DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Ivan Fischer's Mahler 7 Just Might Be The Best Yet

By Norman Lebrecht on March 22, 2019

Ivan Fischer (Photo: Marco Borggreve)
Unlike other maestros, Ivan Fischer does not try to improve Mahler —  and also why this new 7th Symphony release with The Budapest Festival Orchestra wins us over. (Photo: Marco Borggreve)

Mahler: 7th Symphony (Channel Classics)

★★★★★
🎧 Spotify Amazon

Many regard the seventh as the most perplexing of Mahler’s symphonies. Coming after the extreme pessimism of the sixth, it appears to revert to the pastoralism of the third symphony while maintaining undertones of terror and insecurity. The two Night Music segments that interleave the three main movements may remind you of the Blumine section that Mahler inserted in his first symphony, only to remove it as a bucolic distraction.

Where is Mahler going in the seventh? The only musician to understand it on first hearing was Arnold Schoenberg, who paid literal tribute to its textures in his seminal 12-note work, the Serenade, opus 24. Schoenberg saw it as the gateway to modernism. Other acolytes, Bruno Walter among them, refused to conduct it.

There is no wholly recommendable performance on record, though Tennstedt and Kubelik are close to irresistible and Chailly’s second cycle in Leipzig is convincing. All things considered, I am inclined to endorse Ivan Fischer’s new release as the best Mahler 7th on record.

Fischer plays slow and loose with his tempi, sometimes extending the low brass to lip-bursting point, but he treats the symphony as a story to be told and what comes over is a vivid account of an artist’s life, errors and all. Unlike other maestros, he does not try to improve Mahler. If some of the composer’s decisions are questionable, so be it. The Budapest Festival Orchestra are fabulously flexible, joining in what feels like a voyage of discovery, a walk on a rickety bridge above a croc-infested creek. Strong stuff.

LUDWIG VAN TORONTO

Want more updates on classical music news and reviews? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for all the latest.

Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

LEBRECHT LISTENS | We May Never See The Likes Of Krzysztof Penderecki Again

By Norman Lebrecht on March 19, 2021

Krzysztof Penderecki's Credo is infused with a sense of liberation, a release from having to please anyone below the angels.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Where Has Hindemith Gone?

By Norman Lebrecht on April 9, 2021

It’s a bit of a mystery why Hindemith has vanished so completely, with chamber music so extremely well-made, intelligent, and civilized.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

LEBRECHT LISTENS | Hilary Hahn’s ‘Paris’ Demands Few Of Her Finely Honed Skills

By Norman Lebrecht on April 2, 2021

When you hear the term ‘multiple issues’ in 2021 it usually signifies that Covid is not the only cause of death. This album has multiple issues.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.