Brahms Symphony no. 2


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Symphony no. 2 - Allegro non troppo
Symphony no. 2 - Adagio non troppo
Symphony no. 2 - allegretto grazioso
Symphony no. 2 - Presto ma non assai
Tragic Overture in d
Academic Festival Overture


A remarkable, transparent purity can be heard in Brahms’s Second symphony. It is a sharp contrast to the huge arsenal of ideas collected in the First Symphony, which Brahms had worked on for many years. Here in his Second he shows us his masterful skill in developing large-scale architecture from the simplest motifs. To give the first of these to the horns is a logical choice; Brahms always used natural horns and resisted the more modern instruments. Horns can ideally explore the purest of all musical ideas: the journey through the overtones.Similar purity is present in all the themes. When at the start the basses step down a semitone and step back again, nobody could guess what a rich new world would develop from this cell. The last movement is also built on a simple tool: repeated, equal notes follow each other in regimental order (a classical tradition often heard in final movements by Haydn or Mozart). Is this Brahms’s most nature-related symphony? Considering the complicated organisms that develop from the simplest cells, yes, it is. Brahms certainly has the divine, creative talent to show us how this process can work in music.Iván Fischer

Additional information


Mastering engineer

Jared Sacks

Recording type bit rate


Recording location

Budapest Hungary

Recording engineer

Hein Dekker, Jared Sacks


Hein Dekker

Mixing board

Rens Heijnis custom made


Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps

Mastering equipment

B&W 803 diamond series

Digital converters

Grimm A/D DSD converter



van den Hul


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Recording software


Press reviews


(…) Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra hold an ideal balance between the smoothly linked moods, which are tranquil, introspective, exuberant and celebratory. As something of a one-disc survey of Brahms’s heart and mind, the companions are a slicing Tragic Overture and a poised Academic Festival Overture. (…)

Herold Scotland (top 20 classical recordings 2015, no.10)

Ivan Fischer’s Brahms is intense, alive, inquisitive and rooted in tradition. His great Budapest orchestra sounds lithe and full of character, and I love thay it’s still possible to hear exactly where this band comes from.

American Record Guide

“This is a very fine performance.”

Classical Net

“The sound is beautiful and the Budapest Festival forces produce a rich and earthy sound that suits the composer quite well. Fischer gives us a splendid account…”

Brahms’ tweede symfonie wordt een lust voor het oor, een avontuur ook, integer maar tegelijk groots, heroïsch doch ook bescheiden. (…) lyrische ontboezemingen, vreugdevolle escapades en energieke erupties (…) zoveel oprecht engagement: het is, zelfs onder top orkesten, een zeldzaamheid.

Diapason D’Or

(…) Sérénité glorieuse (…)

The Guardian

(…) intense freshness and lyricism from Fischer and hist Budapest forces. (…) Fisher is superb at clarifying the textures (…) The Tragic and Academic overtures round off a really original disc.

NRC 6.25 out of 5

Iván Fischer is een autonoom, door velen zelfs als visionair omarmd dirigent (…) In de Tweede leidt de Brahms-aanpak van Fischer en het BFO na een architecturaal, gedoseerd opgebouw Allegro tot een gloeiend Adagio, swingende bassen in het Presto en een ritmisch messcherp Allegretto.


(…) wat een uitvoering en muziek! Je mag me er wakker voor maken. (…)


(…) That the Budapest Festival Orchestra is in superlative form here is clear from the opening of the work (…) What perhaps is most remarkable about this reading is the sense that, as with so many recordings with Iván Fischer, he has approached this symphony as if it was a new discovery for him. (…) Brahms’s two contrasting Overtures make ideal fill-ups to the Symphony and they are both given performances that are equally outstanding (…) In short, this is a disc with impressive performances so thoroughly prepared, expertly executed and superbly recorded that one could not reasonably ask for more. Unreservedly recommended.


The Budapest Festival Orchestra finds a natural outlet for their rich, Central European tone-colour in Brahms’ Symphony no. 2 (…)


(…) we mogen vaststellen dat hier een schitterend orkest aan het werk is, dat de partituur staat als een huis, dat het opnameteam een prachtprestatie heeft geleverd en dat Fischer een uiterst muzikale kijk op deze symfonie heeft, met menig schitterend doorkijkje. (…)


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