Budapest Festival Orchestra
December 20, 2017

Phenomenal triumphal march

The Budapest Festival Orchestra concluded this year with a phenomenal triumphal march. The Times, The New York Times and the British Gramophone magazine all included the BFO’s rendition of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in their year-end lists of best recordings. On top of all these, the CD got the special prize of the 55th Record Academy Awards 2017, held by the japanese Record Geijutsu Magazine. The Hungarian Gramofon magazine commended two Festival Orchestra albums.

The New York Times named the recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, performed by Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, one of the 25 best classical music albums. “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”, he added.

The Times did not focus exclusively on classical music recordings when selecting this year’s favourites. Nonetheless, British critics found it clear that the top 100 albums of 2017 should 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 the British Gramophone magazine’s reviewers. 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”.

Some good news arrived in January from Japan as well. The outstanding recording got the special prize of the 55th Record Academy Awards 2017, held by the japanese Record Geijutsu Magazine. Accroding to the critical review of Kazuo Kanzaki, this CD is a "cutting edge of today’s orchestral recording: expansive soundstage with a rich feel of timbre".  "Channel Classics’ secure recording of Mahler’s Symphony No.3 performed by Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra presents an expansive and deep soundstage, full of lucidity, while precisely capturing subtle expressions of each orchestral part."

The recording is not just considered a great hit abroad. The Hungarian Gramofon magazine’s reviewers also lauded the Festival Orchestra’s CDs of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 and Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances in addition to the Mahler recording.

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.

The Budapest Festival Orchestra will next play Mahler in May: Iván Fischer will conduct the Resurrection Symphony at Müpa Budapest.