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Brahms: Symphony no 1, Variations on a Theme by Haydn, etc / Fischer, et al

Notes & Reviews:

"Ivan Fischer and his orchestra hit the ball out of the park with this recording, offering a First Symphony full of personality and fire, all at an exalted technical and interpretive level. Indeed, on the basis of this recording I would rank Fischer as one of the truly great conductors now active, not just because he justifies yet another recording of this ubiquitous warhorse, but because of his achievement in creating an orchestra whose sound is as characterful as his performances... As usual, the sonics in all formats--stereo, SACD two- and multi-channel--are stunning, offering an ideal combination of clarity (listen to the the soft timpani and lucid bass lines) and warmth. Even if you have a hundred recordings of this music, let this disc be your hundred and first." -Classics Today (10/10)

”The Variations on a theme by Haydnhas the same virtues, the lucidity of the inner lines consistently bringing out the music’s conversational character. The disc opens with a playfully nostalgic reading of Fischer’s own string orchestra recasting of 14th Hungarian Dance. In all three works, Channel Classics has provided full bodied sound with an excellent sense of space. A winner.”-Fanfare

"Fischer and his decidedly classy Budapest orchestra treat the Variations as an affectionate tribute to Haydn, an east-of-Vienna man if ever there was one. Finely sprung and nicely styled, the performance even has its own zigeunerisch dimension - in the finale where Brahms's witty and heroic use of the triangle is neatly pointed. the symphony... too is a vibrant affair, stylish and alert... This is a more extrovert reading than many you will hear, less burdened." -Gramophone Magazine

"This beautifully recorded CD gets off to an auspicious start with an exquisitely phrased and subtly controlled account of Brahms's 14th Hungarian Dance... The Haydn Variations... sounds particularly satisfying here... Fischer secures clarity of texture throughout without sacrificing any warmth. Fischer opens the First Symphony in a very striking but undeniably effective manner, the strings tracing the soaring chromatic melody with the same portamento rich sonority as in the Hungarian Dance. ...perhaps the most exciting and riveting playing is reserved for the Finale where Fischer shows an unerring sense of pacing, coaxing the musical argument from the depths of despair in the opening to triumph, affirmation and elation at the close." -BBC Music Magazine *****

"Ever the radical, [Fischer] effectively refashions each work from scratch. The Haydn ­Variations have a grace and lightness of touch we don't often hear in them. The First, meanwhile, is monumental in every sense of the word...Outstanding." -The Guardian *****

"Ivan Fischer's recording is a real joy: Classical-style limpid textures, an all-round more sprightly attack, yet still a warmly Romantic sound." -Classic FM Magazine


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