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  Channel Classics -
  CC SSA 36115
  Mahler: Symphony No. 9 - Fischer
  Mahler: Symphony No. 9

Budapest Festival Orchestra
Ivan Fischer
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Submitted by Luukas
Related titles: 5

Wagner - Fischer        

Reviews: 4 show all

Site review by Castor May 20, 2015
Performance:   Sonics:    
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

Review by Chris from Lafayette July 26, 2015 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I just posted this review over at Audio Asylum, and I wanted to post it here too. I've done some minor editing.

I've had this album for about a week and a half, and, during one of my listening sessions, I blurted out to my wife in the adjoining room, "Jared has really outdone himself this time!". Madeline has been clued-in as to who Jared is for quite a while, so she knew what I was referring to, but she replied with a skeptical focus on other aspects of my remark:

"Your voice is shaking!. . . Your lips are quivering!. . . You're getting all teary-eyed - and all this because of SOUND QUALITY??? You can't be serious!"

I cannot tell a lie - she had me nailed! The irony! I, who viewed with contempt the guy who came up to Haitink after a performance of the Resurrection Symphony and bragged that he had been weeping, was now reduced to the same maudlin emotionality myself! And she was right - it WAS because of the sound quality! I just can't describe how wonderful it was - the sheer stability of the orchestral image, the evocation of the exact size and tone quality of the wind instruments, the resinous quality of the bowing, the extension and natural balance of the bass, the ratio of direct to reflected sound, the uncongested openness of the orchestral textures. It was all so. . . moving!

Since I was so choked up by the sound quality, perhaps there might be some (legitimate!) skepticism concerning my remarks about the performance. But too bad - here goes: much of the discussion thus far has centered on the speed and timing of Fischer's interpretation - everyone agrees he's on the quicker side of the ledger. Folks seemed initially worried about the last movement in particular: that it was an andante instead of a held-back adagio. But the consensus of the reviews so far is that Fischer does indeed pull off his faster tempo while still conveying the music's profound evocation of peace and resignation - something that Mahler did so well, but nowhere better than in this last movement of the Ninth. BTW, I concur with this consensus, and I do not at all feel as if I'm being hustled along.

I was actually more anxious about the inner movements as far as speed was concerned: the Ländler/Waltz second movement is definitely a part of the symphony where I don't want any hustling going on, and Fischer is definitely tilting towards my limit, at least in places. But he gets such great articulation from his players, that I became convinced by his approach. It's certainly not the way I'd want to hear it all the time, but in the context of an overall performance as well structured as this one, I can deal with it!

The third movement, Rondo-Burleske, is another movement where I tend not to like interpretations where the tempos are too fast for the players to articulate cleanly. (You hear that, Herbie?) I haven't checked actual timings here, but, subjectively, it seems to me that Fischer, while on the fast side of things, is not TOO fast for his players to articulate their notes expressively, and moreover, to get some sneering and sarcasm into some of those motives which become transformed into profound utterances in the last movement. Again, Fischer's approach to the third movement would not necessarily be my preference for most of my listening to this work, but he does carry it off very convincingly.

In some ways, I like Fischer's interpretation of the first movement the best - his flowing tempo avoids undue emphasis on that "heart murmur" motive (oodle-oodle-oodle oodle-oodle-oodle - jeez, I hate that Ben Zander lecture on his Telarc album of this work!), and, to my ears at least, his fluent approach lends greater coherency to the movement than we often encounter.

So, overall, I like the performance a lot, but I wouldn't rate it quite as highly as I do the sound quality, which IMHO is at a state-of-the-art level.

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Review by JJ July 11, 2015 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
Dating from 1909, the Symphony N°9 by Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) is made up of four movements. The first was described by Alban Berg as such: “The first movement is the most magnificent thing Mahler ever wrote. It is the expression of inexpressible love for this earth, the desire to live there in peace, and as for nature, to rejoice in it to the end in all its depth – before death comes. For, it comes irresistibly. All that is dreamt on earth is culminated by death, and above all, naturally, in the inexpressible passage in which this inkling of death becomes certain; where, in the middle of the most painful desire to live death announces itself ‘with the greatest violence’.” Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra make this late work a kind of last breath, not one of resignation, but of deep serenity, universal, one that relieves us of all. With confounding finesse, the Hungarian conductor plays with the most subtle nuances and leads us to absolute silence, one which, more than any other, is inhabited by a music that is intensely interior.

Jean-Jacques Millo
Translation Lawrence Schulman

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Works: 1  

Gustav Mahler - Symphony No. 9 in D major