fait date. (...) Les deux “Nachtmusik” sont idéales de fraîcheurs : les somptuosités mélodiques font face à une masse instrumentale allégée et ici foncièrement chambriste. Dans les mouvements extrêmes, la force de la direction d’Ivan Fischer est de renforcer le nerf de cette musique avec énergie et sens narratif. (...) Son 10 – Livret 10 – Répertoire 10 – Interprétation 10

Pierre Jean Tribot

Mahler Symphony no. 7 (2019)

Mahler

Budapest Festival Orchestra

Cables: Van den Hul
Digital Converters: Grimm Audio
Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer 4006, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis, custom design
Producer: Hein Dekker
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording location: Palace of Arts, Budapest, September 2015
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD 64
Speakers: Audio Lab, Holland

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38019: Mahler Symphony no. 7
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Tracks.
1.
Langsam-allegro risoluto
Mahler
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2.
Nachtmusik 1 - Allegro moderato
Mahler
00:14:29   Select quality & channels above
3.
Scherzo - Schattenhaft
Mahler
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4.
Nachtmusik 2 - Andante amoroso
Mahler
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5.
Rondo-finale
Mahler
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