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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Music Less Melodrama, 11 Jun. 2012
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xxsfgsvs "asdargthh" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mahler - Symphony No.6 (Audio CD)
I am a big admirer of Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra. Together they've made many fine recordings. One of Fischer's great qualities is how he draws attention to the music rather than his ideas or ego: Bernstein or Tennschtedt this is not. The orchestra never sound less than world class and in tune with Fischer's approach.

In an interview about the Sixth he pointed out that Mahler finally decided to place the Andante second and removed the final tam tam bash in th finale hammer blow. Fischer stuck with this version and I had serious reservations having enjoyed the drama in other versions. I shouldn't have worried: yes it now sounds simply like a sudden change of mood but the final orchestral tutti is terrifying.

The remarkable acoustics of their Concert Hall and the excellent sound engineering on this recording very much help. Not a single note is false or lost along the way. This is an astonishingly transparent recording despite all the clutter and conflict that is to be found in Mahler's incredible score.

With Fischer's usual mind set being to avoid histrionics, melodrama or exaggerated egocentric interpretation you could expect a performance that concentrates on the music alone. The opeingnig movement has the right blend of urgency and weight. The scherzo is switched to being the third movement - apparently in line with Mahler's intentions but is still shrill and shocking, especially coming after the peace of the andante. The beautiful slow movement moves at quite a pace but still sounds unhurried, sounding almost Mozartian for much of the way. The epic finale really does make sense even though I feel like I'm having to learn it afresh: all the musical arguments come across with great coherence but not through lingering to make a point: this is a taut performance as well as being detailed.

Like Bartok's quartets, this interpretation reflects the more mature approach to the music. The Quartets are less likely to be attacked by the players now with the dissonance and rhythmic dynamism toned down to something nearer what the composer finally intended. If the orchestra doesn't jar as much as in many other recordings it's down to two things: firstly they play superbly and secondly Fischer handles rhythmic subtelty and complex inflexations with ease. In other words: it's a terrific performance that concentrates your ears tot he music rather than the extra musical.

Personally, I felt short changed by the removed tam tam in the finale innitially but I'm happy to learn this work afresh. Mahler's original conception of the finale was for five hammer blows! For musical reasons he cut that down: he chose to cut the melodrama so maybe Fischer approach might have met with his approval: who knows? Whatever your conception of this and any other Mahler symphony, you can feel sure that Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra will give intelligent, beautifully played and recorded sound so it'll never be short of being a fine recording.
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Mahler - Symphony No.6
Mahler - Symphony No.6 by Gustav Mahler (Audio CD - 2011)
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