This fine recording of Dvorák's Cello Concerto by Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey with Hungarian conductor Iván Fischer leading the Budapest Festival Orchestra is as generous, honest, and compelling as the music itself. Wispelwey has a rich, ringing tone that can ride over orchestral tutti fortes yet still sound fully present in intimate pianissimos. He also has an elegant technique that can accomplish anything the work asks without calling undue attention to itself. These qualities allow him to lean into the work's powerful drama and aching lyricism without dividing his attention. The commanding Fischer leads the rich-toned Budapest Festival Orchestra in an accompaniment as musically interesting and dramatically significant as the solo part.
"However, in contrast to Abbado's boring Berliners, Fischer's orchestra plays better, and he's much better recorded. Just listen to the characterful brass in the coda of the first movement, with a particularly fine first trumpet, or the splendid woodwinds in the trios of the scherzo. (…) for a legitimate alternative viewpoint you will find it difficult to do better than this." ~classicstoday
Mozart’s final opera Die Zauberflöte is also his most famous. The general public is familiar with its array of popular arias, most notably the Queen of the Night’s breathtaking coloratura. Since its premiere in 1791, two months before the composer’s death, the opera’s fairy tale plot, eccentric cast and fantastic scenery have exerted an almost childlike fascination on generations of audiences. The production is infused with an all-pervading sense of playful joy – packed with wonderful effects including flying machines, colourful costumes and magical scene changes…
We've had a "Summer of Love" Così with Ferrando sporting a Che Guevara t-shirt, and one set in "Despina's Diner" by the sea. This one, as staged at the Glyndebourne Festival during the summer of 2006, is comfortingly traditional. Comfortingly? A poor choice of words, because Così is never quite comforting (if you do it right!). Even if the sets and the costumes are strictly according to Hoyle, as they are here, Mozart's dramma giocosa should leave you feeling vaguely unsettled when the final curtain comes down. As conductor Iván Fischer reminds us during one of the bonus features here, almost everyone can be seduced…Raymond Tuttle
Ivan Fischer’s latest Budapest Festival bull’s-eye realizes the full breadth of Liszt’s vision, focusing to near-perfection Faust’s anguish (starting with the Allegro impetuoso at 2'28''), Gretchen’s tender modulations (try from 3'38'' on track 2) and the cynical thematic transformations that keep Mephistopheles alive and kicking. It is, above all, a profoundly authentic – or should I say authentically ‘lived’ – production, consistently animated (lightning shifts from piano to forte and back again are meticulously gauged), vividly recorded (note the tuba’s presence at 3'06'' into track 1) and with heavily scored tutti passages granted maximum impact…
For me, Fischer’s Faust Symphony is a clear front runner – more spontaneous than Rattle’s, more agile than Bernstein’s and better focused than Sinopoli’s.
Reviewed: Gramophone 4/1998
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.
Dvorák’s Violin Concerto has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts on disc, one that it entirely deserves. Its critics (starting with Joachim and Brahms) dismissed it for not adopting the usual sonata-form first movement structure, instead welding the truncated opening to the gorgeous slow movement. But really, how many violin concertos are there where you can really say that the best, most characterful and highly developed movement is the finale? And what could possibly be bad about that? Clearly Fischer and Suwanai understand where the music’s going: the performance gathers steam as it proceeds, and really cuts loose in that marvelous last movement. Suwani displays a characteristically polished technique and fine intonational ear (lending a lovely purity of utterance to the slow movement), but she’s not afraid to indulge in some “down and dirty” gypsy fiddling in the finale, or in the two Sarasate items that open the program.
A host of accomplished conductors including Daniel Harding, Daniele Gatti, Bernard Haitink and Eliahu Inbal lead the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in these performances of Mahler's Symphonies Nos. 1-10. Recorded in Amsterdam over two seasons in 2010/11, the collection also includes 'Das Lied von der Erde'.
The Beethoven symphonies: all nine of them stunning masterworks, all nine performed countless times. Be that as it may, there are conductors who can re-contextualize these symphonies in such a way that they sound completely new, as Ivan Fischer proved in 2013 and 2014 in his Beethoven Series with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, spread out over two seasons. This is a veritable journey of discovery through a familiar landscape.
Mozart's genius in setting to music Da Ponte's comic play of love, infidelity and forgiveness marks Così fan tutte as one of the great works of art from the Age of Enlightenment. Nicholas Hytner's beautiful production for the Glyndebourne Festival in 2006, with its sure touch and theatrical know-how, lives up to its promise to be 'shockingly traditional', while Iván Fischer teases artful performances from an outstanding international cast of convincing young lovers.