Mahler – Symphony no. 5 in C sharp minor

Budapest Festival Orchestra

(16 press reviews)
Original Recording Format: DSD 64
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The Fifth is the most Jewish of all Mahler’s symphonies. The first movement takes usto the unmistakable mood of Jewish lamentation, the finale to the childlike visionof messianic joy.As we know, Mahler converted to Catholicism. Views may differ as to whether hisdecision was opportunistic or a question of religious conviction. Christianity plays animportant part in much of Mahler’s music, though not in this particular work.Perhaps I may take the liberty of referring briefly to my own family. My ancestors(like Mahler’s) were merchants in a small shtetl in the Habsburg Empire. They wereobservant Jews. My grandfather, three years older than Gustav Mahler, decided toleave this religious lifestyle behind him when he went to study in Vienna. My fatherand his brothers were brought up without any religious education. They adoredGoethe, Mozart, Beethoven and Richard Wagner. One of the four brothers convertedto Catholicism when he married a daughter of a converted family. Later, underNazi occupation, when it seemed for a while that converting might help them avoiddeportation, two of my uncles and an aunt became Catholics; the other members of thefamily did not.Whether or not these decisions were opportunistic was never discussed in myfamily. Nobody cared – these were considered unimportant, personal decisions, partlydictated by circumstances. Converts or no converts, nobody practised any religion andeverybody adored culture. And they all hummed tunes like those in Mahler’s FifthSymphony.

Iván Fischer


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Sturmisch bewegt

Total time: 01:14:12

Additional information





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van den Hul T3 series

Digital Converters

Grimm A/D DSD / Meitner DA

Mastering Engineer

Jared Sacks

Mastering Equipment

B&W 803 diamond series


Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps

Mixing Board

Rens Heijnis custom design


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Original Recording Format


Hein Dekker

Recording Engineer

Hein Dekker, Jared Sacks

Recording location

The Palace of Arts, Budapest Hungary 2013

Recording Software

Pyramix bij Merging

Recording Type & Bit Rate



Audiolab, Holland

Release DateJanuary 5, 2014

Press reviews


(..) spitsvondigheid en ironie priemen continue door het muzikale oppervlak. De tweeledigheid tussen de klankwereld en de ervaringswereld die daar onder verscholen zit, openbaart zich bij deze dirigent als vanzelfsprekende twee-eenheid (…) Fischer mag zich tot de notabelen onder de Mahler-uitvoerders rekenen! 5 out of 5

Extrem stark: Ivan Fischers neuer Mahler mit dem Budapest Festival Orchestra. Soviel Detail war selten. (…) Das ist natürlich nur möglich aufgrund der Tontechnik von Channel Classics, die solange zugunsten von Transparenz und Plastizität am Klangbild geschraubt hat, bis es maximal durchlässig erscheint, ohne dabei die Klangtreue aufs Spiel zu setzen.

The WholeNote

(…) his most impressive achievement so far in this cycle. (…) the detail of sound is exemplary throughout (…) This is a refreshingly idiosyncratic performance that deserves a place near the top of recent Mahler recordings.


(…) Toch wil ik deze nieuwe captatie aanraden. Ze laat zich, denk ik, niet verbeteren. Al wordt mijn blik mogelijk vertroebeld door de live-uitvoering van dezelfde symfonie door Fischer en de zijnen, eerder dit jaar in het Concertgebouw in Brugge, zonder twijfel mijn sterkste concertmoment van 2013. (…)

International Record Review

(…) The recording is rich and full, but even more striking is its clarity. (…) Fischer’s choice of tempo seems ideal (…) This is a superbly well-played performance of Mahler’s great symphony (…)

De Volkskrant

(…) de spannendste Mahlercyclus van het moment (…) Hij [Fisher] maakt de weg vrij voor Mahlers Vijfde symfonie om vooral te mogen klinken als zichzelf. Zelfs het grijsgespeelde Adagietto kruipt uit z’n ei alsof het 1902 is.


(…) der Dirigent geht mit höchstem Feingefühl zu Werke, bringt die melodischen Linien mit viel Liebe zur Entfaltung. (…) Zieht man die unvergleichliche Klangkultur des Budapester Orchesters hinzu, kommt man zu dem Ergebnis, dass hier eine zwar sehr ungewöhnliche, doch faszinierende Einspielung von Mahlers viel gespielter Fünfter vorliegt.


(…) Ivan Fischer bringt gleich im ersten Satz des Mahlerfreunds Blut zum Wallen (…) Schlüssiger, souveräner in der Atmung und sicherer im Ansteuern der Höhepunkte, in der Kraftregulierung kann man eine Mahler-Symphonie fast nicht gestalten. (…) Eine spannende Interpretation, bei der man den Eindruck hat, dass ein Orchester und ein Dirigent zusammenarbeiten, die wie ein einziger Organismus funktionieren.

Iowa public radio best cds of the year

The Hungarian conductor/ composer/ opera director Ivan Fischer was one of my musicians-of-the-year. (…) he and his players perform this work more polyphonically than some (that is, the melody is often less dominant while the other lines are more ‘equal’ and the feeling is in some places darker.)

As many will be aware, Fischer’s performances are only recorded by Channel after they have been meticulously prepared and painstakingly refined by these musicians – often in the wake of a series of concert performances across Europe. The superb results, as here, speak for themselves. (…) spectacularly virtuoso orchestral playing (…)This one should be high on anyone’s short-list and definitely at the top of that list for those seeking state-of-the art sound quality. Highly recommended. – net 5/5 stars 5 out of 5

Fischer brings this heritage background into Mahler’s Fifth with an intensity and intimacy which has few peers, his vision realised by the magnificent playing of the Budapest Festival Orchestra, with whom he has such a fine rapport. (…) Fischer is continuing the strong strain of lyricism which so marked his reading of the Fourth Symphony. (…)Fischer’s final chord was perfectly timed and made me want to leap up and join in with a standing ovation. (…) Channel Classic’s recording follows the excellence of their previous Fischer/Mahler issues, and perhaps there is a sense of greater refinement in capture here. The 8 double-basses of the BFO’s powerhouse had even more presence than before, and the bass drum too added much to a satisfying foundation to the orchestra. Epic in multichannel mode.

Musicweb International

There’s much to admire here: the orchestral playing is top-class and the excellent recording reports the sound of the orchestra with great clarity. (…)

Classical Music Sentinel

(…) conductor Ivan Fischer swoops down for a more intimate frame of reference, and in doing so, reveals the beauty hidden behind the stern facade of this complex symphonic work. (…) Along with this orchestra’s sonic beauty and Fischer’s expressive take on the counter melodies, it makes this a must-hear version, even if you already own multiple recordings of this powerful symphony.

Audiophile Audition

(…) the result is a musical and technical triumph. So often a great recording is musically mediocre. Not here. Ivan Fischer leads the Budapest Symphony Orchestra in a powerful performance while the DSD SACD sounds better than any recording of the Fifth than any I have heard, including the Bernstein, Rattle and Abbado.

Classical disc of the week CBC Radio 2

(…) The orchestra’s brass section pierces the gloom with a thrilling brilliance, while the strings provide a warm, supple foundation. Listen, especially, to the Adagietto, one of the most sublimely gorgeous slow movements ever written.The playing is understated, almost reverent, and achieves the sublime without ever succumbing to the maudlin. (…) After 30 years, Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra have found a way to keep it fresh. Long may they continue a most remarkable musical partnership.

Het Parool 5 out of 5

With this recording of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, Fischer and his colleagues hit the mark. As if you were hearing the piece for the first time. The Budapest Festival Orchestra once again proves itself as a top European orchestra.


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