Mahler Symphony no. 9 in D major

Budapest Festival Orchestra

Original Recording Format: DSD 64
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The 9th is a heartbreaking symphony, perhaps in many ways. It starts with an arythmic heartbeat which moves colourfully from one instrument to the next. The choice of instruments is extraordinary and somewhat sinister: cello, horn, harp, muted horn. Mahler immediately shows us his most mature, masterful handling of orchestral colours. Soon we realise that it is merely an introduction to a beautiful but heartbreakingly sad melody played by the violins, saying Leb wohl! Farewell! 
A most complex, extremely forward-looking, visionary symphony follows, occasionally brutally interrupted by those arythmic beats and leading finally to the most tragic and beautiful ending Mahler ever composed: what he shares with us is his fading awareness of our beloved world.
Iván Fischer


Andante comodo
Im Tempo eines gemachlichen Landlers

Total time: 01:15:57

Additional information





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van den Hul

Digital Converters

Grimm AD

Mastering Engineer

Jared Sacks

Mastering Equipment

B&W 803


Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps

Mixing Board

Rens Heijnis custom made


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Original Recording Format


Hein Dekker

Recording Engineer

Hein Dekker, Jared Sacks

Recording location

Budapest Hungary

Recording Software

Merging Pyramix

Recording Type & Bit Rate


Release Date May 9, 2015

Press reviews

Audiophile Audition Australia

(…) a joyful marriage of audiophile quality and the exuberant performance. (…)

Parool (Best of 2015)

(…) schitterend (…)

Stereophile 5 out of 5

(…) Spectacular recording (…) a real winner. (…)

La Revue des deux mondes

(…) sans doute l’une des visions les plus enivrantes de cette symphonie poingnante. (…)

Diapason 4 out of 5

Et pourtant, l’Adagio, qui se métamorphose peu a peu en musique de chambre, nous bouleverse. Etrange sentiment d’intimité avec Mahler mourant. (…)


(…) Das fantastisch eingestellte und klanghomogene Budapest Festival Orchestra hat keine Mühe, neben aller schlanken Transparenz und Detailtreue die große lyrische Linie und innere Komplexität des zerklüfteten Werks als zwingend logischen, suggestiven Erzählstrang darzustellen, dabei die stets farblich gedämpfte, ruhige Abschiedsstimmungbaber nie ins Pathetische oder Sentimentale abdriften zu lassen. (…)


(…) cette interprétation reste de haute tenue. Saluons d’ailleurs l’excellence de la prise de son et la performance digne d’éloges des musiciens budapestois.

Classical CD reviews

The quiet, sustained high notes from the violins and woodwind have a beautiful, crystalline quality. (…)

Bay Area Reporter

(…) penetrating new live recording (…) it’s hard to explain how a performance this coherent and transparent can at the same time be so edge-of-your seat compelling.


Diese Aufnahme ist in vielerlei Hinsicht tief bewegend (…) meisterhaft und gefühlsbetont (…) mehr kan man sich in einer Aufnahme nicht wünschen.


Het is een mooie, gedragen interpretatie (…)


Budapest Festival Orchestra speelt al jaren in de Champions League als het gaat om orkestrale kwaliteit (…)

Music Emotion

Deze opname biedt naast de artistiek kwaliteiten een enorme ruimtelijkheid. Spectaculair in stereo, maar met toegevoegde dimensie en realiteit in multichannel.

De Telegraaf

Wat Fischers interpretatie bijzonder maakt, is de onbevangen en onverschrokken benadering, zonder zwaarwichtigheid of dikdoenerij. Het gevoel van verwondering maakt van het Adagio een slot om steeds stiller van te worden.

Fono Forum

(…) Selbst der verlösende Schluss atmet unter Fischers Händen (…) Die insgesamt eher milde und warmherzige Sicht dieses außergewöhnlichen Musikers auf Mahlers Sinfonik hat in der Neunten zu besonders schönen Ergebnissen geführt.

La Boite a Musique

Iván Fischer poursuit son cycle Mahler, déjà auréolé de nombreux prix, avec cette ultime symphonie, magnifiée par une prise de son de toute beauté.

Met deze laatste symfonie, extra in de verf gezet door een uitzonderlijk mooie opname, zet Iván Fischer zijn reeds meermaals bekroonde integrale verder.


(…) Een ontroerende en krachtige nieuwe opname van dit meesterwerk (…)

Opus Haute Définition

(…) Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra make this late work a kind of last breath, not one of resignation, but deep serenity, universal, one that relieves us of all. (…)

(…) Iván Fischer et le Budapest Festival Orchestra font de cette oeuvre ultime une sorte de dernier grand soupir, non pas de résignation, mais de sérénité profonde, universelle, celle qui délivre de tout. (…)

Classics Today 4 out of 5

Iván Fischer conducts a lovely, impulsive Mahler Ninth (…) Fischer keeps the brass under control throughout, but this only makes those moments they really cut loose all the more powerful. (…) The finale is gorgeous (…) Channel Classics provides its usual superb SACD sonics, making this a Mahler Ninth that’s not to be missed.

Audiophile Sound Italy 5 out of 5

This then on its own terms and within the confines of modern Mahler interpretation, is a magnificent performance (…) The sound is superb in DSD format, but stunning in native playback.

Audiophile Audition

Any new recording of Channel Classics is worthy of note, and this interesting and incisive performance by Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra makes this SACD something worth talking about (…) A thrilling combination of musicianship with an audiophile-pleasing recording.

BBC Music Magazine 4 out of 5

For those who can’t have too much of this masterpiece, Fischer is essential fot further enlightenment. (…)

Audiophile Audition 4 out of 5

We’ve grown accustomed to superb recordings from Channel Classics, and this 5.0 SACD is no exception. The recording is natural, with a solid image of the orchestra up front. I hear hints of the brass from the surrounds during crescendos, making the recording space come alive. Strings are beautifully rendered, and the low end has a realistic punch.

I’ll return to the Fischer frequently, for the joyful marriage of audiophile quality and the exuberant performance.

Computer Audiophile Forum

Just finished listening to this and it is magnificent. Fischer, the BFO, and Channel have truly reached a new level of excellence with this release.

The Guardian

“I can’t stop playing the last movement of this recording. Mahler’s long farewell – Adorno once called it “staring into oblivion” – is given heartbreaking intensity and tenderness by the Budapest Festival Orchestra, always an ensemble of great character and conviction. This account is superb for the orchestra’s deep, old-world sound, for a generosity of expression that clinches the work’s turmoil but draws radiantly life-affirming conclusions. Fondness cuts to brute violence in opening; the Ländler is sturdy and sincere, a blur of swirling couples from a bygone Vienna, and the Rondo has an earthy vigour that reminds us where this orchestra comes from.”

Het Parool

Een beetje Mahlerliefhebber heeft natuurlijk al minstens tien verschillende uitvoeringen van de Negende symfonie in de kast staan. Maar zelfs al waren het er twintig of dertig, of alle vijfhonderd (een ruwe schatting) dan is er nog plaatst voor eentje meer: namelijk de uitvoering van het Boedapest Festival Orkest onder leiding van Iván Fischer.


(…) overtuigend meerkanaals vastgelegd door Hein Dekker en Jared Sacks bonkt, blaast en buldert het orkest angstaanjagend de kamer binnen. De kracht van Fischer is dat hij zich niet in de eerste de beste climax verliest, maar controle bewaart. (…)

NRC 5 out of 5

Zinderend gedoseerde Mahleriaanse emotie (…) Het kan niet anders of de Mahler-cyclus van dirigent Iván Fischer met zijn Budapest Festival Orchestra wordt dé Mahler – collectie van deze tijd. (…) Ook hier opent Fischer je de oren voor Mahlers duistere voeling met de de onderstroom van zijn tijd, voor briljant uitgebalanceerde orkestraties.

Fischer’s sensibly paced and well characterized performance encapsulates a degree of stoic acceptance of death without any loss of the work’s essential emotional poignancy. (…) a 5.0 DSD recording of the highest quality (…) full of detail and a rounded ambience that allows Iván Fischer’s compelling interpretation of this Symphony to reach the listener unimpeded by any technical limitations.

Sinfini Music 4 out of 5

Moments of dazzing zest and courage characterise an immersive performance of Mahler’s mighty symphony (…)

Gramophone (Editor’s Choice)

“A very special class, a sonic dazzler”
Fischer’s Budapest Mahler series has continued to engage and intrigue our critics but this carefully textured, powerful Ninth is impressive indeed. The Channel Classics issue (with surround-sound option) is in a very special class, a sonic dazzler, quite apart from its bold musical qualities. A potential Award-winner!

Stereophile Magazine

A bit of the 3rd movement of Mahler Symphony 9, as performed by Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra on a new Channel Classics recording was especially impressive for the air surrounding the orchestra, and the manner in which the system clearly conveyed the composer’s emotional turmoil. Brass sounded especially convincing. So was the bass . . . until we turned up the volume and the fixtures in the room began rattling.


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