This year, the Budapest Festival Orchestra was among the recipients of the coveted Opus Klassik award, replacing the ECHO Klassik award. The ensemble earned the exceptional honour with its recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3.
This year, Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, as well as Dénes Várjon and Jörg Widmann - who both regularly perform with the orchestra - each received the prestigious Opus Klassik award for one of their recordings.
This time, the Festival Orchestra earned this exceptional honour with Mahler’s Symphony No. 3; and this is not the first award the recording has received. The album made the top of the 2017 charts in The Times, the New York Times and the British Gramophone magazine, and was also awarded a special prize by the Japanese magazine Record Geijutsu in January.
The New York Times named the recording one of the 25 best classical music albums of the year. “Every moment of this recording is fresh and insightful, traits we have now come to expect from Mr. Fischer”, wrote critic David Allen of the Festival Orchestra’s album. “But it is the finale, Mahler’s ode to love, that pulls at the memory — a miracle of phrasing; a quiet wonder of string tone and balance; a paean to a devotion tender, fragile and deep.”
The Times did not focus exclusively on classical music recordings when selecting this year’s favourites. Nonetheless, British critics thought it clear that the top 100 albums of 2017 were to include the Mahler recording by the Festival Orchestra. According to the paper’s brief explanation, Iván Fischer and the BFO gave “a most eloquent and immersive performance” of the piece.
The recording also won the hearts of reviewers for the British magazine Gramophone. David Gutman wrote, “Iván Fischer’s latest Mahlerian offering is outstanding. He is a fine musician with novel ideas and a terrific, ever-eager orchestra.” The critic was most impressed by the “glorious, deep-focus fidelity of the recorded sound”.
January also brought good news from Japan, where the magazine Record Geijutsu bestowed on the recording the 55th Record Academy Award special prize. The critic Kauzo Kanzaki described the album as a “peak performance” whose sound is “deep, sincere and pure”.
Contributors to the Mahler recording include Gerhild Romberger (alto), the Cantemus Children’s Choir of Nyíregyháza and the Bavarian Radio Choir (Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks). The CD has been released by Channel Classics. Conductor: Iván Fischer