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Symphony No. 5 (sacd,plays on all cd players) Hybrid SACD


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Frequently Bought Together

Symphony No. 5 (sacd,plays on all cd players) + Mahler: Symphony No.6 'Tragic' [Jonathan Nott, Bamberger Symphoniker] [Tudor: SACD 7191] + Mahler: Symphony No.8 [Jonathan Nott, Bamberger Symphoniker] [Tudor: SACD 7192]
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Product details

  • Conductor: Ivan Fischer
  • Composer: Mahler
  • Audio CD (18 Nov. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD
  • Label: Channel Classics
  • ASIN: B00FAY6IZM
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,988 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Trauermarsch
2. Stürmisch Bewegt
3. Scherzo
4. Adagietto
5. Rondo-finale. Allegro

Product Description

Product Description

After the highly acclaimed recordings of Mahler Symphonies no.1,2,4 and 6 Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra now recorded the Fifth Sympony with its famous Adagietto in F major for strings and harp - one of the most intimate pieces that Mahler ever wrote for the orchestra.According to Fischer the Fifth is the most Jewish of all Mahler's symphonies.The first movement takes us to the unmistakable mood of Jewish lamentation,the finale to the childlike vision of messianic joy.

Review

Mahler's Fifth Symphony (1902), sometimes compared with Beethoven's own of that number, begins with a sombre roar of fate and ends in triumph. After the opening trumpet cry, strings take over in muffled funereal gloom, setting the mood for the enormous five-movement work, the fourth of which is the celebrated Adagietto for strings and harp. Having recorded symphonies 1, 2, 4 and 6 to high praise, the great partnership of Iván Fischer and his Budapest players make music of supreme intimacy and vitality. They endow the work with a poise and lyricism too often sacrificed in favour of frenzied intensity. Abbado, Rattle, Bernstein, Chailly: you're spoilt for choice in this much recorded work. This might yet prove a favourite. The Observer --The Observer

Iván Fischer s Mahler Five with his Budapest Festival Orchestra lacks Zander s majesty, but offers playing of greater character. In a note Fischer declares the Fifth the most Jewish of the set: something we certainly sense in the rise and fall of Fischer s phrasings and the rhythms idiomatic snap. The warmth of the recorded sound spreads a faint blur over textures, which stops the symphony s drama becoming really lacerating. But gains arrive in the instrumental beauties, especially from the horns. Then there s the heartbreaking adagietto, performed with the fragile poise of musicians stepping over something very precious. Which they are. All in all, both these new Mahler releases can be welcomed into the fold. The Times --The Times

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Roy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been following this cycle since it started and have found that each issue simply gets better and better. Fischer and the Budapest Festival breathe new life into a work that has, let's face it, become a bit of a warhorse of the repertoire. I've listened to it twice since it popped through my door this morning and I've listened at a very 'realistic' volume! ( I'm on holiday this week and the neighbours are all at work!) The detail is very good indeed and, yes, it fulfils my acid test of revealing aspects of the work I've not noticed before. The bass line is very resonant and has my sub-woofer purring away nicely as indeed do my Quad ESL 63's in response to the many layered aspects of Mahler's complex score.

It's tricky to talk about 'tempi' with regard to Mahler, since there is hardly ever a phrase without some detail of movement prescribed and any misjudgement on the part of the conductor can have a knock-on effect further down the page. Fischer gets all the required effects without falling into traps that the less wary can. This is amply demonstrated in the Adagietto where Fischer doesn't use the 'sehr langsam' instruction as an invitation to wallow. (I was going to write 'a la Bernstein. But he could pull it off!)

All in all, a wonderful addition to the artist's discography as well as the unstoppable force of Mahler symphony recordings. Just superb.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. S. CROWE TOP 500 REVIEWER on 28 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
While I have nothing but unbridled admiration for the playing of The Budapest Festival Orchestra, which has all the attributes of a chamber ensemble in that there is a luminous transparency to the sound creating a real impression of the musicians listening and relating to each other, my appreciation of their excursions into the music of Mahler under Maestro Ivan Fischer has been variable to put it mildly, ranging from total for their glorious rendering of the Fourth Symphony, through to none for their ill-thought, poorly structured misfire of a Sixth, one of the few Mahler recordings I actively dislike.
In between there is a dull underpowered Second, and an eccentric First whose square rhythms and sluggish tempi in the First Movement, and extraordinary extended central Andante section of the finale which all but ceases to be music offset the brilliant playing and bravura performance of the rest of the work-not for me I'm afraid.

I was trepidatious when I saw the 5th announced with a publicity blurb in which Maestro Fischer declared that this was the most Jewish of all Mahler's symphonies. I feared that we might have something approaching the pastiches by Uri Cain and his ensemble.
Maestro Fischer does qualify this in a brief touching personal memoir in the accompanying booklet, though I still don't think that this supports his assertion.
However, frankly I don't care. I don't listen to Mahler analysing the various influences, nor am I bothered by the "borrowings "from other composers, most notably Hans Rott, Liszt, Brahms and Wagner. I just want the performance to be convincing from whatever standpoint the conductor approaches it-thus I love Bernstein's VPO performance equally with Karajan's more classical approach with the BPO to name but two.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cdcollector on 27 Nov. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have never encountered a Mahlerrecording so lame and so lacking in vision. The second movement is a good example for this. The Orchestra plays great, the performance lacks bite, vision and desperation and have nothing to do with Mahlers World as I see it. As an admirer of this ensemble and conductor, I am puzzled over this low-mark of reading of a major Classic. This is absolutely a recording to pass. Listen to Barbirolli, Karajan, Haitink and above all Bernstein in Vienna instead for the real thing!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A sterling Fifth that is one of the strongest installments in Fischer's ongoing Mahler cycle 15 Dec. 2013
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
With most critics, especially in the UK, Ivan Fischer's Mahler has gone down well. The reasons aren't mysterious. The ocnducting is flowing and natural, the playing fine (if not world class), and the recorded sound pure and transparent. Those same qualities are in evidence here, but so far the two lead reviewers haven't been impressed by the overall result. I'm in the position, then, of a leopard changing its spots - I haven't been much moved by the earlier installments in Fischer's ongoing Mahler cycle, but this new Fifth is splendid in every way.

To begin with, as in Fischer's account of the First Sym., the music-making feels fresh, and the conductor's rapport with his musicians is complete, resulting in a vibrant connection that awakens every bar of the score. There's no dull, routine playing or a display of faked, inflated emotion. Fischer is naturally a lyrical interpreter of Mahler, and in the first movement the Trauermarsch isn't played for tragedy (as it isn't by Boulez, either). Some listeners may consider this a fault, and generally speaking I would, too, but Fischer's more dynamic approach is appealing for its excitement. As in all his Mahler recordings to date, the phrasing is supple without exaggeration, another plus in a symphony where the first three movements are marked by a prevailing sense of push-pull that can easily be overdone.

The tragic first movement gives way, amazingly, to a second that is even more turbulent and all but cataclysmic. Here's an instance where I can understand Mahler's original audiences being baffled and disoriented. Bernstein and Abbado set out on a wild rise, but Fischer is more self-contained. He relies on his strengths at phrasing, balance, and detail to make their effect here, and they do. One is aware of the intricate busyness of Mahler's entangled woodwind writing, for example, and the mood evokes unexpected poignancy. Such complete immersion is rare and very welcome.

In decades past, audiences were stunned by Solti's all-out assault on the Scherzo, with the Chicago brass lifting the roof but at the same time leaving little room for wit and grace. Fischer brings out the dance rhythms and the Viennese sway, almost to the point of schmaltz. He gives the music a swoony, loosey-goosey effect that works. It's also off the beaten track for him to begin the Adagietto at several dynamic markings louder than the score indicates, creating a mood not of hushed romance or mystery but direct, songful emotion. This is in keeping with the directness of the entire reading.

Then we get to the very tricky finale, where many feel a letdown in Mahler's inspiration. Even in the best of hands this movement feels impersonal, cluttered with counterpoint and noodling that has no emotional core. Quite a number of recordings get by on virtuosic woodwind and brass playing Rattle and the Berliners on EMI, for example). Fischer doesn't try very hard to dress up the music but plays it in a straight-ahead fashion that isn't quite enough to convince me - it's the only weak part of an otherwise superb, totally engrossing performance.
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Exquisite playing and a fabulous recording do not a great performance make-certainly not in this case! 10 Dec. 2013
By D. S. CROWE - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
While I have nothing but unbridled admiration for the playing of The Budapest Festival Orchestra, which has all the attributes of a chamber ensemble in that there is a luminous transparency to the sound creating a real impression of the musicians listening and relating to each other, my appreciation of their excursions into the music of Mahler under Maestro Ivan Fischer has been variable to put it mildly, ranging from total for their glorious rendering of the Fourth Symphony, through to none for their ill-thought, poorly structured misfire of a Sixth, one of the few Mahler recordings I actively dislike.
In between there is a dull underpowered Second, and an eccentric First whose square rhythms and sluggish tempi in the First Movement, and extraordinary extended central Andante section of the finale which all but ceases to be music offset the brilliant playing and bravura performance of the rest of the work-not for me I'm afraid.

I was trepidatious when I saw the 5th announced with a publicity blurb in which Maestro Fischer declared that this was the most Jewish of all Mahler's symphonies. I feared that we might have something approaching the pastiches by Uri Cain and his ensemble.
Maestro Fischer does qualify this in a brief touching personal memoir in the accompanying booklet, though I still don't think that this supports his assertion.
However, frankly I don't care. I don't listen to Mahler analysing the various influences, nor am I bothered by the "borrowings "from other composers, most notably Hans Rott, Liszt, Brahms and Wagner. I just want the performance to be convincing from whatever standpoint the conductor approaches it-thus I love Bernstein's VPO performance equally with Karajan's more classical approach with the BPO to name but two.
In the event, this performance is exquisitely played-I cannot stress this enough-and the recording is stunning in stereo and even more so in SACD-and there is none of the exaggeration I feared, in fact I almost wish there were!

This performance, for all its beauty, is for the most part routine, and in many sections outright dull.
This is entirely down to the pedestrian tempi and slack rhythm adopted by the conductor.
The work opens promisingly, with wonderful trumpet work in a movement where the balancing in this performance almost converts it into a concerto for that instrument. The opening funeral march is excellent, but midway through begins to lose dramatic impetus.

The second movement opens entirely devoid of the "extreme vehemence" specified by Mahler, and limps along as a continuation of the flaccid threnody in this performance that completes the opening movement, but without any of the spitting white heat that this movement should generate. Around 4 minutes from the end there is a section which should raise the hairs and bring a lump to the throat-when the trumpet enters in the major key to thwart the overwhelming morass of Fate which is consuming the protagonist!
Here it just emerges as the next notes on the page, very matter of fact and missing entirely the breathtaking effect this passage can and should have.

The third movement lopes along amiably enough at a moderate tempo, and is certainly fabulously played in the tempestuous sections, but the conductor seems to think that playing louder is enough to enhance the musical argument.
The 4th movement is sublime, and Fischer does not make the mistake of Barbirolli in imbuing it with so much emotional punch that finale that follows become pure bathos.

The finale itself unfolds at again a moderate tempo, almost careful, and while plenty of detail is revealed, I began to feel bored by it-not what I want or expect from this great work!

I fully appreciate that there will be a phalanx of listeners for whom the sheer beauty of the recorded sound will be more than enough to compensate for what I hear as its deficiencies in interpretation, and to those I commend this recording with 5 Stars.
For those who want greater insights, greater emotional and dramatic impact from the work itself, I counsel caution. I wouldn't buy it again, let's put it that way, no matter how spectacular the sonics are!

The aforementioned Bernstein, Karajan (not everyone's choice but I've never heard a better finale), Maazel with the VPO, Abbado BPO, Tennstedt (live) and for those prepared to forage, there is an absolutely stunning Jansons BRSO recording from BR Klassik only ever released in Germany all make better choices, and if SACD is a prerequisite Jansons with the RCO is not as gripping as in his Munich recording, but is still superb and in sound every bit as resplendent as this recording.
A cautious 3 stars for this recording. Stewart Crowek

Comment Comment
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
7 out of 10 stars. Great sound but soft performance. 14 Mar. 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
As another reviewer here put it so succinctly, great sound does not a great performance make. Too bad, because Fischer gets off to a good start with the first movement where he brings out the parodistic, almost humorous features of Mahler's faux-funeral march. Perhaps that's what Fischer meant when saying that the fifth is Mahler's most 'Jewish' symphony. He should have also stated that it's Mahler's most Lehar like as well, as Fischer makes a delectable Viennese meal out of the various trio sections in the scherzo movement (third). There's plenty of rubati (speeding up and slowing down) and lots of scoops (portimenti) in the upper strings. Good stuff! But the problem with Fischer's fifth is that it's a darkness-to-light traversal in which there's no darkness!

The second movement - as pointed out by other reviewers - is completely lacking in intensity and good-old German 'sturm und drang' (storm and stress). It just ain't there. There's lots of beautiful, very together playing and not much more. That's a shame because the more introspective moments of the nearly 20 minute long scherzo are exquisitely done. The last two movements are also really well done, and invite in lots of sunlight along the way. But what's the point of sunshine and a big, victorious sounding chorale if there was so little adversity to begin with?

Fischer's Mahler recordings have all been very good - if not great - up to this point. I agree with another reviewer that the strongest ones are symphonies two and four, with the first symphony trailing close behind. But this fifth is a straggler, I'm afraid to say. There's simply too much really solid competition. Listen to Sinopoli/Philharmonia (DG) if you want to hear just a knock-out second movement, as well as an equally rousing finale. Too bad the sound isn't better on the Sinopoli. If you can afford it, get the Manfred Honeck/Pittsburgh Symphony M5 on the Japanese Exton label. If not, I'd stick to the tried-and-true Karajan and Barbirolli ones.
Works for me! 8 Feb. 2015
By P ski - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
An odd sense of calm pervades this performance, but gladly not at the expense of drama and pathos. This essentially restrained approach brings out much detail, while never straying far from this works' dark essential core. Fischer is a great storyteller in Mahler, with symphonies 1, 4 & 6 also good examples. I eagerly look forward to 7 & 9. Recommended!
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Complete misfire 28 Dec. 2013
By R.D. Monsoon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I need another Mahler 5 like I need a hole in my head, but I've been buying Ivan Fischer's Mahler cycle (admittedly) because the sound quality of Channel Classics' surround sound recordings are phenomenal, and Ivan Fischer tends to do pretty good work. Of the recordings released so far, I'd rate 2 & 4 the best (individualistic and refreshing), 1 as very good (no new ideas, but an extremely strong performance), and 6 as rather ho-hum. Unfortunately, this 5th is a low point for Fischer.

If there was ever a performance I'd write-off as simply dull and boring, this is it. Fischer seems so concerned in having the orchestra sound as beautiful as possible -- and they are exquisite -- that little attention is actually paid to the score. Everything just plods along slowly with little thought. Case and point would be the second movement, which is anything but "moving stormily, with the greatest vehemence." Listen to any decent performance of the 5th, and the conductors will always push the brass to the front, especially the dotted rhythms where they sound like machine gun fire, and when they are muted or hand-stopped, waling out coarse sounds over the orchestra. But here, the brass sits quietly and politely in the back, never making too much of a raucous.

The whole performances suffers from this even-keeled approach -- it's in the tempo, the phrasing and the balance.

I don't expect new recordings to surpass everything that came before them -- and rate them that way. Fischer's Mahler 1 certainly didn't do that, but it was well executed enough that I've enjoyed listening to it many times. I doubt I'm ever going to revisit this recording.
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