BBC Radio 3: a transcription of Andrew McGregor's positive comments on CD Review
… Bruckner’s 7th Symphony from the Budapest Festival Orchestra conducted by Ivan Fischer. He calls Bruckner the guru among composers…the purest and most capable of religious ecstasy. If you’re familiar with Fischer and his orchestra’s Mahler recordings, you’ll be delighted by the spacious nobility of the sound at the start of the symphony, the plasticity of the phrasing, the dynamic control as Fischer keeps the tempo flowing…it feels fresh, and alive. But you have to hear the slow second movement, Bruckner’s Adagio, which he marked Sehr feierlich und sehr langsam – very solemnly and very slow… [01.08]
…yes, that’s the Adagio second movement from Bruckner’s 7th Symphony, with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra taking considerable liberties with what’s normally considered ‘solemn and slow’ in Bruckner…! Fischer’s making a point: it doesn’t have to be funereal, trapped in a marble sarcophagus…and the sense of rediscovery continues from the 1st movement, but is it at the expense of some of that timeless grandeur…? The Scherzo on the other hand is wonderfully athletic…let’s hear the end of the movement.
The end of the Scherzo from Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7, with the Budapest Festival Orchestra driving it to the finish with muscular joy…there’s a lightness and buoyancy to this reading that’s genuinely exciting, and the Finale delivers with a sense of ecstatic fulfilment. If you’ve heard one too many long, portentous Bruckner 7s then this is a breath of Alpine freshness, just as long as that brisk Adagio isn’t a step too far for you. The recording, by the way, is superb…rich, airy, detailed, dynamically impressive with no sense of strain…and you could say exactly the same of the playing…and you can hear Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra live when they return together to the BBC Proms – two concerts on 35th and 26th August, live here on BBC Radio 3…