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Schubert: Symphony No. 9 / Five German Dances Hybrid SACD - DSD

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, June 14, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The partnership between Iván Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra has proved to be one of the greatest success stories in classical music. On their latest recording for Channel Classics, these great artists present a new perspective on Schubert s powerful and romantic ninth symphony. As a contrast to the majestic sounds of the Great C Major, Fischer s pairing is a charming early work, the Five German Dances. As usual, Channel provides masterful sonic engineering that compliments the performers consummate musicality.


Fischer continues to sustain his reputation as one of the finest conductors around in any repertoire. --Classics Today
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Budapest Festival Orchestra
  • Conductor: Ivan Fischer
  • Composer: Franz Schubert
  • Audio CD (June 14, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Channel Classics
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,006 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 23, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I won't recommend this over the already established, 'classic' recordings of Schubert's 9th from the past - and with such diverse interpretive viewpoints - such as Furtwaengler, Konwitschny, Munch, Karajan, Bernstein/Concertgebouw, or Sawallisch/Dresden (more for the great playing of the Staatskapelle). But for anyone wanting a perfectly fine Schubert 9 with truly up-to-date, 'state of the art' sonics, look no further than here. The inclusion of the "Five German Dances" is a plus also. In fact, Fischer makes a subtle nod to the past, right at the very beginning of the symphony, via the usage of a valveless 'natural horn' for the opening solo. In addition, Fischer makes the effort to sustain a more 'Viennese' sound by using small C-clarinets and narrow bore trombones. These adjustments in the instrumentation may seem like an overly technical point, but I believe that one can notice the difference in the opening horn solo quite clearly.

Timings are rather 'normal' for this symphony: I - 13:04; II - 15:30; III - 14:24; IV - 11:40. Rather like Furtwaengler, Fischer take the second movement (Andante con moto) a tad slower than usual, and makes a big meal out of the movement's intense, climactic passage. In other words, he makes a strong contrast to the genuinely 'sunny' first movement. I have one reservation in the third movement (stretched to 14 minutes), and that's that Fischer takes some of the optional repeats in the Trio section of the scherzo movement. Personally, I think it's best if none of the optional repeats are taken in the final two movements, but that's just me. But true to my wishes, Fischer leaves out the optional repeats in the finale. These are issues that attend to the overall shape and architecture of the work. The more specific issues are even better.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 26, 2011
Format: Audio CD
It's nice when image and reality merge, as they do here. Ivan Fischer established is reputation originally by organizing Hungary's first orchestra that was competitive internationally; he won sympathy after the fall of the Soviet Empire, when Hungary could breathe free at last, and he repaid that good will with fresh interpretations of Bartok that stand up well today. He's moved on to standard repertoire with the same instinct for freshness, and in London circles nothing he does can get a bad review - we are even assured that the Budapest Festival Orch. is a great ensemble, although on the strength of hearing them, I'd rank them on the same level as cincinnati and Pittsburgh, Not the London Sym. or the New York Philharmonic. (I'm also bemused that Fischer is so sensitive about being bald. Almost every publicity photo shows him either in a hat or with his pate cut out of the frame, as on this cover.)

I may be irked by the hype that has inflated Fischer and his orchestra, but this Schubert Ninth lives up to their reputation for producing interesting takes on familiar music. The horn solo that opens the Ninth is squeezed out, note by note, in an unusual way, just a bit different form the uniform, velvety sound that we're used to hearing. I'm also happy that the pace is a true Andante, even though the latest editorial fad is to speed up the introduction to match, or come close to, the Allegro that follows. There could be more tension and thrust as the first movement expands, however. The second movement emphasizes the "con moto" in the Andante con moto marking, and I like the individual timbre of the Budapest woodwinds, not that far from their illustrious Czech counterparts. Fischer paces this movement as a firm march with lyrical interludes, an appealing approach.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Dodd on May 17, 2015
Format: Audio CD
Excellent reading by Fischer and his BFO. I thoroughly enjoy Fischer's reading of the 9th. I'm a big fan of Krips and Walter in this work, but I found new things to like with the BFO. This is very tuneful Schubert, played with wonderful dedication and artistry. And the recording quality is quite fine. Don't hesitate.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon on January 9, 2015
Format: Audio CD
I had been steeling myself to listen to Ivan Fischer's performance of Schubert's Ninth - oh joy to the world - when there was a knock on the door. Much to my surprise, it was the ghost of Hans Knappertsbusch, looking every so sartorial in his black overcoat and ten gallon cowboy hat. A Colt hung from each side. I invited him in. More ursine than ever, he was non-talkative. Guttural imprecations were forthcoming when he scanned my collection and noticed so much Karajan. In his own good time, he eventually took a seat in the living-room and lit up a ciggy.

"Herr Knappertsbusch" I said in the hope that he had picked up some English in eternity, "it's fortuitous that you're here!"

He stared grimly at me with those pale blue eyes. No response was forthcoming. Beaded with sweat, I continued.

"In my opinion and that of others, you conducted the greatest Schubert Ninth in history (Schubert: Symphony No. 9, Schmidt: Husarenlied-Variationen (Variations on a Hussar Song)). Today, we are going to visit the other end of the spectrum where `all gods are dead' and mere clarity is a deity in itself. Good sir, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts at its conclusion."

With that, I played the performance in question. It was the usual low fat, low salt approach from Fischer and his tinny, two stroke Budapest Festival Orchestra where the latter has been so reduced in headcount as to nullify whatever contribution is being made by the near-solitary cellos and double-basses. Kazoos - under the guise of valveless horns and narrow-bore trombones - blaze away in the introduction of the first movement and the climax of the Andante.
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