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We spoke to music director Iván Fischer on the maturity of symphonies, the cult of Mahler and his own compositions in connection with the autumn tour of the Budapest Festival Orchestra from Paris to Warsaw.

- During September there was a particularly strong emphasis placed on Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. After the Budapest Mahler Festival it was played first at the Edinburgh Festival and then recorded. What are the factors which influence the maturity of a symphony?

- Some fruits ripen very quickly, while others need more time, and that’s before we take the weather conditions into account. The maturing of a piece of music for an orchestra can also depend on a similarly high number of factors. Symphony No. 5 is an extremely complex work. It was created at a time when Mahler essentially changed his entire style of composition, and began composing much more complex pieces of music. This is why I would classify this as a slowly maturing fruit. It is a late-season, typically September fruit, and it was great for us that we were able to play it for several audiences at home and abroad, and made a recording of it too, because you could feel the softness and the flavour of it, just like in a mature fruit.

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