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Rachmaninov - Symphony no.2

Budapest Festival Orchestra


SKU: 21604

Year of release: 2004

Symphony no.2 in E minor, Op.27 56:50
1. Largo_Allegro moderato Rachmaninov 18:18
2. Allegro molto Rachmaninov 10:12
3. Adagio Rachmaninov 14:03
4. Adagio vivace Rachmaninov 14:16
Vocalise no.14, Op.34 06:41
5. Lentamente Rachmaninov 06:41
Total time: 63:32

About this album

Sergey Rachmaninov (1873-1943) – Symphony nr. 2 in e op. 27 (1907) …….In 1907 Rachmaninov had withdrawn with his family to Dresden in order to work in complete isolation. This is where the Second Symphony was created. It had its highly successful premiere in the Marinsky Theatre of St. Petersburg in January of 1908. Like his other symphonies, the work begins with a motto-like theme reminiscent of Russian Orthodox liturgical music. Out of this a long-spun, mournful melody develops and serves as a constant motive throughout the first movement. The second movement is a lively scherzo, but there is a hint of menace in the horns introductory Dies Irae motive. Half way through the movement, the dizzying fugato is momentarily silenced for an episode of passionate romanticism. The Adagio is the most famous movement, and the most consistently described with superlatives. It is a miracle of melodic invention. The beautiful clarinet melody seems endless and appears to grope forward in a kind of trance, searching for words to express its love. Is it entirely fortuitous that the atmosphere is that of the love scene in Rachmaninovs opera, “Francesca da Rimini”? The Finales mood is stormy and once again brings forward all the previous themes, but this time arranged in new constellations, leading to an effective conclusion.

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The Rachmaninov 2nd is my favourite, Fischer discovers much hidden beauty in it, with translucent textures and uncanny precision. Passionate but never sentimental, with subtly graded dynamics and perfectly chosen tempos, this is surely what Rachmaninov intended.

Le Monde de la Musique

La nettet de la mise en place, la finesse des nuances dynamiques en le maintien de la ligne melodique ne brident jamais la spontanit de l'Orchestre

Classics today France

la gravure est nanmoins d'un raffinement extreme () () Le son multicanal de Channel est la fois spectaculaire, efficace et d'une grande musicalit.

The Observer

Fischer is at pains to demonstrate their sinuous strengths, drawing a rich range of colours from his very accomplished players


een sentationeel resultaat! Zo frank en vrij, fris, vloeiend en zangerig, zo zonder vervelend pathos, en zo technisch verzorgd hoor je deze hyper-romantische, uiterst melodieuze partituur maar zelden. Zelfs degenen die dachten dat ze misschien best zonder deze muziek konden leven worden naar het puntje van de stoel gedwongen om daar het wonder dat zich op de cd voltrekt, mee te maken. Als het laatste deel, het Adagio vivace, is uitgeklonken, kun je alleen maar verbaasd staan over het niveau van deze uitvoering. Ivan Fischer had een droom, en die droom is uitgekomen.


Fischer turns in what is unquestionably the finest version of the Rachmaninov Second Symphony to come along in years. His affection for and identification with the composer's idiom is complete. The performance flows majestically, with a lightness of texture that never precludes passion, and real emotional warmth that never turns sticky or overly sentimental. In this symphony, that is no mean achievement. Fischer's sense of timing and control of tension is unerring. The grand return of the motto theme in the closing pages, superbly prepared and once again played as written, without spurious cymbal crashes, offers fulfilment without bombast and brings the symphony to a joyous conclusion that in retrospect sounds absolutely punctual. And there's really no higher praise regarding a work that even the composer recognised has a serious tendency to sprawl. From the rock-solid bass to the brilliant crash of the cymbals and ping of the glockenspiel, listening in both formats is an unalloyed pleasure. Channel Classics continues to lead the industry in demonstrating the virtues of surround-sound. The added depth and spatial coherence produced by discrete use of the rear speakers is never purchased at the expense of the stereo soundstage or at a sacrifice in ensemble coherence resulting from the illusion of excessive front-to-back depth. I can't recommend this performance highly enough: everything about it is excellent, and it merits the enthusiastic attention of anyone who cares about top quality music-making presented in state-of-the-art sound.


Iván Fischer and his magnificent Budapest Orchestra have made a Rachmaninov Second for our time staggeringly played and recorded. Do try to hear it in surround! () Fischer conducts the piece as Rachmaninov might have played in: with a free and malleable sense of spontaneity. Channel Classics has complemented his reading with a lovely, open and natural production. Fischer's Budapest strings aren't about imitating the Rachmaninov style; they inhabit it. His musical storytelling is exceptional. Editor's Choice

Avro Klassiek's Klankkast

Deze uitvoering van het Budapest Festival Orkest luidt het begin in van een meerjarige samenwerking tussen het Nederlandse Channel Classics en dit Hongaarse orkest. Producer Jared Sacks mag trots zijn op deze acquisitie: het is een prachtig, sensitief orkest en overtuigt olv van Chef-dirigent Ivn Fischer. Een orkest vol kleuren, nuances en details en in deze 2e Rachmaninov laat het geen moment verloren gaan daarvan te getuigen.

The Independent

How many times have you read the phrase "one of the worlds top five orchestras"? What of say the Budapest Festival Orchestra? If an illustrious past is as important a criterion as an illustrious present, the BFO are unlikely to make the worlds top five. Founded in 1983, they are mere babes to the grand old men of London, Berlin and Vienna, and only over the last decade have they become a full-time operation. But what a decade! What style, what technique, what sound, what personality, what unanimity, what attack, what passion, what dynamism, what total engagement. this is a body of players raised in the same musical culture and speaking the same musical language as each other and there cofounder and Music Director Iavn Fischer.... an orchestra capable of playing Wagner and Liszt with the immediacy, flexibility and expressivity of a chamber group.

De Standaard

De strijkers beheersen de kunst van de lyriek tot in de puntjes en voegen daar een goede dosis sierlijke lichtheid aan toe ... Fischer organiseert de klankopbouw met veel finesse. De snellere tempos in de hoekdelen zorgen telkens voor erg bewogen passages. Dankzij de koelbloedigheid van Fischer klinken ook deze onstuimige passages ongewoon rustgevend.... De Vocalise is een ontroerende encore

The Guardian

Ivan Fischer's performances are so carefully considered and are played with such refinement and control by the Budapest orchestra, that they more than justify the release. Fischer's pacing is unerring; he lets the drama in both symphony and overture catch fire slowly, with the result that the final climaxes are unequivocal, while providing endless perfectly articulated detail along the way.

Peter McCallum

This recording creates a recorded orchestral sound unlike any I have heard: intimate, clear, realistic, involving, rich.... the playing of the orchestra has the shared intimacy of chamber music but the unanimity of a single passionate vision with solos of distinct musical personality...this is something new, exciting and, above all, outstanding in quality.

Audio Video

Het was de wens van Fischer om het orkest in de huiskamer te laten klinken zoals hij het als dirigent hoort, omringd door zijn muzikanten, zo valt te lezen in een briefwisseling tussen Fischer en de technici van Channel. Hein Dekker en Jared Sacks bedachten een eenvoudige microfoonopstelling met vijf gerichte microfoons. Het orkest brengt de symfonie werkelijk tot leven met de grote, bijna uit elkaar spattende emotie die zo kenmerkend is voor Rachmaninovs oeuvre. Kleurrijk, gedetailleerd en supergeconcentreerd. Had ik al gezegd dat de klank fantastisch is? Een prachtige uitgave, die veel belooft voor de toekomst.


Wie hrt sich Rachmaninows Sinfonie Nr. 2 auf dem Platz des Dirigenten an? Channel Classics, spezialisiert auf SACDs, nahm das Budapest Festival Orchestra unter der Leitung von Ivn Fischer mit diese Technik auf und vermittelt einen Eindruck dieser Position. Die Orchesterstimmen wirbeln um den Hrer, schweben im Raum und umschmeicheln selbst gebte Ohren. (...)

Flying Inkpot

The result is a solid, well-nourished performance that impresses based on the orchestral detail that the conductor manages to coax out of the Budapest Festival Orchestra as well the first-rate playing.

Haarlems Dagblad

Het Budapest orkest onderscheidt zich met zijn zijdezachte strijkers en prachtige houtblazers van de concurrentie.


Ik ben zeer geboeid geraakt door de uitvoering en opname, een mooier compliment is nauwelijks denkbaar....Voor vijfkanaals-luisteraars is de Vocalise opgenomen met slechts vijf microfoons op de plaats van de dirigent. Hoort u ook eens hoe hij het hoort. Hifi Video Magazine Nr. 1 in Top Tien van 2004: de verrassing van het jaar!!

Technical Specifications

Recording Type Bit RateDSD64
SpeakersAudiolab, Holland
Recording SoftwarePyramix bij Merging
Recording LocationItalian Institute, Budapest Hungary 2004
Recording EngineerHein Dekker, Jared Sacks
ProducerHein Dekker
Mixing BoardRens Heijnis custom design
MicrophonesBruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mastering EquipmentB&W 803 diamond series
Mastering EngineerJared Sacks
Digital ConvertersMeitner A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Cablesvan den Hul T3 series