Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in C-Minor “Resurrection”

Budapest Festival Orchestra, Ivan Fischer

Original Recording Format: DSD 64
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Ivan Fischer conducts the Budapest Festival Orchestra in this Stereo and 5 Channel Surround Sound DSD edition of Mahler Symphony No. 2 ‘Resurrection’.  This is a gigantic work of enormous proportions, extreme contrasts, and a score that surpasses even his First Symphony from two years earlier. Ten horns, eight trumpets, two harps, organ, five percussionists, two vocal soloists (soprano and alto), as well as a large mixed chorus, fill the podium. And behind all this, invisible, is a ‘Fernorchester’ (distant orchestra) as a symbol of ‘the resurrection’.

The work lasts for some 80 to 85 minutes, twice as long as Brahms’s Fourth or the Franck and D’ Indy symphonies of the same period. And relative to a Haydn or Mozart symphony, there is a tripling in size. Only Bruckner approaches it in the length department with his Fifth and Eighth, each lasting about 75 minutes.

But then Mahler, in this symphony, is dealing with the themes of life, death, and resurrection, and he took whatever space he felt that he needed. There is a strangely sharp contrast between the untroubled key of C major and the dark and turbulent contents of the work. It has been suggested that the theme of life, death, and resurrection was borne in on Mahler on the occasion of the funeral of the great conductor Hans von Bülow in 1894.

In any case, the words of Klopstock that were read on that occasion are the same ones that Mahler used that year for the apotheosis (last movement) of his Second Symphony: “Aufersteh’n, ja aufersteh’n wirst du, mein Staub, nach kurzer Ruh unsterblich Leben wird der dich rief gegeben.” (Thou shalt arise, yes, arise, my dust, after a brief slumber, thou shalt be called to immortal life). And Mahler expanded the text further with his own words: “O glaube, mein Herz. Es geht dir nichts verloren. Dein ist was du gesehnt. Dein, was du geliebt, was du gestritten. O glaube: Du wardst nicht umsonst geboren. Hast nicht umsonst gelebt, gelitten.” (O have faith, my heart. Nothing shall be lost to thee. What thou hast longed for is thine. Thine remains, what thou hast loved, what thou hast battled for. O have faith: thou wast not born for nothing. Thou hast not suffered in vain.)

Ivan Fischer, Conductor
Budapest Festival Orchestra


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Allegro Maestoso
Andante Moderato
In Ruhig Fließbender Bewegung
Urlicht_ Sehr Feierlich, Aber Schlicht
Im Tempo Des Scherzo

Total time: 01:22:18

Additional information





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Analog to Digital Converters

Meitner A/D DSD / Meitner DA from EMM Labs


van den Hul T3 series

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 in Budapest Hungary in 2006

Recording Software

Pyramix bij Merging

Recording Type & Bit Rate



Audiolab, Holland

Release DateJanuary 22, 2014

Press reviews

Positive Feedback

There are many great Mahler Second Symphonies in the catalog. But this recording by Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra continues to return to my listening lineup time and time again. There is something very right about Fischer’s interpretation—the great arcs of tension with which he draws this music, the visceral impact of various passages, the lyrical interludes, all of a continuity in the constant flow of the music. It is always a real pleasure to hear.

The huge tympani and orchestral gong passages in the first movement can be just startling. Yet they are presented as an organic whole with the rest of the music, not delivered just for audience impact or audiophile titillation…

…it is the contribution of Jared Sacks that finally and ultimately sets this recording to the top of my personal list of excellence. He delivers the full drama of the music in the sound quality he captures. His recording is transparent and transportive. Just supremely well done. And even though he did not have access to DSD256 when this recording was made in 2005, the sonic results he gives us are among the best yet available, and perhaps the best.

Positive Feedback

“As an example of a full orchestral experience, we have included the opening five minutes or so of Ivan Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra performing that immense composition by Mahler, his Symphony No. 2 in C minor: Resurrection. I have listened to Mahler’s second many times over the past few decades, always deeply moved by its tense and startling exploration of faith and the resurrection of the dead. Fischer and company have carved quite a name for themselves as marvelous interpreters and performers of the work of Mahler, among others. Jared Sacks has invested enormous amounts of time in his work with Fischer and the Budapest, and his mastery of the audio arts is quite evident in his recording of the Mahler symphonies with them. Mahler is hard work for everyone involved! But the opening of the first movement of Resurrection, recorded directly to DSD, will show you just how powerfully Mahler’s creative vision has been captured in this extraordinary Channel Classics recording. Listen to this sample, and then do yourself a favor…buy the full album!”
– from the booklet of the album NDSD006 ‘Positive Feedback DSD Sampler’

La Belgique

Fischer et son Budapest Festival Orchestra se sont taillé une place de choix dans le paysage symphonique européen. Après un superbe enregistrement de la “Symphonie n°6”. Ils reviennent à Mahler et signent une version tout aussi prenante de la n°2 “Résurrection”. Le choeur de la radio hongroise et les voix solistes de Birgit Remmert et Lisa Milne se joignent à la réussite Le Soir


Der Interpretation Ivan Fischers merkt man nicht nur den Mahlerkenner sondern vor allem auch den Mahlerbegeisterten an. Minutiös werden die Anweisungen der Partitur umgesetzt, Fischer versucht, jeder einzelnen Mahlerschen Intention auf den Grund zu gehen. Das gelingt tatsächlich hervorragend, nicht zuletzt wegen des sehr guten Orchesters, des Budapest Festival Orchestras. Im vierten Satz gefällt besonders Birgit Remmert mit einem geheimnisvoll mystischen Urlicht, voller Wärme in der Tongebung, eindringlich und zugleich angenehm unaufdringlich. Der in der Form so komplexe Schlusssatz – man beachte allein die Dauer einer guten halben Stunde – ist in sich geschlossen, ein steter roter Faden leitet den Hörer bis zur in Töne gesetzten Auferstehung. Wie Fischer große Spannungsbögen zieht, einen ständigen Fluss in der Musik schafft, ist wahrhaftes Hörvergnügen. Diese Aufnahme ist in jeder Hinsicht eine ernstzunehmende Erweiterung im Kanon der Mahlereinspielungen.

Opus Haute Définiton

Les couleurs, que délivre l’orchestre de Budapest, sont d’une beauté exemplaire, qu’une prise de son en pur DSD vient renforcer avec naturel et précision. Fischer laisse alors le discours musical s’épanouir en respirations idoines, marquées au sceau de l’évidence. Cette vision “moderne” semble soudainement porteuse d’une originalité que beaucoup d’autres enregistrements ne possèdent hélas pas. Un Super Audio CD stéréo et multicanal incontournable qui ravira aussi bien les mélomanes que les amateurs de prise de son de démonstration.


Fischer spoort zijn orkest aan tot helderheid, veerkracht en een markante ritmiek. Uit de wijze waarop deze dirigent de stilte een plaats durft te geven in het betoog, spreekt groot gezag. (…)


Meteen bij de openingsmaten, met die dreigende en onverbiddelijke figuren in de celli, spits je de oren, omdat Fischer met microdynamische accenten vanuit de stilte een spanning weet te generen doe niet vanzelfspreekt. (…) (…) Het orkest speelt prachtig en ook het Hongaars Radiokoor is op zijn taak berekend.

www. Parutions.com

une des versions les plus abouties de l’oeuvre. Les couleurs, que délivre l’orchestre de Budapest, sont d’une beauté exemplaire, qu’une prise de son en pur DSD vient renforcer avec naturel et précision. Fischer laisse alors le discours musical s’épanouir en respirations idoines, marquées au sceau de l’évidence. Cette vision “moderne” semble soudainement porteuse d’une originalité que beaucoup d’autres enregistrements ne possèdent hélas pas. Un Super Audio CD stéréo et multicanal incontournable qui ravira aussi bien les mélomanes que les amateurs de prise de son de démonstration.

Choral Journal

Heartfelt, but never over-the-top!! (…) Mezzo-soprano Birgit Remmert makes lovely work of ‘Urlicht’ and the contributions of the choir, from velvet first entrance to final peroration are near-perfect.


There are many great Mahler seconds available but this is the best I’ve heard on SACD. Truly inspired and not to be missed!


It pulls you in and on with urgency. (…) (…) so well recorded and performed, and so infused with passion, that is easily becomes one of my favourites. (…)

Audiophile Audition

Mahler’s alternately terrifying and ecstatic visions come fiercely projected in surround sound… My whole listening space lit up, a spasm of acoustical revelation. (…) put this high on the must-have list. (…)

The Washington Post

A beautiful performance – majestic but intimate, sweeping but tender, carefully planned and brilliantly executed… This is one of the best recordings of the ‘Resurrection’ Symphony ever made worthy to stand with the very different performances by Otto Klemperer and Leonard Bernstein. (…)

Dallas Morning News

Even the most complex fortissimo emerges with every strand intact all wrapped (but never congested) in a warm concert-hall ambience. (…)


Jared Sacks really has got the measure of recording in the new Budapest palace of Arts and, as I have indicated, the sound quality on these two SACDs is absolutely superb. The bass instruments are reproduced with much more impact than in the earlier recording, yet the overall sound has even greater transparency. The orchestra is seated as for MTT with the violins split left and right, basses on the left etc. as Mahler would have expected. This arrangement always seems to reveal a wealth of inner detail and that is certainly the case here. Throughout, the Budapest Festival Orchestra play with the utmost virtuosity for its founder and I cannot recommend this version too highly. This is a great achievement for all concerned. A

The Guardian

the whole symphony, usually considered disjointed, comes over as exceptionally cogent, with not a duff passage or wasted note to be heard. Highly recommended.


This 2005 recording by Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra is a grand rendition with a forceful interpretation, gorgeous sound, and thrilling climaxes that many will find awe-inspiring (…) (…), just in terms of its audio quality, this double SACD is a collector’s dream, with nearly ideal timbres and splendid resonance in 5.0 surround sound and DSD recording; so if you are looking for a “Resurrection” that sounds like the end of the world, this package may fill the bill.


The crowning glory is, as it should be, the finale – and it is here that Fischer, his performers and his engineers, really excel. The ‘special effects’ of Mahler’s elaborate Judgement Day fresco have rarely been so magically realised. The offstage horns are so breathtakingly remote as to suggest the world of the living left far behind. Moments of quite extraordinary stasis precede the sounding of the Dies Irae and the hushed entry of the chorus. And come the peroration (resplendent with fabulous horns), Fischer knows that it is with that final crescendo of the chorus and only then that the heavens really pen. Impressive!!


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