Conductor Iván Fischer, a nominee for the 2008 Classic FM Gramophone Award for Artist of the Year, co-founder and Music Director of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, has been responsible for creating a vibrant orchestra with an enviable international touring profile which appears at all the major venues and festivals of the world. As a guest conductor Fischer works with the finest symphony orchestras of the world. He has been invited to the Berlin Philharmonic more than ten times, every year he leads two weeks of programs with the Royal Concert-Gebouw Orchestra. Besides his contract with the NSO of Washington, he works regularly with leading US symphony orchestras, including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra.
The sleeve-notes for Ivan Fischer's new recording of Mahler's Fourth contain a statement by Fischer that initially makes one's heart sink. Culminating in a 'lovely vision of paradise', the symphony, Fischer argues, shows Mahler taking us 'to his own inner child, to his dreams of angels, fairytales, angst and pure divine love'. Concerns that we're in for an hour of unremitting sentimentality are mercifully unfounded. Childhood, in Mahler, is viewed as both an idealised lost Eden and a place of primal trauma - and Fischer is as interested in the abysses that threaten to open round this music as he is in its surface calm. The combination of naive excitement and indefinable menace is strikingly sustained throughout, while the final vision of paradise, coolly voiced by Miah Persson, is at once funny, savage and unbearably sad. Fischer's insistence that the symphony should be treated as chamber music means this won't appeal to those who like a high-decibel count in Mahler, but the Budapest Festival Orchestra's playing is exceptional in its dark-hued subtlety. It's a provocative, iconoclastic performance, and highly recommended. Tim Ashley - Friday 13 March 09 Tim Ashley --The Guardian - 5 out of 5 stars
About the Artist
'There is a unique purity and transparency in Mahler's 4th Symphony. The enchanting slay bells take us to his inner child, to his dreams of angels, fairy tales, angst and pure, divine love. This child-like symphony needed a different orchestra: no dark tuba, no heavy trombones, no large arsenal of massive brass. A chamber orchestra in fact, where the clarinets act as mock trumpets, the solo violin tunes his strings sharper in order to scare us and the lightness of the whole orchestra lifts us up to his lovely, childish vision of paradise'. Iván Fischer