Budapest Festival Orchestra
Press reviews September 22, 2015

Parallels at Infinity

Wolf and Mahler were two composers with much in common regarding their artistic choices and ways of thinking, yet they seldom meet - at least not on concert programmes. However their paths did cross recently thanks to Iván Fischer and the Festival Orchestra. From KRISTÓF CSENGERY’s review.

[…] In five-movements, the symmetrical grand structure of the Seventh emerged with formidable architectonics from under Iván Fischer’s baton, with the two monumental cornerstone movements around an inner shell of two Nachtmusik movements (in the second of which Mahler immediately evokes the genre of the serenade through a mandolin and a guitar), and the middle Scherzo. As with any true Mahler symphony performance, this one consistently gave the listener an insight into the universal nature of character and drama. And as we expect when listening to a genuine recital of a Mahler symphony, we found ourselves immersed in the kaleidoscope of orchestral tones as much as in the gentle heaving of tempo changes that provide the thrilling narrative dramaturgy, taking us over the peaks and troughs of the richly impulsive and sensual paths as they lead us there. And has been proven many times before, tonight Iván Fischer lived up to his reputation as a devoted and true conductor of Mahler. His Festival Orchestra, which played with such high intensity and virtuosic refinement, is one of the European ensembles that speak Mahler’s language like a native. The strength and weight that went into the first movement, combined with its character’s bitter-tragic mix of sound were a joy to hear. This interpretation vividly showcased the modernism of the movement’s melodies and harmonies as they turn away from the traditional ideal of beauty. Among the night’s highlights were the strange refractions of the first Nachtmusik, the sharp marching rhythms that transform into a Berlioz-like ‘Scene in the Fields’, the naturalistic atmosphere and the mysterious echoes. [...]