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Mahler Symphony No.5.

Budapest Festival Orchestra; Ivan Fischer, conductor, Channel Classics (nj.com, by Ronni Reich)

Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra are one of the most reliable pairings out there when it comes to performances that produce in-your-face intensity as well as nuance and polish. Their take on Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 is no exception. Fischer leads an expressive rendition, with depth and unity of sound, from passages that whirl like a fierce wind to those that sing tenderly. The work opens on a strong note with a confident, deliberate fanfare and huge, glorious crashes of sound before the atmosphere darkens, with elegiac strings and ripping brass. The biting entrance to the second movement builds to a high point of fervent, ringing, full orchestral clamor. At the same time, the performance is disciplined, and the BFO musicians play with consummate skill and ferocity. Fischer maintains a clear sense of structure throughout as character shifts dramatically. Worth waiting for in any decent rendering of the symphony, the “Adagettio” receives a beautifully sustained, savored performance, with warm tones and sensitive, pliant phrasing.