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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 6

Notes & Reviews:

Iván Fischer leads the Budapest Festival Orchestra in the fi rst release of a new Beethoven symphony cycle for Channel Classics. The fourth and sixth are two fundamentally different symphonies - both works explore feelings from an entirely different point of view. The fourth is about human feelings and moods - obsession, love, happiness, fun and wit. The sixth is about feelings that nature awakens in us - calmness, meditation and thankfulness. The creative process in making these recordings was quite open. Fischer discovered that the fourth sounds better with natural horns and trumpets, and for the Pastorale, he used a unique seating arrangement with the winds scattered among the strings. The intent was to have each soloist surrounded by musicians playing the flow of Beethoven’s nature music. After the storm, when we hear the first tentative call of the clarinet, answered by the horn from a different mountain, as it were, Fischer found it appropriate to use a solo violin, which is gradually joined by the whole orchestra.

"Comfy, well upholstered, smoothly played accounts of Beethoven sunniest, happiest symphonies."-American Record Guide

"Fischer only invokes fevered revolution at certain moments and elsewhere concentrates on well-argued phrases and a general sense of wonderment ...Woodwind and brass detailing is excellent throughout, while the sublime close leaves you itching to hear Fischer's Seventh." -The Independent on Sunday

"Warmth, grace, bubbling energy: these are among the winning attributes of Fischer's performances, with his Budapest Festival Orchestra, of Beethoven's fourth and sixth symphonies. Plus a little presumption: ignoring the score, Fischer launches the sixth's finale with a solo violin, not the full corpus." -The Times ****

"The specifically "east of Vienna" dimension is not merely felt in the fiery thrust of the 2/4 section of the "Peasant's Merrymaking". It is all-pervasive. Iván Fischer's direction is in the Toscanini class in its clarity and verve." -Gramophone Magazine

"Fischer finds more mystery in the slow introduction to the first movement of the Fourth Symphony than many other conductors...And it gets better and better: there's a beautiful, singing quality to the Adagio, and the neat, pointed performance of the last movement is all you could wish for." -Classic FM Magazine ****

"Occasionally a disc comes along that is exemplary in every respect, so let me simply say that this recording was a pleasure to audition.It is unusual, to say the least, to find a disc that sounds this fresh in repertoire this familiar, but Fischer and his Budapest band have a knack for doing just that. I wasn't as taken with the Beethoven Seventh by these forces (reviewed in Fanfare 32:2), but I have no reservations about this new disc, which receives my highest recommendation."-Fanfare


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