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Mahler Symphony No. 3

Budapest Festival Orchestra


SKU: 38817

Year of release: 2017

1. Kräftig Entschieden Mahler 33:14
2. Tempo di Menuetto Mahler 10:14
3. Comodo, Scherzando Mahler 18:31
4. Sehr Langsam Mahler 08:15
5. Lustig im Tempo Mahler 04:02
6. Langsam. Ruhevoll Mahler 21:31
Total time: 95:49

About this album

I love the whole symphony but from the second movement two favorite moments, two details, spring to mind. First, the recapitulation when the solo violin takes flight, like a buzzing bee around a flower, and then accidentally finds itself in a wonderful modulation to E major. The second is the ending. The flowers, that move and dance elegantly against the wind, suddenly expose their Tristan-like soul. From the vast first movement I would choose the huge, yawning creature’s (Pan’s?) first appearance. Conducting the Scherzo I am always carried away by the inserted episodes which interrupt the post horn – first by a group of baroque birds, then rococo ones flying up from the pages of a Mozart piano concerto. What an ingenious and unpredictable use of different styles! Finally, the endless melody of the last movement moves me every time with its intimate beauty and honesty. There is something divine in the wealth of this great masterpiece.
Iván Fischer

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The Arts Desk

And what a finale: Fischer's flowing speeds avoiding any hint of bombast, the final cadence unforced and radiant. Everyone needs multiple recordings of this symphony. Add this new one to the pile.

Amazon Customer Review

A glorious achievement, certainly the jewel in the Fischer/ Budapest crown, and not just recommended-but demanded to be heard! 5 Glorious Stars, Stewart Crowe.

musicweb-international [Recording of the Month - May 2017]

I’ve not been lucky with recordings of this symphony in recent years, so the unfolding loveliness of this performance is cause for celebration. How beguiling those Wunderhorn tunes, and how honestly shaped those simple phrases; indeed, how refreshing his view of this opener as a whole. Not since Levine and Abbado have I heard the closing bars sound so exhilarating. As for the playing – disciplined, weighty and with necessary heft when it matters most – it simply confirms the BFO as one of the world’s truly great ensembles. Without question, the finest instalment in Fischer’s Mahler cycle to date; and what breathtaking sound. Romberger sounding exceptionally full and rounded in her solo. The BFO percussion are also uncommonly well rendered, but then everything about Channel’s recordings speaks of the highest musical and technical values.


Élegance et raffinement (...) une conception originale (...)

NativeDSD Reviewer

(…) The orchestral playing, choral contributions, and performance of alto Gerhild Romberger are all exemplary, and captured with great presence by the outstanding recording. (…) a major addition to his recorded legacy.

The Sunday Times

(..) one marvels anew at the fresh, pristine quality of these Hungarian musicians (...) singing legato and tonal depth of the strings (...) wit and vitality of the woodwinds (...) deeply moving (...)

The 55th Record Academy Award, Japan

Award Winner in the category of Best Sound Recording

Gramophone [Editor's Choice - June 2017]

Here for once is a Mahler symphony release that feels different from the outset.(...) I doubt whether there has ever been a more precisely focused, more sheerly beautiful recording of any Mahler work. (...) Reluctant to parade its roughest edges and disinclined to hurry, Fischer instead elicits a range of pristine, jewel-like colour that leaves its fabric refreshed. (...) This Third is a must-have.


Habitée de bout en bout pare une tension narrative, cette Symphonie ets d’une allure racée. (...) L’excellente alto allemande Gerhild Romberger est impeccablement accompagnée dans sa musique nocturne. (...)

Those who have enjoyed Fischer's earlier Mahler recordings will need no urging to acquire this one. In both musical and sonic terms it provides a further criterion for past and future recordings of this symphony. (...) Finally it is the superb state-of-the-art sound quality achieved by Jared Sacks in the fine acoustic of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, Palace of Arts, Budapest. The 5.0 channel DSD recording providing almost unrivalled realism, clarity and impact to the music – essential in Mahler. (...)

The Times

Beyond that technical glow and finesse, Fischer supplies something more elusive: a relaxed grasp of the symphony's swings, roundabouts and clashing moods. (...) Our conductor almost seems as wide-eyed as Mahler, letting everything in the world fall into place, from ominous funeral march to gracious minuet, from Pan's awakening to God's love, serenely celebrated in the final lingering adagio, beautifully played here. (...) I rest my case with a smile on my face: this is the best of Fischer's Mahler cycle so far.

Noordhollands Dagblad

Luister maar naar de nieuwe cd in hun imposante reeks Mahler-opnamen. (...) In de noten van Mahler laat Fischer Gods stem horen.

Classics Today

A Great New Mahler Third From Fischer & Co. "Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra deliver the goods"... "Here is an account of the finale that never lets down the show, and it’s impossible to exaggerate just how impressive an achievement that is."... Channel Classics’ sonics are typical of this source: warm, well balanced, in an ample acoustic that swallows some of the higher frequencies (glockenspiel, triangle, piccolo) but flatters the strings and copes ideally with the larger climaxes. Fischer’s Mahler hasn’t all been equally great, but when he’s on, as here, he has few peers today.

Bay Area Reporter: Best of 2017

In this biz we avoid saying "words can't describe," but Ivan Fischer's primordial Mahler Third with his Budapest Festival Orchestra (Channel Classics) was just shockingly good

Musical Toronto

(…) the Budapest Festival Orchestraare,as ever, full of character and guile.

The Bay Area Reporter Online

Fischer’s reading wipes the slate clean

The Sunday Times: 100 Best Albums of the Year 2017 (Genre Wide!) 

“Mahler’s epic symphony gets a deeply felt reading.”

Audiophile Magazine (France)

Jared Sacks of Channel Classics, Ivan Fischer and his Budapest Festival Orchestra continue to unfold the Mahler cycle, this time with the third. It is undoubtedly the most beautiful realization of this fruitful collaboration that I have been able to listen to date. Mahler's Third symphony, like Beethoven's ninth, is a work unlike any other. It is extremely long (an hour and a half) and explores in depth the field of possibilities, pushing the boundaries of the traditional genre of the symphony. Gustav Mahler had also confided that the symphony represented to him the possibility of building a universe with all the means of the available technique. The sound and recording quality of this new album is as usual excellent. The use of DSD recording is an obvious reason why. It is from the beginning of this Mahler cycle by Ivan Fischer that one is free to adhere or not to this particular style. And while I love Bernstein's muscular strength, I'm also a fan of what Fischer's Mahler offers. Fischer brings a crazy elegance, an absolute precision of contrasts, detail and rhythm, which does not have to be constantly in the demonstrative to testify to the dramaturgy or power that resides in the symphonies of Gustav Mahler. These qualities remain intact until the final movement. Some people will criticize a lack of energy in the last movement, but it is in my opinion a heresy. The final movement must be a logical and coherent sequence of the first five movements. Without doubt this version of the Mahler 3rd is one to possess among a very rich discography. And that would be a shame to miss.

BBC Music Magazine

Always alive, always interesting, vivid in sound

Sonograma (CAT)

Fischer haalt de meest stralende en uitdijende gevoelens uit deze Mahler partituur. En vergeet niet dat om veel van de geluidsdetails van de symfonie te benadrukken, het onmisbaar is om de professionaliteit te hebben van de ingenieurs van Channel Classics. Jared Sacks en zijn assistent Tom Peeters namen alle verbazingwekkende details op die het sensationele Budapest Festival Orchestra te bieden heeft.

Opus Klassiek

(…) een als geheel toch erg mooie interpretatie die je steeds opnieuw wil horen.

Telerama ffff

(…) Iván Fischer poursuit son exploration de l’univers de Mahler avec un hymne à la nature puissant, où le tragique est traversé de touches lumineuses.

Opus Magazine (Sweden)

The question is whether the Budapest orchestra has ever been better: silky streaks, clear and expressive wooden blades and an impressive burst of brass and with beautifully trimmed trombone solon. Everything sounds like an excellent soundtrack, so often with Channel Classics, and I immerse myself in a dreamy, cinematic mood that gives an enjoyable listening experience.

Opus Klassik [AWARD, Germany]

Mehrkanaleinspielung des Jahres - Audiophile Multichannel Recording of the Year (...) Überschwangliche Ode an die Natur, an die Menschkeit, die Welt und vor allem das Leben selbst. (...)

De Gelderlander

Die [Iván Fischer en zijn Budapest Festival Orchestra] sleurt de luisteraar genadeloos langs alle hoogten en diepten van de partituur. De opeenvolging van optimaal uitgewerkte contrasten en de onvoorwaardelijke interpretatie van het totaal geven je nauwelijks kans om bij te komen. Een belangrijk pluspunt nog tot slot: de uitmuntende opnamekwaliteit. Met dank aan Jared Sacks die in het Paleis van de Kunsten in Budapest weer duidelijk maakt dat hij zelfs de meest complexe klanken met raffinement en realistisch kan vastleggen.

(…) this latest release of Mahler's mighty 3rd Symphony, recorded in September 2016, will further cement his reputation as one of the most charismatic Mahler conductors of our time. Finally it is the superb state-of-the-art sound quality achieved by Jared Sacks in the fine acoustic of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall, Palace of Arts, Budapest. The 5.0 channel DSD recording providing almost unrivalled realism, clarity and impact to the music – essential in Mahler.

Audiophile Magazine, Italy

a challenging account of this masterwork that should be heard (...) Clarity and definition are superb, which is very important given Fischer’s penchant for elucidating and clarifying instrumental lines and even in extended forte passages each section of the orchestra can still be heard. Very importantly unlike any other form of digital sound DSD256 almost approaches analogue in its ability to capture instrumental timbres and there is a palpable sense of presence.


Ivan Fischer’s Third Mahler is overwhelming. (...) A truly superb recording!

The New York Times: The Best 25 Classical Music Recordings of 2017

Every moment of this recording is fresh and insightful, traits we have now come to expect from Mr. Fisher. But it is the finale, Mahler’s ode to love, that pulls at the memory — a miracle of phrasing; a quiet wonder of string tone and balance; a paean to a devotion tender, fragile and deep.

Musicweb International [Recordings of the Year 2017]

(…) this is a performance that provides a glorious and compelling contrast to other loved versions the work you may have.

Luister [8]

Fischer blijft zo dicht mogelijk bij de partituur en houdt zijn emoties in bedwang. (...) wat blijft opvallen is de spectaculaire goede opnamekwaliteit.

Financial Times

admire its restraint, its eloquence, its distinctive voice

(...) Viel klarer, wenn auch nicht unbedingt am expressivsten, dürfte der Mahlerklang auf Tonträger kaum werden. Das liegt nicht zuletzt auch an Channel Classics’ Aufnahmetechnik. (...) das Budapest Festival Orchestra und Iván Fischer bewegen sich hier auf allerhöchstem Niveau (...)

Technical Specifications

SpeakersGrimm LS1
Digital To Analog ConverterPyramix
Mastering EquimentPyramix
Mastering EngineerThe recording was originally digitized using the Grimm AD1, which operates at DSD64. The original session tracks were edited and rebalanced (which meant going through the mixer) in the only available format for that purpose; the Pyramix 352.8KHz/24bit PCM (DXD). Prior to the advent of direct digital delivery, the next step in the production process from 352.8KHz/24bit PCM would be the DSD64 edited master for SACD production. What we have done now is also make a direct conversion to DSD128 and DSD256 from that original DXD edited master, without going through any interim processing steps. Those DXD to DSD conversions are not up-samplings, as they would be going from one PCM sampling rate to another, for they are different encoding systems. PCM is a digital value sample based system, and DSD is a digital bit density modulated system. Conversion from any PCM sample rate to any DSD bit rate system is a remodulation, not an up-sampling. We feel there is an audio advantage to this process in using the original files so we give you the choice and you can decide. Jared Sacks
CablesVan den Hul
Mixing ConsoleRens Heijnis custommade
MicrophonesBruael & Kyaer, Schoeps
Recording FormatDSD64
Analog To Digital ConverterGrimm AD 64fs
Recording DateMarch 2016
Recording LocationBudapest, Hungary
EditingJared Sacks
Recording EngineerJared Sacks, Tom Peeters
ProducerJared Sacks