Ivan Fischer - Composer's Portrait (2016)


Wim Van Hasselt, Kobra Ensemble, Nora Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra members, Matthias Kadar

Iván Fischer, known worldwide as a conductor, has recently come to the fore as a composer. Fischer began composing at the age of twenty, writing, as he says, in an avant-garde style fitting for that age. But it all came to an end as he became more and more absorbed by conducting. Some thirty years later, however, the urge to take up the pen again became irresistible: “A feeling as though I found my true self.” He describes himself not as a composer but as a composing conductor, and the many composers whose music he conducts are his teachers and his sources of inspiration.
This CD presents a portrait of the composer Iv.n Fischer. The following liner notes are based largely on his own commentary and on that of Habakuk Traber (who writes for the Deutsches Sinfonie Orchester Berlin).

Notes about the number of tracks:
I have taken the liberty to make the last piece of work 'Tsuchigumo' as one track (in the booklet 16 - 25) as many sections play through to the next without stopping.

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Wim Van Hasselt

Wim Van Hasselt is a member of the trumpet section of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. He is professor of trumpet at the University of Music Freiburg and regulary gives recitals and masterclasses at home and abroad (Europe, N-America and Japan). He’s also an active chamber musician in different ensembles and has appeared at the festivals of Lucerne, Bad Kissingen and Schleswig Holstein among many others.

Wim Van Hasselt was born in Turnhout, Belgium. He studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Karlsruhe (Germany) with Prof. Reinhold Friedrich and Prof. Dr. Edward H. Tarr (baroque trumpet). He also attended lessons and masterclasses given by Ole Edvard Antonsen, Prof. Klaus Schuhwerk, Markus Stockhausen and Philip Smith.

After taking part in the orchestra academies of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the State Opera Stuttgart he had a trumpet position with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, from 2005 to 2009. In addition to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra he has played with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

His first solo CD “On the Road” was released on the Channel Classics label, showing his versatility and feeling for style in an impressive manner. It includes a couple of works that have been composed especially for this CD. The project was awarded the “Prix de Salon” 2010 of the Foundation Donateurs Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Kobra Ensemble

The Kobra ensemble is composed of Ingrid Doude van Troostwijk, Sterre Konijn, Lea Klarenbeek, Lonneke Kegels, Pitou Nicolaes and Saskia Voorbach. Since their founding in 2010 they have developed a style of their own, characterised by an all-round musicality and a lively stage performance. With a mix of early and contemporary classical music, folk music, and close harmony, a mix of humor and dead-serious beauty, Kobra blows the cobwebs off the chamber music.

The singers met each other in the Dutch National Children’s and Youth Choir. With their foundations  in classical music, they share a huge musical curiosity. This is audible in the various musical and singing styles  that come across during their performances. Kobra searches constantly for new audiences by choosing various stages, events and festivals. Then again they are also no stranger to the major Dutch stages like Het Concertgebouw, the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ and De Doelen. Besides that, the ensemble has performed several times in programmes like Vrije Geluiden and NTR Podium on Television.

Kobra engages wholeheartedly in cooperation with other forms of art; the singers have worked with various costume designers, artists, video performers, instrumentalists, composers and arrangers. They also experiment with theatre in their live performances. They continue to surprise audiences and themselves alike.

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Ivan Fischer - Composer's Portrait (2016)


Wim Van Hasselt, Kobra Ensemble, Nora Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra members, Matthias Kadar

    Klassieke Zaken

(...) Er wordt voortreffelijk gemusicieerd door een prachtig zingend Kobra en een nog prachtiger zingende Nora Fischer.

    Klassiek Centraal, nomination Gold Label

Fijnzinnige Iván Fischer (...) Dat de Hongaarse dirigent Iván Fischer finesse uitstraalt, is een understatement. Hij ademt het moeiteloos. De cd Composers Portrait 1 doet zijn reputatie alle eer aan.


(...) a fascinating CD (...) Whether it's a touching solo song in Yiddish (amazingly sung by Fischer's daughter, the contemporary-specialist soprano Nora Fischer), a short Sextet for strings and tabla subtitled 'Wanderlust', the anguished German-Yiddish Cantata or the short opera Tsuchigumo, a completely off-the-wall creation in six languages and plenty of pastiche, based on a 15th-century Noh play - that voice is Essence of Fischer. It's spare, direct, condensed. It's funny, agonising, personal, satirical, sometimes switching between these in a flash, sometimes all at one go. It's malleable, adaptable, insightful. A spot of Italian baroque style and language rubs shoulders with circus-like effects full of Hungarian black humour. And the opening fanfare is all fun - catchy and melodic and showy. Behind such chameleon-like eclecticism, though, lies a consistent personality: that voice, at one with the performer and the man.

    Luister 10 -

(...) wat vooral verbluft is het gegeven dat Fischer erin slaagt een eigen geluid toe te voegen aan de massa klanken die het verleden reeds bracht. (...) transparante, bijna terloops klinkende muziekjes met een puntig karakter. (...) verstilde eenvoud (...) Compromisloos bijzonder en allemaal van deze tijd. (...)

    Opus Klassiek

(...) Fischer is Fischer. Hij is een romanticus die melodisch en harmonisch schrijft, wel degelijk fantasievol, expressief en beeldend (tekst en muziek vormen een naadloos geheel), maar zijn creatieve horizon bewust niet heeft afgestemd op vernieuwing. Hij eist het zelf niet en dus hoeven niemand anders dat van hem te eisen. (...) Er is sprake van puur vakwerk, waarbij ervaring en fantasie ongetwijfeld hand in hand zijn gegaan. Het levert ook de gewenste gelaagdheid op en levert een wezenlijke bijdrage aan de synergie. (...) De opname is in de 'klassieke' Channel Classics stijl, het predikaat voor heel goed.

    The Guardian

(...) Anyone familiar with his [Fischer’s] sometimes eccentric, brilliantly precise work on the podium won’t be surprised to find similar qualities in his compositions. (...)

    BBC Music Magazine 5/4 stars -

In music that is concentrated, lyrical, acerbic and often dazzling, Fischer brings together eclectic influences from Bach to weill, from Yiddish traditions to the Indian tabla and Japanese Noh theatre. (...) Soprano Nora Fischer proves a revelation (...)

Ivan Fischer - Composer's Portrait (2016)


Wim Van Hasselt, Kobra Ensemble, Nora Fischer, Budapest Festival Orchestra members, Matthias Kadar

Cables: van den Hul 3T
Digital Converters: Grimm A/D
Editing Software: Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Room: Grimm LS1
Microphones: Bruel & Kyaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom made
Producer: Hein Dekker
Recording Engineer: Hein Dekker, Jared Sacks
Recording location: Budapest Hungary
Recording Software: Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64

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