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Symphony No.1 in D minor, Titan [Hybrid SACD]

Budapest Festival Orchestra , Mahler , Iván Fischer Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £14.72 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Symphony No.1 in D minor, Titan + Mahler - Symphony No 2 + Mahler - Symphony No.6
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Product details

  • Conductor: Iván Fischer
  • Composer: Mahler
  • Audio CD (20 Aug 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Channel Classics
  • ASIN: B008975XDU
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 126,869 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 1 in D Major - Titan: Langsam. Schleppend. - Immer gemächlich16:34Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 1 in D Major - Titan: Kräftig bewegt, doch nicht zu schnell 8:09£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Symphony No. 1 in D Major - Titan: Feierlich und gemessen, ohne zu schleppen10:44Album Only
Listen  4. Symphony No. 1 in D Major - Titan: Stürmisch bewegt20:13Album Only

Product Description


Right from the beginning, Fischer combs through every nuance in Mahler's score, his brilliant rendering of orchestral sonorities - both individually and blended - deftly recorded by Channel. The first movement alone confirms Fischer's growing credentials as a major Mahler interpreter...Though this performance has much to offer - poise, intensity, dignity - we shouldn't lose sense of what it is not: impulsive, folk-like, impetuous. --Gramophone - Sept 2012

Fischer's exhilarating recording of Mahler's First with the Budapest Festival Orchestra dispels the sick-room air that hung inevitably over last year's centenary commemorations... the closing peroration is spine-tingling. --The Independent on Sunday - Aug 2012

Immediately gripping and very special...The playing is lean and clean, not quite stylish but brilliantly transparent, as if the conductor is shining a strong torchlight on every corner of the score. Sometimes the performance lacks rhythmic lift, but the galvanising climaxes of the first and last movements are thrilling. --The Observer - Aug 2012

About the Artist

In the past decade Iván Fischer has emerged as one of the most distinctive Mahler conductors, with the Budapest festival Orchestra through his recordings of symphonies 2, 4 & 6, and astonishing live performances of No.3. All of his Mahler recordings for Channel Classics have been critically praised and No.2 won the 2008 Gramophone Editor's Choice Award.

Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rejoicing in Extremes 17 Sep 2012
By Entartete Musik TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Iván Fischer's Mahler 1 would be thrilling on just an average day. But after Marin Alsop's oddly flaccid account with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, just out on Naxos, the Budapest Festival Orchestra's new recording is a veritable riot. As at the Proms last year, some of Fischer's choices remain mannered, yet he and his players deliver thrills and spills aplenty.

The wayside gamble of the first movement has a loucher gait than many of Fischer's competitors, but he invests this evocation of the natural world with real buoyancy. Charting a vast dynamic range, not a note is left unturned. High points are over-emphasised, but it's all part and parcel of a symphony that seems to photosynthesise before our very ears. The Ländler is similarly feral, with its hunting-cum-Rosenkavalier horns teeing up a deliciously sensual waltz. Clearly Fischer rejoices in extremes.

Such contrasts become schizophrenic in the funeral march, where a desolate opening turns decidedly caustic. Balmy Budapest strings scatter portamento over the cortège, before pungent Klezmer clarinets take over the mourning duties. Playing on that bipolarity yet further, Fischer answers his languid opening movement with a savage finale. Strident, with bite to the brass and ferocious attacks at the heel of the bow, the symphony builds to a dynamic conclusion. Fischer's choice to delay the penultimate climax may irritate some, but the fanfares that follow will blind any listener.

After Alsop and Chung's recent unassertive performances, this recording is dizzyingly fresh. Fischer is an interventionist and, for that reason, this recording may not attain an award-winning benchmark spot. But for sheer theatrical guts and gall, this is unbeatable stuff.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure it is for me. 28 Nov 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have acquired numerous Mahler recordings over the years and I was attracted to this recording, and of Nos. 2, 4 and 6, as they are SACD issues and which I would anticipate being beneficial in the wide dynamic range that one finds in Mahler's symphonies.

I've yet to audition the other three symphonies, but I should first get one thing out of the way regarding this symphony: it is beautifully recorded, even the CD layer of the disc benefits, and the dynamics are handled with aplomb and the acoustics of the hall come across clearly. For its audio quality, I would award it 5 Stars, easily. However, for me, there are certain aspects of the performance that just rob it of a full five stars.

Unfortunately, the interpretation got off to a bad start almost from the off, and I confess that this put me in a frame of mind that I wasn't going to enjoy the performance and this, little by little, kept being reinforced at various stages throughout the performance where Fischer makes an effect, seemingly to distance himself from other conductors. Early in the first movement, for example, at the point where Mahler scored beautiful bird calls in the winds, Fischer lingers far too long seemingly admiring the sounds and sights of nature, forgetting that he should be moving on. This will be one of those idiosyncratic interpretations that you will either enjoy or find irritating. For me, it is the latter.

But as an admirer of the old school of Mahler conductors, including Bruno Walter and his 1959 NYPO recording of this work, I find Fischer's view of Mahler's sound world is certainly different. It is Mahler, but is it echt Mahler?

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of things to enjoy in this recording and maybe it will grow on me in time.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Playing But it Doesn't Quite Add Up. 23 Dec 2013
By Mr. A. R. Boyes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:MP3 Download|Verified Purchase
I've always enjoyed Ivan Fischer's thoughtful approach to Mahler, aided as ever by excellent sound and fine playing but this version of the First sounds a little too mannered for me with the symphonic line being lost, particularly in the first movement. In fairness, the First isn't the most well balanced of the set with the rousing finale at odds with the more modest dimensions of the previous movements. Even so, as interpretations go this is well behind the leaders, my favourite being Kubelik on Audite. Don't get me wrong, this still sounds wonderful but there's better to be had.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clear, vivid sonics, but Fischer isn't keen on drama 25 Sep 2012
By Andrew R. Barnard - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Reviewers are praising this new Mahler 1st mostly for its wonderful sound, it seems. It's easy to see why. Channel Classics' sound is warm and vibrant, with natural detail that lets every gesture come alive. I wish every Mahler recording had this kind of sound. Yet reading the reviews I worried that the reviewers found Channel Classics to be more praiseworthy than Ivan Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra.

The lead reviewer speaks positively of Fischer's "no-nonsense, straightforward" conducting. I'm not sure this is a blessing, but the reviewer certainly nails the description. Fischer isn't out to make a big statement or burn the house down. He prefers cozy, warm-sounding Mahler that puts elegance ahead of emotional impact. There's none of the personal involvement that Abbado, Bernstein, and Tennstedt incorporated into this masterpiece. Some listeners seem to prefer the missing dramatic flow, but I'm not among them. But to be fair, Fischer finds more interest than Gergiev on his LSO Live release (strange given the high level of the rest of Gergiev's cycle) and someone had to create the well-balanced orchestral playing before the engineers arrived.

Actually, I believe Fischer's Mahlerian ideals are purposely anti-sentimental. He's not cold, but there's a move to transfer Mahler to a world that's less threatening and radical. He achieves his goal, but why is emotional aloofness better than all-out commitment? In the end, I don't find enough contrasts to foster enthusiasm for a second listen.

I worry that reviewers will find me a crank for being the first negative reviewer. I'm entering controversial ground: is there a place for efficient Mahler that avoids the usual flood of desperate passion? You can decide. If you answer in the affirmative, here you go. You couldn't ask for better sound and Fischer doesn't do anything "wrong" from a technical standpoint.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great sound quality and a superb finale from Fischer/B.F.O./Channel Classics 14 Sep 2012
By B. Guerrero - Published on
Format:Audio CD
When the price tag comes this high, it would be nice if Fischer and Channel Classics would include the "Songs of a Wayfarer", or at least "Blumine" (Flowers) - the original second movement to the first version of the symphony, later to be deleted by Mahler. But the when the performance and sound quality are THIS good, it's difficult to complain.

Make no mistake, there are number of very good, less expensive recordings available for ALL of the Mahler symphonies. But for anyone wanting a 'luxury' item with the optimum in sound quality, this new one with Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra has to be seriously weighed. For one thing, the balances are positively exemplary, while the acoustics in Budapest's Palace of Arts flatters every instrument in the orchestra. Hence, beautiful tone isn't sacrificed for the sake of clarity. Of course, Channel Classics deserves the lion's share of the 'kudos' for translating all that on to disc.

Fischer conducts the symphony in a fairly straight forward, no-nonsense manner. Yet he does manage to smell a few flowers along the way during the first three movements. For my taste, the climax of the slow movement - the spot where the Eastern European village band music melts back into the funeral procession for the last time - could have benefited from a tinge more irony. But the first appearance from our village musicians has plenty of bass drum and cymbals captured in the recording - something that rarely happens (and should). The Scherzo, on the other hand, sails along gallantly while its contrasting Trio section conjures up plenty of youthful sentimentality. But its the solid finale that drives this fine performance.

In fact, Fischer drives the symphony home with an unusual yet fully convincing accellerando at the very end. Thus leaving the symphony on a thrilling note (no pun intended), just as it should. In conclusion, it's truly difficult to beat this new Channel Classics issue for anyone's one and only recording of Mahler's youthful and daring first symphony.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars *** 1/2 More notable for Fischer's ideas than for overall satisfaction 26 Dec 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format:Audio CD
At this point in the history of Mahler interpretations, there's not much point to yet another recording unless the conductor has a fresh point of view. In his previous Mahler recordings, Ivan Fischer has been credited with just that - his freshness wakes up the ear, we are told. Not mine. Despite vivid sonics, his Budapest orchestra is lightweight and underpowered for the big symphonies, unless you prefer Mahler brought down in scale. I'll grant, though, that something catches the attention in each movement of this new Mahler First.

In the opening movement, the first 5 min. occur in a dream; the forest awakens softly and slowly, with the woodwinds coming close to imitating the twang of their Czech cousins in Prague. But the almost total absence of tension becomes monotonous, and although it is interesting to build this movement along the lines of several extended crescendos, the execution isn't mesmerizing enough in practice. The second movement is better, and with such a strong background in dances by Dvorak and Liszt, Fischer achieves rhythmic liveliness without stomping the ground in wooden clogs. The outer sections are fast and flashy with loud horns, the Trio slow and sleepy.

The fashion today is to play the third movement in broad strokes of caricature, exaggerating the klezmer-band episode to Borscht Belt dimensions. Fischer carries off the opening quite nicely - one can see imaginatively the procession of forest animals acting as a cortege for a fallen hunter, which was the movement's witty inspiration. I like the use of a very soft, buzzy double bass soloist. I don't think Mahler wanted this parody of a Marche funebre to sound urbane. The klezmer music is jolly and easy-going. In all, the delicacy and sly wit of this movement stand out - Fischer really is fresh and ear-opening here.

In concert the finale is a tour de force in the hands of a great orchestra, with thrilling, thunderous peaks and swooning romantic melodies in between. On records, however, it runs into the limitations of home audio. For once, I envied anyone with a honker SACD system. Channel Classics does a superb job, even in two-channel stereo, clarifying the textures and damping down the bombardment of sound. Fischer aids the engineers with a reading that is fast, alert, and not an assault. His orchestra couldn't imitate the Chicago Sym., so it's good that they aren't asked to. It's odd that Fischer finds energy to spare in this movement when the first movement contained listless stretches. The contrasting lyrical sections are handled very sensitively, a hallmark of this conductor. But the tension flags at the end, and the overwhelming effect intended by Mahler is somewhat dampened.

The Mahler First, when all is said and done, comes close to playing itself, and there are few recordings, in my experience, that qualify as great - Bruno Walter and the NY Phil. in excellent mono sound (Sony), Rafael Kubelik either in the studio (DG) or in concert (Audite), perhaps Bernstein's second recording (DG). A sizable number of recordings are very good, even the unexpected Boulez, who isn't exactly known for his bucolic touch. Tennstedt made several tries, but for me his best is not on EMI, his home label, but on the London Phil's house label, a posthumous concert release. One can throw a rock and hit a good Mahler First recording. This one, for all its differences, doesn't quite gel.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the better Mahler Firsts in recent years. 19 Sep 2012
By Firebrand - Published on
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful, thoughtful, well played Mahler First.

The first movement is excellent, an ideal blend of mystery and vibrancy, perfectly paced (not too fast or slow), with moments of unique phrasing. Although some aspects of the orchestral play and sound are not consistent (or strangely dim on the recording) movement is as good as any, and worth the price of admission. The second movement is also very good. The energy dims just on the third and fourth movements, a slight lack of edge, and lack of bite and power.

It is a tall order, virtually impossible, to match the insight and depth of some of the legendary interpretations of past generations (Jascha Horenstein's 1970 recording with the LSO is a leading example), and this new offering is not revelatory on that caliber.

Also note that this is not even the best Mahler First from Fischer with this orchestra. They have performed the same work better than what is represented here.

But overall, this CD is good. Familiar ground is handled with polish,and a few twists along the way, making this one of the better Mahler Firsts in years. Which unfortunately is not saying much, in an era of increasingly austere, clinical, characterless, unsatisfying Mahler. None of that here. In its best moments, there is a personal quality to Fischer's interpretation, most notably on the lyrical passages, and that is welcome.

This is a thoughtful, warm, intelligent treatment handled with affection and care. Well worth hearing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fabuilous Mahler from Fischer 13 April 2013
By William Dodd - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I've delayed writing this for a while to make sure I can express a more long term attitude rather than an instant reaction. As I hear more and more of Ivan Fischer's interpretations, I am amazed by his ability to find something new in a work. But if you want the same thing done by others from Fischer and his band, look elsewhere. I have, at last count, 15 Mahler Titans. I have all the beloved ones. There isn't one in my collection that I don't thoroughly enjoy-- Including a very surprising Adrian Boult. There's Walter, Bernstein, Horenstein, Boulez, Abbado, Jansons, Zinman, Gergiev, and others. Fischer is not cold and analytical. He is not overt and excessive. What you get is a well thought out, exquisitely played Mahler 1, in a state of the art recording. You don't need an SACD player to marvel at this incredible production. I've seen jaded audiophiles and Mahlerphiles go slack-jawed in the final passages of this. I can't promise it will become your favorite M1, but it's certainly one I will never do without! Highly recommended!
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