As Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra progress through the symphonies of Johannes Brahms, one album at a time, the makings of a box set are becoming apparent. Not only has Fischer covered the First, Second, and now the Fourth, but the filler pieces have included the Variations on a Theme of Haydn, the Tragic Overture, the Academic Festival Overture, and assorted Hungarian Dances, giving this series the required selections for a deluxe reissue.
Like the earlier recordings, the Fourth is expertly played in a mainstream interpretation, and the sound of the orchestra is rich and vibrant, sure to attract listeners who like their Brahms to have a traditional feeling. Fischer clearly communicates the intellectual and emotional sides of the symphony, and he inspires the orchestra to play with transparent textures, crisp details, and passionate intensity, producing an ideal combination. The sound of this hybrid SACD is superb, and Channel Classics' multichannel recording gives the orchestra credible presence and plenty of room to breathe. Highly recommended.